Five ways to make sure your dog and her supplies are squeaky-clean for spring.

Ahh, spring! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the trees are greening up. And most of us get that little urge to deep clean. We want our homes to feel and smell as fresh as the new season.

Can that include Fido as well?

You bet!

Dog sitting in bathtub with a towel after getting a bath

If you want your home to feel spring clean, you’ll also want to get busy freshening up your dog and her belongings. Dog odor can, well, be pretty overpowering at times. Muddy paw prints, fur, drool and all the other things our dogs leave around the house can undermine the sparkling feel you’re going for.

Yes, you know it will build up again. That’s just life with pets. Deep cleaning at least once or twice a year is good for the soul – and good for your dog as well.

Ready to start?

Give Your Dog a Bath

I know you do this already. But how often should our dogs be bathed?

That depends on the individual dog. A lot of factors need to be considered.

Is your dog mostly an inside couch potato? Does he participate in lots of outdoor down-and-dirty activities? Is he recovering from an illness or injury? Doe she spend time with other dogs at day care? Any bothersome skin conditions?

Dogs are by nature self-cleaning. They groom themselves (not as well as cats, but they do wash up.) Some of them have self-cleaning fur – dried mud just falls off my Aussie. But no matter what, when the smell factor comes into play, it’s time for a deep cleaning.

Bathing/grooming is a subject that deserves a post all its own. So let’s just simply state : experts agree bathing your dog too often can be problematic. Still – if your dog is smelly, then bath time is called for. Go ahead and bathe, making sure you use a shampoo created specifically for dogs. Humans and dogs have a different pH balance for their skin.

Don’t let the labels “all natural” deceive you. Check out this list of ingredients to avoid in dog shampoos.

We like Mutt Wash from The Northwest Dog. Go Dog Nashville has a discount for you at the bottom.

Mutt Wash shampoo and mist from the Northwest Dog

Breed specific bathing can be helpful. Your dog may require some special considerations, such as checking/cleaning the ears or cleaning stains around the mouth and chin. If in doubt – find a great groomer you trust and let them work their magic.

Before you bathe, make sure to give your dog a thorough brushing to remove as much loose fur as possible. Apply shampoo to your dog’s back and then massage into fur. Take your time and really get down to the skin. Your dog will probably love this.

No conditioner necessary when using a great natural shampoo. Natural shampoos will contain conditioning oils to make your dog’s coat shine.

Rinse thoroughly. And then rinse again. Sweet smelling pup!

Clean Your Dog’s Bed

Once your dog is cleaned and groomed, you don’t want him lying down on a stinky dog bed! Just like changing the sheets on your own bed, it’s a great idea to clean your dog’s sleeping area as often as necessary.

Before anything else, remove as much fur from the bed as possible. Use the upholstery attachments on your vacuum cleaner to get all the crevices and corners. Dog fur sticks to wet fabric so the more you remove ahead of time, the better.

Your best bet is to check with the manufacturer of your dog’s bed for any special washing instructions.

If your bed has a removable cover, you can toss it in the washing machine. Make sure you use a pet-safe detergent like Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent. It uses plant-based enzymes; tough on dirt but gentle on your dog.  Make sure and treat any stains before washing.

If the bed itself is washable, lucky you! Just toss it in the washing machine. If it’s too big, you can use an industrial washer at the laundromat.  Washing in a bathtub can also be an option. Some beds can be put in the dryer. You can also hang dry in a well-ventilated area.

We love our Molly Mutt bed. What makes it so easy and convenient is the removable cover you can wash as often as necessary. And the insert is simple:  a ‘stuff sack’ you fill with old clothing, towels or blankets. It’s quick and easy to machine wash and dry, stuff, and fluff for a comfortable bed. Check out the promo code below.

Dog lying on her Molly Mutt dog bed
Molly Mutt dog bed and stuff sack

Wash Your Dog’s Accessories

Collars, leashes and harnesses can get very smelly, too.

Washing machine? Nope, not on these. Pretty sure all those buckles and  O-rings hitting the inside is not good for your washer.

Most fabric/nylon webbed collars, leashes and packs can be hand washed in a bowl or sink full of lukewarm water. Add some baking soda and a teaspoon of white vinegar.  Scrub with your hands to loosen dirt and grime.  Refill with clean water and soak for a bit. Repeat the process until all the gunk is gone. Rinse, rinse, rinse until the water is clear. Lay flat to dry out of direct sunlight that could fade material. Easy!

Biothane collars/leads will generally just need to be wiped down with a damp cloth. Easier!

For colorful rope collars/leashes, check with the manufacturer before you clean. Certain dyes can bleed. A soak in lukewarm water with some baking soda works wonders. Dry flat.

Leather requires some special care. Check here for how to clean and condition.

And those bandanas? Most people just wash them all along with their regular laundry. However, I discovered the hard way that some bandanas – really expensive bandanas – should NOT be washed. Particularly those made from finer fabrics. Those can be spot-cleaned as necessary.

Tidy Up Your Vehicle

If your pup likes to travel around with you, I guarantee your vehicle will need some cleaning, too.

Remember to wash any car blankets/hammocks you have. Give your vehicle a good vacuuming to remove fur and dirt tracked inside.

I have a weird trick I’ve discovered that quickly removes pet hair from my van. The first time I cleaned my van after we got Chloe, I was frustrated. The vacuum just wasn’t coming close to removing some of Chloe’s fur. You know when it seems the fur has just sewn itself into the fabric?  Yep, that scenario. I tried a lint roller and even picking by hand – it wasn’t coming out.

Then I remembered an old pair of Crocs (yes, you read that right – Crocs shoes!) I owned. If you wore them in the house and scuffed your feet while standing on carpeting, any dog hair on the floor just bunched together and came right up. Something about the Croc material and the little ridges on the soles of the shoes did the trick.

I brought out a shoe and held it in my hand like a lint brush. The van was cleaned of deep-seated pet fur in no time. 

Scrub Your Dog’s Toys

Have you ever looked at your dog’s toys? I mean, really got up-close-and personal? Yuck!!

If you’ve cleaned your home, you’ll feel better knowing all those dog toys lying around will be clean, too. For a little while…

Since dogs interact with their toys mainly by mouth, you’ll want to make certain you use a non-toxic cleaner to remove all that spit and grime.

Hard toys such as balls, puzzles, chews, Kongs, etc. can be cleaned by soaking in a bucket of equal parts water and white vinegar.  Some may require scrubbing to get in the crevices. Apply that elbow grease with a little baking soda.

Another idea is to load your hard toys, along with dog bowls, dishes, etc. into your dishwasher. Instead of detergent, use white vinegar. Run a full cycle. Do not use the heat dry setting. When the cycle is finished, remove the toys and allow to air dry.

Hard dog toys being loaded into a dishwasher to clean.

Did you know soft plushie dog toys can collect dust mites?

Soft toys can be run through a cycle in the washing machine. If you have a great non-toxic detergent, you can use that. Otherwise, fall back on the old stand-by of white vinegar – add baking soda if you wish.

Toss the soft toys in the dryer on low-air dry or simply hang to dry. Squeakers may come out a little weird – you may have to squeeze them to get all the water out.

What else to clean?

Don’t overlook dog crates, cots, car carriers. All of them could use at least a quick wipe down or spritz with a non-toxic freshening spray.

There you have it! Your dog will be the cleanest canine on the block. And your home will smell terrific, too.

  • The Northwest Dog is offering our readers a discount with Promo Code GoDog10
  • Molly Mutt use promo code FREEFP for a free Fillmore Pouch

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