Every year we find inspiring lists on the Internet or from friends suggesting a complete Spring cleaning to create a healthy environment free of clutter and possible allergens. Cleaning, without a doubt, supports a healthy lifestyle. Pets, however, need “spring cleaning” on regular basis to be healthy and avoid spreading disease.
Areas such as their beds should be washed and dried, and surrounding areas should be cleaned daily to prevent accumulation of debris brought inside by our furry friends from their walks outside. Some pets respond well to frequent cleaning of paws and fur for the removal of particles of contaminated waste, pests and allergens that tend to accumulate on their skin and could aggravate skin conditions, or might cause other irritations.
Their water and food bowls should be cleaned with soap and hot water after every use to avert accumulation of bacteria. Toys and chewing plastic materials should also be cleaned and disinfected to avoid yeast and fungus, which could grow on them and are potentially harmful.
A good bath with the appropriated shampoo, brushing and frequent grooming will help not only the health of the pet, but might help the family breath cleaner air as less pet hair and dandruff will accumulate in the home. Bath frequency must be tailored to the characteristics of the shampoo being used; some good hypoallergenic shampoos can be used in healthy pets more frequently than the typical generic over- the-counter, stronger pet shampoos. Puppies require special attention for the frequency of baths and the type of shampoo use in order to avoid skin irritation. Remember to clean the pet’s ears every time they get wet to avoid predisposition for ear infections.
Both dogs and cats enjoy licking and “cleaning” themselves, but really what they are doing is covering their fur with saliva. Keep in mind that more than twelve different types of bacteria could be found in your pet’s mouth; to avoid possible bacteria contamination, be sure to clean and disinfect your pet’s mouth with the appropriately veterinarian recommended dental care products, and make sure your pet gets a professional dental cleaning at least once a year. Dental cleaning is not only important to avoid bad odor, but it is an excellent preventive care tool, which can add years of a healthy life to your pet.
As you clean and disinfect your home, avoid getting your pet in contact with harmful chemicals; more than 17,000 cases of toxicity were reported by the Animal Poison Control Center in 2013. Maintain your pet nice and clean with fur free of tangles, healthy clean skin, and clean teeth.
Enjoy the weather and the new changes that spring brings and do no forget to exercise your pets.
Dr. Eduardo Bernal, D.V.M. is a veterinarian at All Friends Animal Clinic. He graduated from Veterinary School in 1992 and moved to Weston with his family seven years ago. All Friends Animal Clinic is at 4476 Weston Road. To schedule an appointment call (954) 659-9913. For more information visit www.allfriendsanimalclinic.com.