10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Dog People

Guess what? You've got a to-do list for your dogs this season. Here's what's on it.


My dogs love spring. It brings longer days and warmer temps, allowing for more naps outside in their favorite sunny spots. But they do not love my need to nest this time of year. All of the organizing, cleaning, and errand-running annoys them to no end. They spent all winter getting everything looking and smelling just right, after all.

Despite their dirty looks, I include the following dog-centric tasks on my spring-cleaning to-do list. Keep them in mind when getting your home in shape for the season.

1. Go through the pet pantry

Dolly and Spot have their own pantry with canned food, overflow treats, and medicines. Food and treats rarely get the chance to expire in our house, but I check it all just in case. I also toss out expired meds and make note of any needing a refill in the coming months.

Tip: If you use a kibble storage container, hold off on refilling until you scoop the last serving and wash it first. That way, you get rid of stale bits that collect at the bottom.

2. Check spa supplies

I stopped using the word “bath” long ago. “Are you ready for spa treatments?” sounds so much more inviting, doesn’t it? During spring-cleaning, I look at their supply of shampoo, conditioner, ear cleaner, and flea and tick treatment. I also inspect their brush and replace the nail-trimmer blade.

Tip: Replace nail-trimmer blades when they begin to leave rough edges, a sure sign of a dull blade.

3. Restock first aid kit

Spot loves to play fetch, which can be hard on his paws at times, so I keep hydrogen peroxide and antibacterial ointment in the pups’ first aid kit, among other items. In spring, I replace any missing or expired items so we can handle any warm-weather medical issues to come.

Tip: Check out Dogster’s “The Importance of Having a Dog First Aid Kit” for what to keep on hand.

4. Go through the toy box

This task annoys my dogs more than any other on this list. I put the pups outside, then pull every item out of their toy box. Each toy goes into a keep, donate, or toss pile as they glare at me through the patio door. Anything to keep or donate gets a thorough cleaning, either in the washing machine or by hand in the sink, before going back in the toy box, which I wipe down while empty. I throw away or recyle any toys approaching unsafe status.

Tip: Use pet-safe cleaning products when cleaning dog toys. Vinegar and water gets the job done for me.

5. Check collars, tags, and leashes

Dolly and Spot get new tags each spring. The metal ones they wear scratch easily, eventually making the phone number not so clear. I also check their collars and leashes for snags or other wear that could result in one of them getting loose.

Tip: If your dog swims in the summer, like Spot does, opt for an all-weather collar that can get wet without causing an infection around your pup’s sensitive neck. You can use it year-round or in the summer only to prolong its lifespan.

6. Clean beds

In addition to flipping and cleaning my bed, where the pups sleep each night, I remove the cover to the dog bed in my home office and run it through the washing machine and dryer according to care instructions. I also throw the filling in the dryer on fluff.

Tip: Use nonscented laundry detergent and softener, as the regular kind can irritate a dog’s skin.

7. Get floors and upholstery professionally cleaned

All types of flooring and upholstery can benefit from a professional cleaning each spring. Industrial-strength tools remove more dirt, dander, and hair than any home appliance. When we had carpet in the home, I actually had it cleaned every four months.

Tip: Replace the filters in your air conditioning system and vacuum cleaner to better tackle the spring allergy season.

8. Clean the doggie dining area

Dolly and Spot eat with enthusiasm. Little specks of wet food end up on the wall and baseboard behind their dishes. Once your floors get professionally cleaned, follow behind and scrub away any food particles in the area.

Tip: Melamine sponges work well for this task. I follow behind with a water-dampened cloth to remove any harmful residue.

9. Get your car detailed

I turn my car over to the detailers each spring to get rid of as much dog hair as possible. The hair weaves itself into car seats, travels into air vents, and settles into every crack and crevice in my car.

Tip: Invest in a pet hair-removal stone for clean-up between details. It works far better than any vacuum or sticky roller.

10. Celebrate spring!

After putting Dolly and Spot through the annoyance of spring-cleaning, I plan a special outing to welcome the season. It usually involves a picnic lunch at the park with special warm-weather treats. I have a pint of carob chip frozen yogurt saved for our outing this year.

Tip: Make the most of spring before summer temps arrive and limit outdoor time in many areas of the country. I know my pups prefer air conditioning to the heat and humidity in Houston for most of the summer.

It usually takes me a weekend to clear my spring-cleaning to-do list, despite doing several of these tasks several times a year. I also schedule Spot and Dolly’s regular “spa treatments” about halfway through my tasks to help them shed as much of their winter coat as possible in the bathtub and outside.

Let’s hear from you, readers. Do you have any dog-centric spring-cleaning tips? Let us know in the comments!

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