Every Pet-Owner's Guide to a Fur-Free Home
Let's face it -- we love our pets, but the constant dirt and fur they leave all over the house? Not so much. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your pets comfortable and maintain a beautiful home. Below are some tried-and-tested tricks to help you keep your pets' mess at bay.
Regular Hair Grooming
Regular grooming or even just brushing your pet's hair thoroughly in the garage effectively lessens shedding. Trim their hair to keep them from scratching and brush their coats to take away loose fur.
Regular Nail Trimmings
Having your pet's nails clipped on a regular basis helps reduce scratch marks on furniture, carpets, and doors. If you have cats, get a scratching post to give them a constant place to claw on.
Towel by the Door
Before your pets enter the house, wipe their paws on a towel to keep them from tracking mud, dirt, or snow across your floor. For rainy and snowy days, leave a small basin of warm water by the door before taking the dogs out for a walk. When you return, wash their paws and then dry them with a towel before letting them back in.
Keep a handful of pet sponges on hand for stray fur. These can be found at pet supply stores and come in handy when removing hair from fabric upholstery, clothes, and blankets. They are used dry, so you don't have to worry about getting your fabrics damp during cleanup.
If your pets have that special place in the house they keep coming back to, then make them more comfortable. Spread a blanket to catch any fur or dirt they might leave behind. Afterwards, shake out their blankets to get rid of the dirt.
Mat-lined Food Bowls
Some pets are just messy eaters. Protect your floor by placing a rubber-backed mat under their food bowls. This keeps the bowls from sliding all across your floor as it catches spills. Once your pets are done eating, simply shake off the mat. In case they spill water, soak the liquid out with newspaper before cleaning the mat.
Mat-lined Litter Boxes
For cat owners, line the litter box with a mat to catch erratic litter that sometimes gets stuck underneath your cat's paws. The mat traps litter every time your cat walks out of the box.
Store all your pet's toys in a box and keep it somewhere accessible, but out of the way. This is helpful if you have small children as it reduces the risk of stepping or tripping on small items. If you have the time, you can also train your pets to put their toys back in the box by themselves.
To make cleanup easier, prepare a kit that you can just grab from under the sink. Items such as spray-stain removers, towels, paper towels or old newspapers, and wet wipes in a bucket or basket can come in handy.
Baking soda is an efficient cleaning agent and odor remover. Use it in litter boxes or cages to get rid of unpleasant scents. In case of "accidents," on carpets or rugs, sprinkle liberally on the spot and leave overnight to soak in the odor. Vacuum the next day or even better, air-dry under the sun.
Finally, don't forget to ask for help. Professional cleaners can get rid of the more stubborn stains, while pet trainers can give you tips on training your furry friends. Make cleanup easier and less tiring for you by being prepared and anticipating your pet's needs.
Jennifer Lutz writes about home-related topics at blog.christmastreemarket.com.