Furry Friends = Furry Home?

Weeell… not necessarily!

Do we really have to sacrifice a clean and fur-free home for the pleasure and the joy brought by sharing it with often-stinky canines and hair-shedding felines?

We love our furries to pieces and they are an important part of our families. The benefits for children and adults are indisputable. Animals are non-judgmental, give unconditional love, shower us with (often unwanted) kisses, provide company when we are alone, are totally loyal and drag us on walks when we really don’t want to go, keeping us fit and healthy. They ask so little in return: food, shelter and a place on (in?) the bed on cold winter nights.

But there is no doubt that they tend to make a mess. For the house-proud, this can be a serious problem. We all like to come home to a tidy, clean, hygienic home. We don’t want our carpets to smell of dog urine; we don’t want our guests to leave covered in dog hair; we don’t want our kids to be exposed to germs and bacteria and we don’t want our expensive lounge suite to be stained by doggy or kitty vomit.

However, we have some good news for you: you don’t have to choose. Yes! You CAN have your furry friends in your home and it CAN be clean and tidy! We’ve done some research (as we always do) and we’ve come up with some very useful, practical and ‘do-able’ tips for you.

Let’s start with poochie him/herself:

  • Grooming

If your pooch is not groomed regularly, not only will their fur become matted and painful (here we’re talking about your Malteses, your Cocker Spaniels, your Yorkies, and so on) but they will emerge smelling like violets and will be hygienically clean.

If you are very fussy about your home and perhaps don’t have the time to be constantly fighting the Battle of the Hair, then maybe you could consider, the next time you are choosing a pet, looking at breeds of pooches and kitties which shed less hair. Dogs such as Bichon Frises, Malteses, Poodles and Yorkies and cat breeds such as Sphynxs, Cornish Rexs and Burmeses, shed very little hair and are also particularly appropriate for those of us with allergies.

Now, some of us love that doggie smell. Try smelling the bottom of their paws sometime and you’ll see what we mean. Dolce and Gabbana should bottle it and make a fortune. But, it can sometimes get a bit intense, especially in the summer months.

An appointment with a grooming parlour every 4-6 weeks will keep those doggie smells at bay, but don’t take them more often than that because the natural oils that keep their fur soft and sleek will be washed away and may result in a dry coat and skin.

Grooming should also include nail trimming which will help to prevent floor and furniture scratches. You can do this yourself but you will need a special clipper and a helpful professional groomer to show you the ropes, otherwise you may cut too much and cause bleeding and infection. Your vet will be happy to help you too.

You can, of course, do a pretty effective job of grooming your poochie (or kitty – good luck with that) yourself. It’s very simple really: brush, brush and brush again. Most doggies shed their fur – often the short-haired varieties shed the most and those little bristly hairs are so difficult to remove from your upholstery and your clothes. Most dogs enjoy being brushed as long as their hair isn’t matted and the brush is not too stiff or scratchy. You will need to invest in a good-quality brush. It has the added benefit of spreading the moisturizing body oils down the length of the hairs.

  • A Doggie Cleaning Station

Walkies! Even the word itself means heaven to our poochies, especially if it includes a ramble through the undergrowth, with lots of mud and even other disgusting (to us) substances to roll in. Obviously it is important for your pooch’s health and welfare to go on walks, but … we sense your pain. Muddy paws and expensive carpets and upholstery are a killer combination, right?

Wouldn’t it be a great idea if you could stop this disaster-on-four-paws in its tracks? A cleaning station, just inside the entrance to your home is the answer. You will need a large washable rug or mat, which will initially catch most of the mud and debris before it gets onto your carpets and furniture. You will also need a plastic container to hold cloths and brushes to remove most of the garbage. Hooks on the wall are useful for holding leashes, harnesses and poop-scoopers.

Some pet-parents even keep a large bowl there to wash particularly dirty, or toxic, paws together with an old towel to dry them.

  • Unwelcome Guests

We’re talking, of course, about the tiny monsters who are brought into our houses by our pets: ticks, fleas and other nasties which can infest our homes. This problem can be nipped in the bud by ensuring that your pets are treated for pests regularly, including in the winter months. Here’s your solution:

Bravecto® make excellent products to protect your pets, your home and your family, from fleas and ticks.

For your dogs, Bravecto® Chew provides 12 weeks of protection with a single treatment.

Bravecto® Spot-On is effective for 4 months against ticks and 6 months against fleas.

For your kitties, Bravecto® gives them 3 months of protection against fleas and ticks in a single treatment.

These parasites can cause skin problems and diseases both for your pets and for you. Consult your vet about the best way to treat your furry friends.

  • Your Weapons Arsenal

Pet owners know all about the constant battle with the fur and hair. Silently and sneakily, it manages to coat everything in your home, including you, your family and your guests. We all know how embarrassing it is when guests get up from our couch with their clothes covered in hair and you have to run for the lint roller. We suggest that you obtain the most effective weapons to remove it:

An automatic vacuum cleaner is a bit of a luxury but it does save a lot of work. These work on a rechargeable battery and are connected to an App on your cell phone. When the battery runs low, these little darlings return to the base to recharge. The App shows you a map of the area to be cleaned and you set the times when you want it to work. They even avoid bumping into furniture and falling downstairs! Some can even mop the floor too. (You’re checking them out online already, right?)

An ordinary vacuum cleaner is useful too. Buy the best that you can afford, which will be powerful enough to pick up hair, dirt, bits of grass, cat litter and crumbs. Find a vacuum that works on carpets and hard floors and which has a detachable hand-held piece to clean your furniture. A small, rechargeable, cordless vacuum is very useful for this and of course, for your car.

For removing hair on your furniture, and on you, ordinary household latex gloves are one of the best options. You simply wear the gloves and run your hands over your upholstery or clothes. They will pick up a remarkable amount of hair and can easily be rinsed clean.

Another option is of course, those sticky roller-type lint rollers: the pet-parent’s best friend. They are particularly useful for clothing and it’s a good idea to keep one in the car for this purpose too.  

  • Accidents Happen

Even the most fastidious pets occasionally have “accidents”.  Not only do these messes stain but the smell may linger for months, unless you know what to do.

Many conventional cleaning products, even those labelled ‘organic’ or ‘green’, can contain ingredients (such as bleach, alcohol, ammonia) which can be toxic for pets and may cause skin irritation and even internal bleeding. If you use these products in your home, make sure they are kept well out of reach of your pets and your children.

We suggest that you keep all your pet-related cleaning supplies in a plastic carrier. You’ll need a pair of rubber gloves, paper towels, cleaning cloths, plastic bags (supermarket bags are ideal and you’re recycling) and pet and child-safe cleaning products.

Safe Cleaners

We suggest that, as always, you check with your vet to ensure that any cleaning solution is safe for your pet.

Enzyme cleaners are useful as they break down the stain and odour of urine, but check the label to ensure that they are safe.

We suggest that you make your own:

Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water. Vinegar can kill many bacteria and viruses. You can add lemon juice to this for a pleasant smell.

Baking soda is also safe and effective in removing stains and smells. Make a paste with water or vinegar for a powerful cleaner.

Accelerated hydrogen peroxide is generally regarded as safe for pets and is also a disinfectant.

And finally ….

We hope that our suggestions will help you in the Battle of the Hair and that they’ll make life easier for you, your family and your hairy, furry friends.


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