Only the best for man’s best friend: Tips for making your home healthy for your pets

Stock image courtesy of St. George Health & Wellness Magazine, St. George News

FEATURE — We all spend time trying to keep up with the pet hair and other pet mishaps in our homes. Why? Because we want to live in a clean house! However, we sometimes overlook the fact that keeping a home clean for our pets is just as important for their health and quality of life.

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Grooming

The most important thing we can do to keep our homes healthy for our pets is to brush their coats daily. This recommendation applies just as much to cats as it does to dogs. Grooming is an important part of an animal’s life. We see them grooming, often several times a day, but we forget to help them with that task. Start when they are young, and they will learn to look forward to that daily brushing. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed, too. Nails can carry debris on or under the surface.

For both dogs and cats, wipe their paws when they return from a walk or stroll in the garden. This reduces the danger of bringing contaminants into the home that could infect other older or sick animals. Special pet wipes are available to make this task quick and less stressful for both pets and humans alike. By using these daily hands-on approaches with your pet, you’ll very quickly know if something is amiss: a new bump, scratch, allergy or illness.

Environment

Does your pet have a favorite place to sleep or nap? Do you find that your pet loves to lay on freshly laundered items? Well, of course! Who doesn’t love that clean fresh smell. Place a pet bed, towel or sheet on that napping spot. Then, when it’s time to clean up, shake it out and toss it in the wash. Having a place that pets can claim as their own and keeping it clean for them cuts down on having to fight hair build up on couches, carpets and chairs.

Let’s talk about cat trees – those old carpet-covered trees that look like they have been attacked by a tiger and that harbor germs, bacteria and who knows what! Time to change to a new, easy-to-clean cat tree, like a modern CurvyNest or a safe modular cat wall. They are designed for easy cleaning and to be aesthetically pleasing in your home.  

Food and water

If you free-feed (leave food out all day), stop! Giving pets access to unlimited food all day is never a good idea for so many reasons, the least of which are the mess and the possible bugs and rodents. Food areas need to be wiped and cleaned after each feeding, enabling you to maintain a healthy eating environment for your pet and reduce the likelihood of bugs, flies or even illness. Food that sits out all day can spoil or become contaminated. Most importantly, by feeding at specific mealtimes, you will know if something is not right with your pet.

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Bowl choice is also a factor to consider. Food-grade stainless steel bowls are your best choice (304 or 316). Ceramic bowls may contain lead paint. They can also flake, crack or chip, leaving food particles to build up even after washing. Plastic bowls can break down, allowing plastic to contaminate the food.

Fresh, clean water is a must. A water fountain with a filter is the best option for all pets. The moving water is less likely to become contaminated, and the water flowing through the filter removes any particles that fall in the water. Regular cleaning is still necessary to ensure that there is no excessive scale or slime buildup in the bowl. If a fountain is not an option, then bowls must be cleaned thoroughly at least once a day, and water should be changed once or more a day.   

Keeping our homes clean for our pets may not be our main objective, but when you consider the health benefits, it matters greatly. Cleanliness becomes just as important as the food you select for your pets or the exercise your pets receive. A clean home for pets reduces allergies, illness, stress and anxiety for you and your pets!

Written by ANITA DELELLES, LMT.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2023 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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