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Thinking about doing some spring cleaning this year? Don’t forget your pet(s)! Check out these 14 pet-related spring cleaning chores for pet owners, along with plenty of in-depth tips and how-to instructions, and give your household pets a little springtime TLC.
In this post…
This post covers 14 different spring cleaning chores that focus on your pet, their belongings, health, safety, grooming needs, and areas where they may impact your home. We also provide plenty of in-depth tips and how-to tutorials for some tasks, as well as other types of information to help you out.
Pet-Related Spring Cleaning Chores
You can do these pet-related spring cleaning chores at whatever pace you wish. They can also be broken up and done over time, while some people may prefer to do a few all at once.
We recommend bookmarking this page so you can come back later and pick up where you left off.
Tips to get you started.
We’ve included helpful tips and information below that we thought you might find useful. Some tasks are kept short and sweet, while other points might be expanded upon in another post.
We also realize that each reader is different. So we’ve made it possible for you to expand each step, using the white arrow to the right of each task if you wish to read a little more information. You can collapse the tasks by clicking the same arrow again if you want to see less.
Ask your vet.
While I have some experience as a fellow pet owner and former vet receptionist and as a part-time groomer (many moons ago), the advice, tips, and suggestions within this post are not considered professional.
Always consult a veterinary doctor or local groomer if you have any questions or health concerns regarding your pet or before performing any of the steps below if you’re uncertain. And always use pet-friendly and safe practices on your pet, including any shampoos or conditioners.
1. Wash your pet’s bowls and feeders.
Take a little time to make sure that your pet’s bowls or feeding equipment are thoroughly washed. You can do this by hand and using mild soap or by putting it in your dishwasher. This should also include any outside bowls.
Helpful Habit: Rinse and Repeat
Even beyond these annual pet spring cleaning tasks, your pet’s food and water bowls and feeders should be regularly cleaned at least once a week, if not more. This includes water dishes and feeders. Washing pet bowls can help prevent bacteria issues as well as algae or mold growth.
Besides, it’s an easy, free, and kind way to show your pets you care, and it can be a lot healthier for them as well.
Set a reminder for yourself to clean out your pet’s bowl at least once or twice a week, if not more. This is particularly useful if you tend to forget to do it. You can also turn it into a habit by stacking it on top of another one you do already: filling up their bowls with food and water.
2. Groom your pet or have them groomed professionally.
Grooming your pet consistently can be highly important for your health and sometimes even your peace of mind.
If you’d rather not do the job yourself, consider hiring a professional, including ones who are mobile and are willing to come to you. You can find great groomers by checking out customer reviews at places such as Yelp, asking your vet, having it done at your vets, and going by word of mouth.
Please do not use human shampoo, household soap, or essential oils on your pet since they may be unsafe or even toxic. Stick to pet-formulated products (our top pick that works and smells great, new tab).
Typical Grooming Tasks
Oral Care Tips
It’s crucial to make sure you brush your pet’s teeth several times a week, if not daily, treating them as your own. This is more so the case for breeds prone to dental diseases, like Corgis (something I learned the hard way and many dollars later).
Your pet’s teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, using a pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste, with three times a week being the minimum. Some chew treats and dental aids, such as Plaque Off, can also help maintain their oral health.
Set reminders for yourself to stay on top of your pet’s dental care, particularly if you and your pet are new to the experience and/or tend to forget. You can also start gradually to allow both of you to grow used to it and then build up in frequency as time passes.
Pet Oral Care Breakdown
Nail Care Tips
Keeping up on nail care for your pet is also another essential task that should be done regularly. Excessively long nails can cause accidental damage to your pet, you, another person, or even items within your home (i.e., floors, furniture, etc.). It’s also recommended to do it before bathing too.
Super-long nails can hurt your animal when they grow too long, particularly with dogs. It’s like trying to walk in ill-fitting stilettos with pebbles inside them and down a slippery or icy road. No fun!
Long nails may eventually start to cause the toes to twist as the animal walks or can injure its legs. Nails that are too long can also cause the animal to slip or slide on smooth surfaces or even begin to curl underneath their foot and into the pads of their feet, resulting in pain and possible infection.
Nail Car Tips
Set reminders for yourself to stay on top of your animal’s nail care, particularly if they don’t have hard surfaces, like streets and sidewalks, to walk on consistently to file them down naturally. Nails should be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks, although some people may do it weekly if their pet’s nails grow fast.
Bathing & Brushing Your Pets
How often you bathe your pet can vary on the type of animal and other factors, such as their breed, how often they’re outside, etc. You can also do in-between maintenance care to increase the time in-between bathing and reduce dirt and dander.
For instance, cats are usually not bathed very often, if at all, since they typically bathe themselves…all day long. This especially tends to be the case for indoor cats, unless they happen to be pretty filthy, flea-ridden, or smelly.
