Hygiene is an important attribute to our quality of life and your pet is no different. Good hygiene translates to better health and overall well-being. Not to mention, if your pet has bad hygiene, it can make it hard for you to have a good relationship. It can lead to health risks for you and your family and it can create a dirty living environment in your home. Pets love to make our lives full of love. With that comes dirt, grime, dust, dander, fur, and more.

Some pets, like most house cats, take care of their own personal hygiene. We are mostly responsible for providing a clean and healthy environment for them to live. Other pets, like dogs, may require a little more help. Without proper hygiene, pets can develop skin conditions, carry diseases, and more. Here are some simple, effective, and important hygiene tips for your pet.

1. Clean Your Cat’s Litter Box Every Day

A dirty litter box can be hard to ignore. The odors should provide a clear notification that it needs cleaning. A dirty litter box is a breeding ground for germs, parasites, and bacteria. In particular, cat feces can cause Toxoplasmosis, which is known to cause flu-like symptoms. For pregnant women, this can be especially dangerous and has been known to cause birth defects. Consider where your cat roams throughout the day. Their paws are likely to find their way all over your home and most likely on surfaces like pillows, countertops, couches, beds, and tables. If they walk in a dirty litter box, then they are tracking the all over those surfaces as well.

Cut down on the build-up of ammonia, germs, bacteria, and parasites by cleaning your cat’s litter box every day. After emptying out the litter box, be sure to wash the box using mild dish soap and water. If you use anything stronger, it might make a sensitive cat avoid the litter box altogether and lead to accidents in the house. Additionally, it is important that you have the same number of litter boxes as you do cats in the house.

2. Clean Water and Food Dishes Regularly

Just like you wash your dishes after using them, so should your pets. Named the fourth “germiest” location in your home, pets water and food should be cleaned to avoid bacteria growth. The bacteria that grow in the bowls can lead to illness for your pets and small children (if they play with the bowls). Wash food bowls every day and water bowls every other day. Run them through the dishwasher or use hot, soapy water. If your pet leaves chunks of food in their bowl after eating, wipe them out to avoid bacteria build-up.

3. Wash and Replace Toys

Most pets have that toy. You know the one I am talking about. Maybe they got it when they were a puppy or a kitten. It is barely recognizable from when you first got it for them and when you play with them, you hold it using only your fingertips. Pet toys need to be washed regularly, just like children’s toys. For hard toys, hot soapy water, and if necessary, use a very mild bleach solution to disinfect. For soft toys, you can usually throw them in the washing machine along with their collars.

4. Store Pet Food Properly

Just like you wouldn’t food that was sitting out overnight, neither should your pet. Dry food, if left out without being in a sealed container can be contaminated with salmonella. If your pet comes into contact with you, then that can be transmitted and lead to a dangerous infection in humans. For wet food, airtight containers and being stored in the refrigerator to prevent any bacteria growth. With raw food diets, you need to be extra cautious. Raw food diets pose a high risk for bacteria growth and so they must be stored in airtight containers and at the proper temperature. Keep food sealed and safe from any pest infestations that might carry any diseases and bacteria.

5. Regular Check-Ups

Taking care of your pet is important for their health. Regular routine appointments with your vet are important. At Main St. vets we know what to look for in pets that might be signs of larger issues. We are also here to help with any questions about hygiene and cleaning your pet. We also offer dental services and grooming services to keep your pet healthy and clean. If you have any questions, call or contact us today!