Cleaning Your Home the Dog-Friendly Way

You can spring clean your home any time of the year, and when you do, keep your four-legged family members in mind.

Kelly Pulley  |  Sep 21st 2012

Spring cleaning can really be done any time of year if you don’t mind a blustery gust of wind blowing in through open windows in the winter or jacking up the AC so you can air the house out in the summer. Or perhaps you are lucky and live in a temperate climate so you can spring clean your home anytime you feel like it. When you have dogs, the key is to know how to spring clean your home the dog-friendly way so that everyone is safe from harsh cleaning chemicals and errant vacuum cleaners.

Your first concern is to ensure the physical safety of your dog. You can do this by parking him in a bedroom with an enticing chew toy while you clean the downstairs area and then moving him below while you do the upstairs quarters. You can also gate off an area for him in a smaller place but he will likely be pretty excitable when he sees what you’re up to. In this case, hang a shower curtain or sheet in front of the gate from the ceiling to block his view. Another option is to make a doggie playdate with a friend and her dog or, if your pet belongs to a daycare center, check out their play schedule.

Once your dog is safely away from the dusting and the vacuuming, it’s time to get going. Keep in mind that even if your pet is not at home when you clean, the residue and lingering fumes of toxic cleaners can harm him when he returns, not to mention the danger of a pet getting into those products. So, open the windows and turn on some tunes you can work to. Here are the tools you will need:

Cleaning with All-Purpose Cleaners

A good all-purpose cleaner will make your spring cleaning easier. Be careful to properly all surfaces where your pet can reach and keep in mind excessive cleaning product residue could harm your pet if ingested. For those worrisome kitchen and bathroom germs, avoid cleaners with bleach or ammonia as these emit toxic fumes. Instead, use a non-toxic disinfectant or make your own solution with vinegar and rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning the Floors

Hardwood floors in pet households are often the hardest to clean and keep clean. Whatever cleaning solution you choose, remember that your pets may lick your floors for whatever reason and you should always make a second pass with a non-toxic cleaning solution to protect your pets. With carpeted floors, vacuum thoroughly.

Cleaning the Oven

Never use oven cleaners that work by turning on the oven and leaving it for a time. The fumes are toxic and can cause severe damage to the throat and lungs. Self-cleaning ovens are safer but take the precaution of putting a fan in the kitchen to blow any fumes out the door. If you need a pet-friendly cleaner for the oven, try a baking soda and water paste and an abrasive sponge or a non-toxic product which does not give off fumes.

Eliminating Odors

Though there are many ways to cover up odors, eliminating them is the best idea. Try leaving half-open boxes of baking soda around the house (high up and out of the reach of the dog) or a pet-friendly, non-toxic product. Never leave the odor neutralizing gels around the house even if they say they’re environmentally-friendly. If eaten, the gel could harm your pet.

After you have finished cleaning, leave the window open for another hour if possible to help get rid of any fumes. Just the smell of even a non-toxic cleaner can make your pet sneeze. Go over areas you have cleaned with a slightly damp towel to remove residue and make certain all cleaning supplies, even if they are non-toxic, are put safely away. Then, welcome your pet back into the spotless house and enjoy the short time you have before he messes it up again.

Dogster readers, how do you protect your pups while you clean?