However, some situations may require some help or more frequency, such as dealing with a senior cat, hairless cat, morbidly obese cats, or where the cat can’t or won’t adequately bathe itself. It’s, more or less, on an as-needed basis.
On the other hand, dogs may need more frequent bathing, but it’s also important not to bathe them too often. Bathing a dog too often can lead to stripping them of their natural oils that may protect their skin and coat.
It’s usually recommended to bathe them no more than once a month, but every 2-3 months is often the recommended time frame between baths.
Maintenance cleaning and brushing tips
You can give both cats and dogs (and other fur babies) a gentle wipe down their fur and clean their ears ever so often with a microfiber cloth and some warm water (slightly damp). This can help reduce the dander that we might be allergic to and remove dirt and debris from their coat.
I use a slightly damp microfiber cloth on my corgi about once a week, which helps to reduce dander and keeps fur from flying so much. You can also spritz water onto them before brushing instead if they’ll tolerate it. You can then use the dry microfiber after you’re done, or wipe them down with the slightly damp microfiber cloth before brushing.
Microfiber cloths are great on fur since they can help trap the dander and debris with their fibers. My usual go-to is, of course, this version by E-Cloth. I typically use an older one for the dog or designate one for him by color.
Note: Don’t forget to check for ticks, fleas, suspicious growths, or lumps, as well as any potential skin irritations like hotspots.
You can alleviate many issues when it comes to your pet and their grooming needs by getting them used to it while they’re still young. However, it’s also possible to teach new dogs (or other animals) new tricks by rewarding, praising, and going slow.
You can also use positive reinforcement around things that they’re fearful of, such as turning on a nail grinder in front of them and throwing a ball. Let them get used to noises or sensations, such as grabbing their paw as though you were going to trim nails and backing it up with praise or playtime.
Trainers, some professional groomers, or consulting your vet may be another option to consider if you’re still having trouble or if your pet is showing signs of aggression. You can also find plenty of how-to videos online or ask your vet if they can show you what to do, such as trimming nails.
Grooming is also beneficial prevention.
Grooming your pet isn’t just an act of love, necessity, or kind gesture. It can also help reduce your cleaning efforts and time around the home—and not just as your pet-related spring cleaning but year-round.
This is why we usually recommend taking care of your pet’s needs before cleaning your home and keeping up with it consistently, like brushing them before you vacuum or dust and doing so at least once a week.
You can also safeguard your home by reducing allergens and preventing possible damage, such as the floor from overly long nails. Above all, your home will smell a heckuva lot better in the long run, too, and may also stay cleaner for longer.
3. Clean your pet’s bedding and blankets.
You can show a little love to both your pet and household by cleaning your pet’s bedding and condos. Doing so can help reduce household odors and reduce the chances of other factors, such as fleas and dust mites.
Washing your pet’s bed.
How to go about cleaning your animal’s bedding can vary on the type and material, not to mention how dirty it might be. Some bed types have removable covers or can be thrown entirely into the washer, while other styles may need to be spot treated or cleaned with an upholstery cleaner.
The best rule of thumb is to follow the care instructions that came on the bed, which you’ll usually see a tag of on the bed itself. If the instructions have been removed or lost, you can try some of the following steps.
Common pet bed cleaning methods:
- Vacuum the bed before cleaning it.
- Wash the bed doing one of the following:
- If possible, throw the bed in the washer, remove the cover, and throw it in the washing machine and treat per the bed’s care instructions.
- Shake out the insert well outside if it’s not also washable.
- Spot treat the bed to remove any stains using an upholstery-type cleaner or soap, water, and a cleaning cloth.
- Use a spot upholstery or carpet cleaner with upholstery attachments on more durable beds, such as large dog beds, that look more like a couch than a pillow, assuming it can handle it. Don’t oversaturate the piece or use too much soap, and make sure to rinse with water only. Do at your own risk.
- Allow to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area, particularly if you washed the entire bed.
Other pet bedding tips:
4. Deep clean your pet’s area.
It’s a good idea to keep up on cleaning your pet’s areas somewhat consistently, particularly since they can be challenging to clean if left alone for too long. This can include anything from the litterbox and litterbox area, dog runs, kennels, feeding zones, bird or small animal cages, as well as aquariums and terrariums.
Common pet places to deep clean:
Things such as pet houses and cat trees or scratching posts can be shaken and/or vacuumed out in most cases. However, you may also need to wipe them clean since animals, such as cats, love to mark their happy zones.
Other items and areas, such as cat boxes and dog runs, may need a more thorough cleaning and should be done consistently so that things remain easier to manage and clean. Cages and terrariums should be dealt with accordingly and using safe products for the animal in mind.
Some areas may also require unique products, such as enzyme-based options and odor eliminators, to help combat common pet smells, stains, and other concerns. For instance, while it may not fight stains, this product by Zero Odor is one of our favorites for banishing odors and without the perfumed- stench of some air fresheners.
