The snow is starting to melt, the sun is beginning to shine, and spring is finally here, which means it is time for some much-anticipated spring cleaning! Spring cleaning for us might be a bit different than for our pets, so here are some helpful cleaning and organizational tips to benefit our four-legged friends and get them ready for the new season!
Certain barn chores do more than just make the place look nice and tidy; they also help aid in the overall health of all its occupants!
Empty and sweep the hayloft or shed- This is the time of year when your hay supplies are most likely at their lowest, which means it is the perfect time to take good care of that space! Remove any remaining bales and thoroughly sweep the floor. Remember to check for signs of rodents or other creepy crawlers. If you find anything, make certain to devise a plan to take care of them without endangering your pets. Now is also a good time to check for wet spots or any signs of leaking that could lead to mold. Remove any cobwebs, bird’s nest, etc. that do not belong there and then restack your remaining hay bales with the oldest in front, ready to be used first!
Declutter the aisle- Having a passageway filled with tack, rakes, and misc. other items is an accident waiting to happen, for both you and your pets! Create a clean, low-traffic area to store all stall-cleaning tools. Then, move as many of the remaining items and containers to a room or stall set aside for that purpose. Look into investing in a blanket rack to save all your blankets and sheets from ending up on the ground. Remember that you are not the only person walking through the area, your pets need to be able to safely make their way through as well!
Scrub troughs, tubs, and buckets- This is not a once-a-year job, but the cold of winter can keep you from doing this as thoroughly as you would typically do. Spring is the perfect time to attack them with a stiff brush and lots of elbow grease! If you need something more, sprinkle the surface with baking soda as it is abrasive enough to remove all the grime and yuck without leaving any chemical residue. This is also a good chance to check any automatic watering systems, ensuring that they are all in good working order and free of any leakage or corrosion.
Check all stalls- Strip the entire stall of bedding and give every inch of space a thorough once over. Start at the floor and make your way up, looking for frayed or curling mats, rotted wood, protruding nails, mangled salt-block holders, etc. If you cannot fix the problem in the moment, remove your horse until the damage has been repaired or replaced.
Before the weather gets too hot, remember to take the time to walk your pasture and give your trailer a once over too!
Don’t forget about your pets themselves! They deserve a thorough cleaning as well!
As you work to freshen up your home and move from winter to spring, don’t forget about your pup!
Purge the toy box- It’s time to sort through all your pups many, many toys! Get rid of any ripped seams, exposed squeakers, or jagged rubber edges, all of which could lead to serious injuries. If your pup is no longer interested in some of their toys, look into donating them to your local shelter! If your pup is still enjoying a favorite toy now is the perfect time to give it a good washing. Hard or rubber toys can be cleaned with hot water and mild dish soap, or even placed in the top rack of your dishwasher. Soft, stuffed toys can be run through the washing machine on a delicate cycle.
Don’t forget to clean their collars and leashes too! They are often a hotbed for muck and bacteria!
Scrub their doggie dishes- Your dog’s bowl (and mat) should be washed every day with hot water and mild dish soap. It is also a good idea to run them through the dishwasher on a separate cycle about once a week. Inspect their bowl regularly and ensure there are no new cracks or grooves that can be breeding grounds for germs such as E. coli, staph, or even parasites. Look into replacing it with a stainless steel or ceramic bowl that will be easier to clean and last much longer too!
Refresh their beds- Spring is a great time to begin the recommended weekly routine of vacuuming and shaking off the hair and dirt that quickly accumulates from our pets, and then giving bedding and blankets a good wash too! Look into using pet-friendly laundry detergent and dryer softener. When their bedding or blankets will no longer stay clean or become too frayed and damaged, consider replacing them with something that will give your pets something comfy to relax and sleep on.
Get rid of stubborn pet hair- Got a pup who sheds? (Who doesn’t?) To get rid of stubborn pet hair, dampen a pair of rubber gloves and run them over the area, allowing the hair to stick to the gloves. Rinse and repeat until all the visible fur is gone. For carpets, vacuuming is going to be your best friend. Look into pet-friendly carpet and upholstery refreshers that simply get sprinkled over the area and vacuumed up, giving the entire area a nice refresh! (Baking soda is also a good alternative to freshen up your pet’s favorite areas). If you have hardwood floors, skip the vacuum (it tends to blow the hair everywhere) and use a dry microfiber mop instead.
Spring cleaning can be tedious and time-consuming so remember that you don’t have to do it all in one day! Do what you can and take some well-earned breaks to get outside and spend some quality time with your pets! You’ll both enjoy the opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy some of the fresh spring air!