Spring has sprung, and the beauty of long days and sunny afternoons is finally sinking in. Of course, that also means it’s time for spring cleaning and summer projects. Whether it’s deep cleaning the house, repairing your lawn, or building a deck in your backyard, this time of year will bring a lot of chaos to your pets life!
As important as it is to keep a clean house, it’s even more important that you pay attention to HOW you’re managing your spring projects so that your pets stay healthy. There are a few simple guidelines that can help prevent any accidents, and will make your tasks go by much more smoothly.
Typically the bulk of spring cleaning and home projects are going to be done inside, where there is a huge range of areas that need cleaning, and just as many products needed to address them. So let’s break things down room by room!
Kitchen and Bathrooms
The kitchen and the bathroom are probably the most heavily used rooms in the house, and they also have the highest likelihood of nasty build up. Even the most diligent can be terrified when they move their stove away from the wall and see the results. Since both rooms require such deep cleaning and disinfecting, you need the most potent cleaners. But be careful!
– Always look for “non-toxic” and “pet friendly” cleaners. Thankfully, most products mark this very clearly on the label.
– Watch out for chemicals like ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, carbolic acid, hydroxybenzene, oxybenzene, and perchloroethylene. Most heavy cleaning products have one or more of these chemicals, so aim to avoid them whenever possible. This is especially important to people with birds, who are dangerously sensitive to aerosols.
– Pine oil is found in a number of cleaning products, especially those used to mop kitchen floors, but it is also terrible for cats. They are extremely sensitive to it, so make sure they are far away before breaking out the mop.
– Ant and mouse traps can be deadly for your pets, so make sure to be judicious in your use, and place them where you animals can’t come in contact with them.
– Toilet bowl cleaners are a potent mixture of very dangerous chemicals, so keep the lid down while letting it sit, and if you use a clip on cleaner year round, NEVER let pets anywhere near it.
– Pets can have allergies to dust and mold just like we can, so make sure you remove and/or prevent mold from growing in the bathroom as well.
Bedrooms and Living rooms
While the bedroom and living room are vastly different in regards to usage, they share many of the same burdens in terms of cleaning. Carpeted rooms can be tough, especially considering how much pet hair can accumulate deep in the fibers. These rooms take a bit of chicanery to get cleaned, so be cautious!
– Beware carpet cleaners! Earlier this year, a powdered carpet cleaner was linked to the death of a cat and bird. While certainly an outlier, the story proves how vital it is to keep pets safely tucked away from the room you are working on.
– If you want to take a break, there are numerous services that offer pet-friendly carpet cleanings! You can take a break and let someone else do the deep cleaning, and you can rest assured your pet will be safe.
– When selecting furniture polish, refer to the list of no-no chemicals above, and make sure surfaces are completely dry before letting your animals back in.
– Make sure any house plants are pet friendly! Lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, while the Sago plant is deadly for dogs. Double check to make sure you aren’t harboring a dangerous plant inside.
Lawn and Garden
Many dogs, and some cats, spend a great deal of time outside, and so do we. Maintaining a lawn and/or a garden can be a huge amount of work, but it’s also one of the most American of traditions. Unfortunately, it can be the most dangerous for animals as well.
– Fertilizers are often bad news! Most fertilizers contain dangerous levels of chemicals, natural or not, that can linger for longer than you think. Make sure you check the ingredients and observe the proper waiting period before letting your loved ones frolic around in the lawn.
– Herbicides and pesticides are another major risk. If they haven’t been rinsed and dried properly, your pets can walk on them, and ingest them from licking their paws. Make sure you find the most animal friendly, and make sure it’s safe before letting them run around.
– Metaldehyde is a chemical found in slug and snail bait, and it is highly toxic for dogs and cats. Make sure to avoid using it, or keep your pets well clear of the bait if you do use it. This is one of the most dangerous items you may be using in your garden.
– Mouse and rat poison are also extremely dangerous for animals, so finding a humane way to fix your rodent problem is going to be the best way to protect your pets.
Of course, there are numerous other safety tips to keep in mind, and this is by no means a comprehensive list. Read your labels, make sure your house is well ventilated, and keep your pets locked up while you’re deep cleaning. But most importantly, enjoy the process! You and your pets will love having a fresh place to play.
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