5. Inspect, declutter, and clean any pet toys.
Try to make an effort to go through your pet’s toys as you spring clean and throughout the year.
Declutter, discard, and repair.
Look for and discard any toys that have been destroyed or might be a danger to your pet or children within the home. You can also try to repair some things, such as plush toys that need to be resewn back to health.
Wash the washable.
Try to wash any toys that can be washed. For instance, rubber or silicone toys can typically be washed by hand or in the clothes washer. You can also try to ash them in the dishwasher if you’re one of those brave and fearless souls.
The same can be said for cloth or fabric-based toys that don’t have any electronic parts inside them. Items like plush toys and ropes can usually be washed by hand or in the washing machine and tumble or air-dried. Unwashable items can perhaps be spot cleaned.
However, always check with the care instructions by the toy manufacturer and make sure that there isn’t any stuffing or filler that’s likely to come out once you start washing the toy.
Got guilt? Bribery and shadiness sometimes helps.
Feel guilty about tossing your pet’s favorite or long-running toys? Try to have a new one or duplicate on hand.
That way, you’ll likely feel less guilt or shame and won’t be so moved by their highly skilled look of disbelief and utter disappointment when Fluffy goes in the bin. You’ll go from treacherous and villainous Zero to Hero in a blink. So long, Fluffster. It’s been real!
You can also discard items when they’re not looking, like when they’re off galivanting with their new squeeze and completely forgetting their OG pal. That’s alright, cos Fluff’s retiring with all plush bunnies.
So many toys you didn’t know what to do?
No worries—all that bribery and spoiling had to catch up with you at some point! Fortunately, your pet can get all posh and sophisticated by having their very own toy bin.
Toy bins for pets can be great as an organizing solution as it keeps toys in their own area and your house looking less cluttered. They can even look cute, and your pet will love seeing what’s inside their basket and getting something out.
And, if you’re lazy like I can sometimes be, you can even teach them to put away their toys, saving you the trouble of picking up their crime scene every day.
Just make sure that it’s the appropriate height for your pet.
Helpful Habit: Aim for quarterly toy baths.
Try to buy washable pet items. It can also be beneficial to get in the habit of washing your pet toys consistently, such as every quarter or during seasonal cleaning. This can help keep toys clean, and you’ll likely experience fewer household odors as well.
You can set reminders on your devices or even plan toy baths alongside your animal’s official bath and spa day.
6. Tidy your pet’s food storage area or pantry.
Ever so often, it’s good to clean up where you keep your pet’s food, especially if you tend to stock up. Sometimes food can fall as we’re retrieving it and can even be a magnet for insects and rodents. Items can also expire without us noticing.
This is also an excellent time to ensure that your products, such as canned food and treats, are appropriately rotated, with older items upfront and newer cans toward the back.
Steps to organize your pet pantry:
To avoid issues like pests, dirt, and dust from getting into your food, and to keep things fresh, you can also opt to use containers to store large or small bags of food. We love this rolling container in our garage, which holds up to 55 quarts or more of dry food, depending on the size you get.
7. Spruce up, restock, and organize pet tools and supplies.
Tidying up and keeping track of your pet supplies can be beneficial and a great way to see what you have or might need to restock.
Items in this category might include nail clippers or grinders and other grooming tools, ear cleaning solutions, terrarium or tank maintenance and cleaning products, hotspot treatments, treats, kits, travel items, etc.
Steps to organize pet tools and pet supplies:
It’s also an ideal time to organize what you have, such as putting them in containers or organizers, so that items are easier to spot and better contained. And, of course, it’s good to try to declutter what you don’t need.
8. Check leashes, harnesses, and collars for any tears or other concerns.
Things such as harnesses, leashes, and collars can go through a lot of wear and tear over time. As a result, they may be at risk for breaking apart, even during the worst times and when you need them to work the most.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to inspect your pet’s collar, leash, or harnesses every now and then to ensure that they’re in good condition and not likely to break on you or your pet any time soon. This can be done by checking any plastic connections and buckles and the woven material of the item itself.
What to look for:
9. Set up health-related checkups for your pet and make sure vaccines are up-to-date.
If you haven’t already, consider setting health-related appointments in advance for your pet. This usually includes any potential annual exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and whatever else might be the norm for your pet.
You can also schedule other things for your pet, such as grooming or training appointments.
Set the date: You can then mark it in your planner or calendar, or set a reminder on your phone.
10. Check, process, and organize your pet’s paperwork and files.
Make sure to keep your pet’s paperwork organized, up to date, and filed in a safe place. These documents can be vital and should be easily accessed in an emergency or other situation where your pet’s information might be necessary.
It’s also important to make sure that you have both digital and hardcopy versions when possible.
