Help Pets Stay Cool During the Dog Days

During the “dog days” of summer, remember that all pets can get dehydrated quickly, says Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training blog. Furnish them with plenty of fresh water and shade, avoid exercising them too hard, and keep them indoors in extreme heat. If you see symptoms of overheating such as excessive panting, drooling or weakness, get your pet to a cool place and contact a vet immediately. Keep dogs off of hot asphalt and sand, and never leave any animals alone in a parked vehicle. Car interiors can heat up to dangerous temperatures in minutes even on relatively mild days, putting pets in danger of heatstroke and death.

Keep Pets Clean During the Dog Days

The “dog days” of summer may remind you just how much hair and dirt your four-legged friends bring into the home. Fortunately, warm weather affords pet parents the opportunity to treat their dogs to an outdoor spa day that results in less fur and dirt in the home, the American Kennel Club says. Wash your dog with a gentle dog shampoo (or flea shampoo if necessary), and brush them once dry to reduce shedding. Inside the home, keep harsh chemical cleaning products out of pets’ reach and consider using pet-friendly cleaning solutions that contain only vinegar or baking soda. Wash pet bedding regularly, and you’ll be able to cut down on pet odors, too.

There’s No Dirt Like Winter Dirt

Many parts of the country that don’t get a lot of snow and ice did earlier this month, and it looks like there’s more to come. Readers who live in the North know how easy it is to bring mud, moisture and salt into the house, and have strategies to keep tracked-in dirt at bay. But some of these strategies bear repeating.

First, encourage everyone who enters your home to remove their shoes. This is the No. 1 way for winter dirt to enter your living space, and even the freshest, whitest snow likely contains salt, sand and other contaminants that will dirty the floors. Place trays or washable throw rugs by all exterior doors to catch the muck melting from footwear.

Throw rugs are often the best defense for high-traffic areas; they catch winter dirt and can be shaken out or thrown into the wash easily. Use them even on top of wall-to-wall carpet, since it’s difficult to get carpeting to look clean and bright again once people track dirty snow onto it.

Leave a towel by the door to wipe down your pets following a walk or romp in the snow, says the Vivint Smart Home blog. Many dogs and cats also develop thicker coats in cold weather, and ultimately shed more. Brush and groom them regularly to prevent that fur from flying everywhere and attaching itself to furniture and clothing.

If you haven’t already, change out the furnace filters, dust the ceiling fan blades, and vacuum refrigerator coils and blinds to keep allergens to a minimum while the house is closed up against the cold, House Logic says. Sheets, blankets and comforters also catch a lot of dust and dirt, so be sure to so wash them frequently.

Be vigilant. You can’t keep every speck of dust and dirt out of your house in winter, but you can keep it from building up, aggravating allergies and causing permanent damage to floors, carpets and other surfaces. Sweep, vacuum and mop frequently to get any dirt that’s brought into the house out quickly.

If the weather forecasts are correct, you’ll be spending lots of time indoors for a few more weeks, so take the appropriate steps to make sure your environment is clean and healthy. Then, count down the days until spring!

Décor for the Fastidious Pet Parent

As a pet parent, your décor can affect how much dirt enters the home and stays, says Modern Dog. To keep dirt from getting in, use doormats and washable throw rugs at entrances to catch some of what those dirty paws track in; you can also keep a paw towel or footbath near the door for rainy days. Put trays under food bowls to catch any overflow or messes. And finally, pick out low-pile rugs, stain-resistant fabrics, and leather or vinyl upholstery, so that hair and stains will present less of a problem.

Confine Dirt to the Litter Box

Even an “indoor” cat can make it difficult to keep the home clean and odor-free. The litter box can become a major source of dirt and odors if you aren’t careful. Make sure that you place your litter box in a place you can access frequently to keep it clean, says IHeartCats. Pick a litter that suits your cleaning style, and make spot-cleaning stray litter and near-misses easy by having a handheld vacuum, broom and paper towels nearby. Mats and plastic liners and can keep the dirty litter confined, the site adds.