Sometimes taking care of a pet can feel like just as much work as taking care of a child. And if you’re being completely honest, when you’re tossing all of your balls into the air and juggling work, marriage, children and housework on a daily basis, you might find yourself neglecting your pets’ needs more often than you’d like to admit. Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

We get it; it’s hard to juggle it all. While some weeks, you find it difficult to conquer your family’s laundry and dishes on a daily basis, you probably aren’t even thinking about your pet’s items that haven’t been cleaned in… forever? But, your pet deserves the absolute best, and we know you agree. So, we’ve compiled a list of the most common pet gear and items that you should be cleaning regularly to ensure optimal health and comfort for your pet. And we’re taking it one step further and showing you how to clean them properly!

Food and Water Dishes

Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 2 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

While this one should be a no-brainer, how often do you actually wash your pet’s dishes? When you get home late from work and your dog is whimpering by his empty food bowl, how many times have you found yourself pouring fresh kibble into his bowl without even considering rinsing it out first?

It’s important to note, while automatic feeders and water dispensers that you don’t have to manage for days at a time are convenient and time-saving, they could be crawling with bacteria from old food particles and your pet’s saliva! Think about it for a second: would you drink out of the same water jug for days on end just because it’s still full? We’re guessing not. So why force your pet to?

It is vitally important for your pet’s health and well-being to clean his food and water dishes daily. We suggest having two sets of dishes, so you can constantly rotate them out and always have a clean set on hand. If you run your dishwasher nightly, make it a part of your routine to toss your pet’s dishes in the top rack. If not, give them a quick scrub in the sink. But be sure to use dish soap without any synthetic fragrances in it. Not only will that affect the taste of your pet’s food, but synthetic fragrances just don’t belong in dish soap, period.

You shouldn’t only be worried about how clean your pet’s food dishes are; it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting in them as well. To learn the surprising truth about certain questionable ingredients in your pet’s food, read: Decoding The Kibble – What’s Really In Your Pet’s Food.

Bedding and Blankets

How often do you wash your bed sheets? Ok, the better question should be, how often should you wash your bed sheets? You shed dead skin cells while you sleep, not to mention the oils, dirt, sweat and hair follicles that make their way into your bedding every single night. You – a human being who showers regularly.

Think about what you might find if you looked deep into the fibers of your pet’s bedding and blankets? As often as you wash your own bedding, it’s probably safe to say you should be cleaning your pet’s bedding the same amount. A good shark vacuum could be your ideal choice to remove bet hair from beds and blankets.

But some pet bedding is impossible to clean – especially beds that have thick, rubberized tread bottoms, are catnip-infused or are filled with synthetic stuffing. The thick, treaded beds don’t fit in the washing machine, the catnip inside the infused pads gets all through your machine, and the synthetic filling bunches up and your pet’s bed never lays the same after that first wash.

We recommend pet bedding with removable covers that can easily be thrown into the wash. They make cleaning your pet’s bedding a breeze, because you don’t have to struggle trying to fit the entire bed into your washing machine, and you can wash them as often as you like.

Before washing any pet bedding or blankets, we recommend this helpful tip: Use a heavy duty lint brush to remove as much excess hair from the bedding as possible. This will not only ensure it gets cleaned thoroughly, but also that hair balls don’t clog your washing machine and dryer vent.

Pet Toys 

Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 3 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Over the years, your pet has probably accumulated just as many toys as your kids! Ok, maybe not that many, but it’s undeniable that you’re tripping over squeaker toys in the middle of the night. But how often are you cleaning those toys? Have you ever cleaned them?

Many parents clean and disinfect their children’s toys regularly. Stuffed animals get dusty, plastic toys get coated in food and drool and boogers. But what about your pet’s toys? They are being chewed on, rolled around with and tossed around the house and yard on a daily basis. Your pet’s toys most likely have more dirt and bacteria on them than your children’s on any given day, so it’s especially important to clean them regularly to not only preserve their quality, but to also ensure that your pet is not playing with bacteria-infested toys in your home!