If you’ve misplaced papers, you can contact the facility, whether the vet, county, or groomer, to get a copy made for you. However, you’ll likely have to pick the documentation up.
If you’re having trouble finding old vet papers or changed vets, your current vet facility should be able to get into contact with that facility to update records and know what your pet might be due for or any health issues.
11. Organize or create a pet emergency first aid kit (optional)
Believe it or not, it can be crucial to have some sort of first aid kit as well as some form of an emergency event and/or evacuation kit for your pet(s).
Pet First Aid Kits
Emergency aid kits are helpful to have around if your pet is injured while on vacation, traveling, camping, on a walk, on trails, and hiking, as well as at home. What you have inside them will likely include stuff similar to a human first aid kit but geared more towards animals. Things may also vary on the kind of animal you have.
Pet Evacuation Bags
An evacuation and emergency situation should also be considered when thinking of your pet in the event of a natural disaster or other emergencies, such as a house fire or wildfire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, etc. More so if you live in an area prone to severe weather or where severe weather is increasingly becoming a possibility.
Pet evacuation bags, or bug-out bags, can be made at home and/or purchased online. They’re usually a portable bag or box with your pet’s daily must-have essentials if you need to leave your home in a hurry or get stranded. Small first aid kits may also be included.
After five or more wildfire scares, two evacuations, not to mention a few earthquakes, I’ve learned how important it is to be prepared. You don’t want to waste time looking for stuff like dog food or bowls when you need to get out. Make sure you’re ready and that your pets are too.
What should be in a pet emergency aid and/or evac kit?
Ideally, these kits should be compact and portable for easy transporting. They should also be in an easy to access location, if not several different kits in various places, preferably near your own evac or emergency tuff (i.e., near the kitchen or garage, in the car, and close to human emergency kits or evac bags. etc.). Some people keep travel or compact kits for traveling or in the car.
You can make your kits or choose to buy them pre-stocked, but you may need to ensure that products inside the kits haven’t expired, whether DIY to store-bought, haven’t expired. Some types are even super-small kits designed to be taken out on hikes or the like.
Some common items in an pet emergency aid kit:
Some common items in an pet emergency evacuation kit:
12. Deal with any residual pet stains and odors around the home.
Try to take the time to deal with any residual pet stains around the home, particularly if you can’t carpet or upholstery clean any time soon. Such stains will typically include urine or feces stains, vomit, drool, along with other concerns.
Treat based on the type of stain.
When cleaning up stains, try to use a method or product that is designed to treat them. For instance, you can usually treat urine stains and eliminate the odor using a product with enzymes designed to target urine ammonia crystals and organic matter such as feces or vomit.
Double-check what you’re buying.
Make sure to double-check whatever pet stain remover you plan to buy. Some types may specifically be designed as a pre-treat for carpet cleaning. Other products, such as foams and certain spray products, may be designed for cleaning up stains by hand and vacuuming up.
Some products just treat odors rather than stains, such as our go-to choice by Zero Odor here, which are more suited for those “will someone please give the dog a bath” moments and general odors on soft surfaces.
13. Consider carpet and upholstery cleaning.
Regardless if you prefer to spot clean, DIY it, or hire a professional, it’s a good idea to make sure you treat your carpet, rugs, and furniture to a good deep cleaning ever so often, if not twice a year or every quarter—especially if you have pets.
Like our clothes, household soft surfaces and fabrics can hold a lot of dirt, bacteria, debris, fur, dead skin cells, body fluids, food, and odors. #IWasHungryButNowImNot. These items can also be a safe space and vacation hot spot for things such as fleas, ticks, and even dust mites.
Most pet owners are well aware of what our pets can add to the mix, let alone what humans track in from the outside world with just their shoes on inside the house. And if household odors are a concern, carpet and upholstery cleaning is one sure-fire way to eliminate many odors, all while giving you better peace of mind.
Quick carpet and upholstery cleaning tips:
Worried about dust mites? Check out 14 Easy Tips to Reduce and Prevent Dust Mites next (new tab).Animals can require so
14. Make more time to spend time with your best friend.
Animals have social requirements just like humans do. And because we humans often get distracted, busy, or have a tendency to forget things, it’s good to set time aside to make sure that your pet is getting the social interaction and exercise that it needs.
Activites to do with your pet(s):
Before taking them outside:
While it’s essential to clean and maintain your home, it’s equally important to include pet spring cleaning chores as well. Not only will doing some of the tasks on this 14 pet-related spring cleaning checklist be beneficial for your pet and your overall peace of mind, but it will also make spring cleaning your home easier—especially if you see to your pet’s needs, such as grooming, beforehand by doing some of the following:
In this post, we covered:
What’s your favorite pet-related activity, and what’s your pet’s favorite item or space around the home? Let us know in the comments! 🐶🐱
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