How to solve 6 icky pet mess problems

From doggy drool to kitty litter, a survey confirmed what many of us already know: pets are messy!

But just how messy? Over one third of respondents to a 2013 Petco Facebook survey revealed that they vacuum up at least a basketball size ball of fur a month from their pet.

cat on the back of a sofa

Top cleaning tips to help clean up after pets

In spite of this, we love our dogs and cats… so what can you do when friends avoid visiting due to all the “ick”? You need some smart ways to keep the mess your from furry friends under control.

No need to lock yourself in a closet of shame — just try these cleaning tips, and reignite that social life.

“Ick” problem #1: Guests don’t want a fur coat

Solution: According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) 32 percent of pet parents said dog shedding and cat shedding is one of the major drawbacks to owning a pet and this is especially true for guests when they come to visit. No one wants to sit on a couch or stroke the family pet only to realize they are covered in hair that isn’t theirs.

Reduce shedding by brushing a pet’s coat at least once a week. Not only will this help remove excess hair, but it also helps cultivate an emotional bond between the pet and pet parent. Proper nutrition can also assist in minimizing the amount of hair that is shed.

“Ick” problem #2: Do not enter the disaster zone

Solution: One tenth of pet owners in Petco’s survey admitted cleaning up destroyed toys all around the house was their biggest pet peeve. It’s often embarrassing when guests knock at the door and there’s a last-minute dash to pick up toys and stuffing. Nobody likes to step foot into a disaster zone full of plush stuffing, squeakers and old, wet toys.

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Instead, use refresh and disinfect old toys. This helps a pet’s complete health and diminishes the germs they are exposed to.

It’s also a good idea to wash a dog or cat’s beds and stuffed animal toys. If they are completely destroyed, replace them before they cause harm to a pet’s physical health and leave a mess around the house. Spring is always a great time to clean items for small animals like birds, guinea pigs and hamsters too! Simply wash the items with soap and water — or, for a deeper clean, use liquid dish washing detergent.

“Ick” problem #3: No one wants to get slimed

Solution: A fun evening of dinner with friends at home can easily be ruined when Fido slimes a guest. Not only can it hinder someone’s appetite, but the gross factor of being drooled on is never pleasant.

dog on sofa with chew toyAlthough some dog breeds are prone to drooling, other breeds often salivate as a response to a certain situation. Some dogs may drool as a response to watching people eat.

For a pet’s safety, it’s important to never feed table scraps and it may help reduce drooling if the pet leaves the room while the family eats. Keep them occupied and mentally stimulated with a puzzle toy or game that will keep them distracted from the food on the table.

Reducing a pet’s excitement will reduce drool, which can come in handy when guests raise the fun level. Many dogs love to interact with others and this is beneficial to their social health, however, all this can cause the dog to salivate.

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If excessive drooling is an issue, try separating dogs for a short period of time to relieve some of the excitement.

“Ick” problem #4: Smelly house

Solution: Walking into a house that smells of rodents, dogs or cats is never pleasant, especially for friends coming to visit.

Regular bathing keeps a pet physically healthy while controlling pet dander and allergies, but bathing a dog once a week will also help eliminate dirt and debris on a pet’s skin and coat helping to eliminate the smell.

And, yes, even cats need baths sometimes. If an outdoor cat is dirty or needs a flea bath, water becomes a necessary evil for the kitty. Plus, bathing older cats can help clean the areas they are no longer able to reach.

Small critters like hamsters and guinea pigs also need to be bathed. Although their baths don’t contain water — a simple dirt or dust bath does wonders for their skin and coat. Remember to change small animal bedding to reduce smells throughout the house. Also check expiration dates on shampoos and grooming sprays, as well as on food and treats.

“Ick” problem #5: The itch factor

Solution: Ankle bites from fleas not only itch, but are outright annoying. It may be hard to get guests to return if they leave with red and bitten skin!

As the weather heats up in spring, fleas and ticks tend to be more of an issue, so take a three-pronged approach fighting fleas.

The first step is to protect your pet. Although bathing pets in a flea bath helps, many pet owners find it helpful to use an additional flea and tick medication. Topical, on the spot products, are successful in repelling fleas and killing those who have already made a home on a pet.

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For those who don’t want to treat topically, try a flea-repelling collar that will last all season long. In addition to protecting the pet, it’s also important to guard the home from these pesky creatures to avoid your pet being re-exposed.

Lastly, treat the yard to ensure the house and pet are kept clean and pest free. Simply attach an outside flea/tick spray to a garden hose nozzle and spray the front and backyards of a house. These products not only kill fleas and ticks on contact, but are safe to use on turf grass and other outside surfaces.

“Ick” Problem #6: Sand belongs at the beach

Solution: The beach is a favorite destination as the weather warms up, but having a beach around a cat’s litter box is less than pleasant.

People admitted to cleaning a beach’s worth of sand (or kitty litter) outside the litter box, which is less than flattering for guests who leave with sand in their shoes.

Make the switch to a self-cleaning or fully-contained litter box. These products help keep the litter where it’s meant to be: in the box, and not on the floor.

Disinfecting a cat’s litter box will keep it fresh and clean for even the most nit picky kitties. You can also avoid the mess from hamster cages and other small animal habitats with a cage that has an easy-to-clean feature.

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