The Key to Maintaining a Pet-Friendly Home? “Stay On the Job and Avoid Procrastination”

Our pets: we love them. Most of us wouldn’t want to live without them. We wake up to a furry paw or a damp nose, we get fresh air and exercise during walks and play sessions, and we enjoy the warmth of a furry body on our pillows or our laps. And don’t forget the laughter – the funny poses, pleading expressions, silly habits we’ll never understand.

But as much as we love our pets, there’s no doubt that choosing to live with them means it can be challenging to keep a clean house. Cats, dogs, and other animals come with built-in cleaning conundrums. Most shed fur (or feathers!), leave a mess after mealtime, have enclosures, crates, or litter boxes that require constant cleaning and care, and occasionally have accidents that leave us searching the Internet for information on pet stain removal or how to remove pet urine stains from our carpets.

It IS possible to have a clean, organized home and to have pets at the same time. But it does take some work, and it requires a commitment to stay on the job and avoid procrastination. For example, a poorly maintained litter box will develop an odor and possibly encourage pets to eliminate elsewhere. A pet stain left on the carpet for too long is more difficult to remove. The longer upholstery is left without cleaning, the harder it will be to remove pet hair. The key to maintaining a clean, pet-friendly household is to keep a regular maintenance schedule and to clean accidents immediately and effectively.

Below is an example of a “Pet Maintenance Schedule” that you can follow to maintain a clean home (and car), and to minimize pet-related odors:

DOGS

  • Walk daily
  • Towel off paws and bathe dog after muddy or wet walks and before pet enters the home
  • Sweep floors daily Vacuum carpets at least twice a week
  • Vacuum upholstery weekly if dog is allowed on furniture
  • Clean food and water dishes thoroughly twice a week
  • Mop floor beneath food and water dishes once or twice a week
  • Brush dog regularly, remove hair from brushes after every brushing
  • Vacuum car areas where dog travels weekly or bi-monthly
  • Wash dog bed or blankets/towels where dog sleeps weekly or bi-weekly
  • Address any accidents immediately with pet stain removal and pet odor removal solutions

CATS

  • If brush-friendly, brush cats at least weekly; more often for long-haired cats
  • Sweep floors daily Vacuum carpets at least twice a week
  • Vacuum upholstery weekly if shedding is a problem
  • Clean food and water dishes thoroughly once or twice a week
  • Mop floor beneath food and water dishes once or twice a week
  • Scoop litter boxes at least once a day (twice daily or whenever you see waste in the box is better), and empty all litter out of box to replace weekly
  • Clean litter boxes themselves monthly
  • Address any accidents immediately with pet stain removal and pet odor removal solutions
  • Remove any pet urine smell thoroughly where spots or markings have occurred using an enzymatic cleaner available at a pet product store
  • Keep cats indoors for their health and safety, and to avoid bringing mud, fleas, and other problems inside the house
  • If marking or frequent urination is a problem, check with the veterinarian regarding health or behavioral problems
  • If meal regurgitation or hairballs are a problem, check with your veterinarian for solutions

HAMSTERS, GERBILS, ETC.

  • Clean cages at least weekly, replacing all litter and bedding
  • Clean food and water containers weekly

FISH

  • Clean and maintain your fish tank regularly and according to instructions appropriate to the fish you keep.
  • An example of tank cleaning instructions is here.

BIRDS

  • Be very familiar with the specific type of care your bird or birds need.
  • An example of basic birdcage cleaning instructions can be found here.

Next week on this blog we will offer in-depth pet stain removal and pet odor removal tips. If you learn everything you need to know about how to care for your particular pet and then stick to a regular pet maintenance schedule, you should enjoy a happy, clean, healthy home with your pet. And remember, if the spots or stains become too much to handle, call 1-800-FOR-COIT for professional home cleaning advice and services. It’s a good idea to schedule regular professional carpet cleanings, for example, in any pet-friendly home.