Everyone is best served by a happy home. These simple steps can help you and your family create a better home environment.
NONTOXIC, PET SAFE CLEANERS
Non-toxic household cleaners have been popularized in supermarkets, natural food stores and online retailers in recent years. You can use them both individually or with traditional ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.
Distilled white vinegar kills harmful bacteria, microbes, and has antifungal properties to resist mold. Mix equal parts vinegar and water to make an all-purpose cleaner. Use a sponge, cloth or spray bottle to apply the cleaner. Rinse or wipe off with a damp cloth or cloth once dry. Mix 1 cup of distilled vinegar with 1 cup water and a few drops peppermint essential oils to make a spray that will help prevent mite or ant infestations around food storage areas.
One cup vinegar mixed with 5 drops of baby oil or jojoba oils and 1 gallon warm tap water is a popular cleaner for vinyl floors. This will remove any wax buildup and make your floor shine.
Although vinegar’s acidity is recommended for countertops, floors, mirrors and bathrooms, as well as kitchen counters and floors, windows and doors, it can cause damage to stone.
Baking soda is an alkaline, rather than acidic, scrubbing agent that can be used to scrub sinks, countertops and cookware. It also acts as a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets before vacuuming. Then, add it to the laundry detergent water.
DUST AND VACUUM
Dogs can often make dust a problem in their homes. A vacuum cleaner, Swiffer sweeper, lint rollers or all three are necessary if your dog is a shedder. Allergen-capturing filters are included in vacuum cleaners for pets. These attachments can be used on floors, furniture, and dog beds.
Flea infestations can be treated by vacuuming areas that your pets frequent every two to three days. This includes hallways and paths that are frequently used. Flea eggs and larvae, as well as pupae, can be found anywhere a dog resides. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day for as long a period of three months. It’s no wonder that they are difficult to eradicate!
Flea larvae can be found in or near dogs’ bedding and resting areas. Therefore, removing these potential breeding sites is the best nontoxic strategy for controlling flea populations. Make sure to vacuum the cushions of any couches and chairs your dog is sleeping on. Before disposing of your vacuum bag, change it often and seal the contents in a bag or empty bagless canisters in a bag.
HOW TO WASHER DOG BEDS
It is a good idea to wash your dog’s bed whenever fleas are present or if it is in need of some cleaning. Fleas can’t survive on plain water so you can wash dog beds, blankets and throw rugs as well as removable covers. Baking soda can be used as a deodorizer if desired.
If the cover of the bed is not removable or cannot be washed, vacuum it or wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth. Finally, wash the floor underneath the bed as often and frequently as you can. For pet beds, purchase multiple sheets or towels and rotate them in the wash.
HOW TO CLEAN WATER AND FOOD BOWLS
Stainless steel is the best material for food and water bowls. Avoid ceramic bowls as some ceramics can leach chemicals into food and water. Plastic bowls can contain carcinogenic substances, and may harbor bacteria.
It is important to wash your dog’s dishes and water bowls regularly if your dog eats raw meat. This is because pathogenic bacteria can quickly reproduce at room temperature. You should always provide fresh, clean water for your dog.
Dogs with arthritis, who are recovering from injuries or suffering from arthritis, may be at risk of slippery floors. Bamboo or cork can be used to replace slippery floors.
To determine a flooring’s slip resistance, you can check its coefficient of friction (COF), which is an objective measure of how slippery it is. For comparison, retailers and manufacturers publish flooring COF ratings. For comparison, terracotta tile and quarry tile have very high COF ratings. Terracotta tiles, brick, and stone are slip-resistant. However, honed natural stones, which can be slippery like glass, have one of the lowest COF ratings.
If possible, open some windows to improve indoor air quality. Screens are useful for keeping flying insects away. Safety bars are an excellent idea for dogs that are anxious. Photo credit: Alina Rosanova/Dreamstime.com
BRING THE OUTDOORS IN
Scientists have shown that dogs can improve our health by bringing in the outside, but we don’t want a house filled with muddy footprints. To keep things organized, create an entrance plan. To reduce dirt and grime, a mud room or garage entrance can be combined with a super absorbent rug or doormat outside or inside the door. To make cleanup easier, keep plenty of towels, paw or skin wipes, brushes, as well as grooming supplies, nearby.
IMPROVE AIR QUALITY OR PRESERVE IT
Smoking is bad for your health. Did you know second-hand smoke is linked to lung and nose cancers in dogs who have smoked? Smoking should be done outdoors, away from your dog. Smoking indoors is not a good idea, especially if you have a dog.
The average home’s air can be up to two to twenty times more polluted that the outside air. You can also open your windows at least once per day, unless you have poor outdoor air quality, such as from smog, pollution, smoke from forest fires or high pollen counts.
Air filters for whole-house or portable use remove pollen, mold, bacteria, and dust. Non-toxic houseplants increase air quality by removing carbon dioxide, and releasing oxygen. To add fragrance, you can use aromatherapy essential oils diffusers, dried herbs or scented flowers instead of chemical “air fresheners”.
KEEP YOUR YARD GREEN
Pet waste can be a problem because it attracts flies and spreads worms. It is important to remove it every day in order to prevent any health problems, such as coprophagia (when dogs eat other dogs’ poop).
Look for organic pesticides or herbicides that are safe and effective alternatives to commercial pesticides.
Your dog will benefit from any improvement made to your yard and home.
A healthy home for your dog (and you, too) Whole Dog Journal.