With the arrival of spring comes daylight savings time. As you check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries, turn your clocks forward and adjust all the clocks on your appliances, there are a few other things you might want to check.
Many pet supplies have expiration dates. Although consumer experts now say some can be good past the expiration date, many pet owners prefer to be more cautious and replace expired products.
Look at the date on your pet foods. Fresh and frozen foods have a much shorter life span than dry foods, and while canned foods have a much longer shelf life, you should check them all anyway. Arrange them so that the ones due to expire soon are used first.
First aid supplies and medications also have expiration dates. Replace any pet first aid supplies that are expired or have been used. For example, vet wrap (elastic tape) doesn’t expire, but if your athletic dog has needed to have a paw wrapped due to running, dashing and jumping, you should replace that vet wrap.
FOOD AND WATER BOWLS
Take a look at your pet’s food and water bowls. Although we probably don’t think about this often, these need replacing every once in a while, especially if you are using plastic bowls.
All food and water bowls should be run through the dishwasher daily. But even with regular cleaning, bacteria can build up in the pores and cracks of plastic, causing issues for your furry family member. Dogs and cats can develop redness or acne, as well as bacterial infections, on their chin because of soiled plastic bowls. Stainless steel bowls are best for pets who develop this issue as these come out of the dishwasher significantly cleaner. Steel bowls are best for pets eating raw food diets, too, for the same reason.
You should also replace steel, glass and ceramic bowls that are dented, chewed, cracked, chipped or broken.
Water fountains are so easy to use it’s also easy to forget to clean them. While doing your spring cleaning, empty the water, take the water fountain apart and completely clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the filters are replaceable, replace them. If the filters should be cleaned rather than replaced, clean them thoroughly.
If you’ve lost the cleaning instructions, go to the manufacturer’s website and look up the fountain you have. These sites are great resources for use and cleaning instructions.
LITTER BOXES AND TRASH CANS
When you scrub it, take a look at the box. Can you get it really clean? Plastic litter boxes, as well as plastic trash cans, need to be replaced regularly because at some point, it just won’t get clean any more. How often depends on the type of litter box, the litter you use and how many cats use the box.
If your litter boxes have filters to help cut down on odors, this is a good time to replace those. Scrub the litter box top before you put the new filter in.
Trash cans that hold scooped litter (even when in bags) or empty cans of cat food will begin smelling bad, too. Eventually these will also need replacing.
HOUSE AND YARD
Freshening up around the house? Make sure to use pet-friendly cleaning supplies. Many conventional products contain toxic chemicals that can harm pets if ingested. To get rid of stubborn smells, try a pet odor remover.
Just like in your home, it’s important to avoid using chemicals on your lawn. Toxins found in pesticides and certain fertilizers have been linked to cancer in pets. For an all-natural solution to yellow spots around the yard, try a pee post or GrassSaver supplements.
An easy way to cut down on cleaning (i.e. vacuuming up pet hair) is regular grooming. For both dogs and cats, routine brushing helps minimize shedding. Deshedding brushes are specially designed to remove loose hair, reducing shedding by up to 90% with regular use.
A FEW MORE THINGS
Is your pet’s favorite bed looking shabby? Take the outer covering off the bed, vacuum the hair off it and wash it. How does it look now? If it’s good, awesome. If it’s worn, torn, chewed or still looks sad, maybe it’s time to replace it.
Just like other pet supplies, collars, harnesses and leashes don’t last forever. Collars and harnesses might be too small or get worn and shabby. Leashes can wear out with cracked leather or chewed fabric. Clips might get loose, stuck open or be hard to open. These supplies should always be in good shape; your pet’s safety depends on it!
Don’t forget your pet’s identification, too. Take a moment to double check that all information is up to date.
WHEN TIME CHANGES IN THE FALL
While you’re taking care of these springtime chores, mark your calendar for the time change in the fall. If you make a habit of checking these things in the spring and fall, as you do your clocks and alarms, you will certainly help your pets live a happier, healthier life!