We think cleaning your pet’s toys is so important, that we’ve dedicated an entire post to it. To find out what you should be cleaning and how to clean it properly, check out: How To Clean Pet Toys Naturally.

Litter Box and Accessories 

Keep your cat’s litter box clean! That’s a given, right? But how exactly are you cleaning it and how often? Ideally, you should be, at the very least, scooping discards from the box once a day. By doing that, you are eliminating excess piles and clumps of urine and feces that your cat can step on while using the box and later track through your house on his paws.

By removing all feces from the box once a day, you are also ensuring that you and your family will not be infected by toxoplasmosis, if your cat should happen to have contracted it, because toxoplasmosis develops in feces over 24 hours old.

To learn more about toxoplasmosis and your cat, read Toxoplasmosis & Pregnancy: Why Cats Don’t Deserve Such A Bad Rap.

Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 4 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Scooping once a day, however, isn’t enough to truly keep your cat’s litter box clean. Ideally, you should be emptying and scrubbing the litter box out completely once a week. But who has time for that? We recommend placing litter box liners inside the box before adding new litter to it once a week. These specially designed liners are similar to thick garbage bags that fit perfectly into litter boxes. They have draw-strings on the sides, making once-a-week disposal a breeze. Simple pull the draw-strings up and the old litter is contained in a bag you can place directly into the garbage. Your litter box stays clean, and there is no need to wash it out every week during litter rotation.

Product Recommendation

Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 5 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Is your litter box a giant pain in the butt, or does your cat have the annoying tendency to scatter litter all over the place? If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, we love the Eureka AirSpeed All Floors Bagless Upright Vacuum. We love the idea of having a vacuum cleaner that is versatile enough to do a serious clean up job, but inexpensive enough to possibly even purchase multiple of; perhaps keeping a dedicated vacuum on your main floor and one upstairs?

Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 6 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

One of our favorite things about the AirSpeed All Floors Bagless Upright Vacuum is the scatter-proof multi-purpose cleaning, with a brush roll system that easily can turn on or off, depending on your surface. The fact that it won’t scatter litter or crumbs everywhere makes it perfect for any parent – pet or otherwise. The AirSpeed Technology moves even more air, and removes even more dirt off your carpeting or bare floors. It also promises to never lose suction like most bagged vacuums can do. Assembly is easy and requires no tools, and the vacuum is light enough and easy enough to maneuver, even your (human) kid can lend a helping hand with this task.

Pet Gear You Should Be Cleaning More Often Than You Are 7 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

Collars and Leashes

From dead skin cells, fur, dirt and oils, your pet’s collar is probably the most important item to wash on a regular basis. But, how often have you cleaned it? Have you ever cleaned it? If the answer is no, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. But now is the time to start!

If you have regular cotton-woven leashes and collars for your pet, simply remove all metal tags, slip into a delicate mesh garment bag and toss them into your washing machine on the delicate cycle. You can do this once a month, or more often if your pet goes outside and gets dirty on a daily basis.

If your pet’s collar is made of a material that cannot be immersed in water, wipe it down with a damp towel of vinegar and water and let air dry.

 For more great posts on all things pets, check out our PET section!

Photo credit: Marley Layne’s Closet, The Memoirs of Megan, The Art of Making a Baby



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Danielle is a Pittsburgh native who has been warming her “black and gold” blood in sunny Northern California for the past 6 years. On any given day, you can find her arranging ridiculous photo shoots of her one-year-old son Graeme and cat Gizmo, or working on any one of her 27,000 writing projects. She enjoys daydreaming about becoming a famous actress and starting a handful of different businesses with her husband over glasses of wine in the evenings. Someday, she hopes to travel the country in an RV with her family… but she needs to sell that novel first. You can follow her journeys through her blog With A Red Bird On My Shoulder

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