x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

How to keep a clean, pet-friendly home

Muddy prints and moulting hair? Here are tips for keeping on top of them.

Invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner designed to pick up pet hair and get into the habit of sweeping and vacuuming regularly. iStockphoto.com
Invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner designed to pick up pet hair and get into the habit of sweeping and vacuuming regularly. iStockphoto.com

Pet hair

Buy a specialist pet grooming brush and comb your pet's fur every day to remove loose hairs and limit shedding. Your pet will enjoy the massage - and you'll enjoy a cleaner home.

Protect your beds, sofas and armchairs from pet hair by draping machine-washable throws over them when your pet is around.

If you're redecorating, consider hard flooring you can easily sweep or vacuum instead of shaggy rugs or carpets, which trap hairs and are harder to keep clean.

Invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner that is designed to pick up every last strand of pet hair such as Bissell's Pet Hair Eraser Dual-Cyclonic Upright Vacuum 3920.

Keep inexpensive lint rollers (designed for removing fluff from clothing) on hand - they're perfect for picking up pet hairs from the sofa or bedding.

Alternatively, wrap sticky tape around your hand (tacky side facing out) to create a sticky glove, then rub it over the affected area to lift hair away quickly and easily.

Get into the habit of sweeping or vacuuming regularly to prevent clumps of pet hair from gathering behind doors and underneath pieces of furniture.

Muddy paw prints

If your pet has wet or muddy feet, keep it in a hard-floored area such as the kitchen so its paw prints are contained in one easy-to-clean zone.

Place a machine-washable mat at the door where your pet enters your home so that the worst of the muck doesn't get any farther. The stylish but practical Dog Gone Smart Dirty Dog doormat ($44.95 [Dh165], www.amazon.com) is made of super-absorbent material that can soak up to seven times its weight in water and mud, but dries five times faster than ordinary door mats.

Tackle paw prints as soon as possible with a damp cloth and a mild multi-surface spray cleaner. They're easier to remove while they are still wet.

Pet odours

Launder pet bedding at least once a week. Wash it separately from your other laundry items and use a scented fabric conditioner to bring a fresh aroma to your pet's bed.

Make sure that your pet gets enough exercise and has a healthy diet. Unhealthy pets can have bad breath and stomach problems that can make them extra smelly to have around.

If you have a dog, bathe it regularly to prevent dirt and accompanying odours.

Keep the room where your pet sleeps well aired.

Refresh cat litter regularly and clean the tray thoroughly every week.

If you have a young kitten or puppy who hasn't been house-trained and is prone to accidents, wash the area with an enzyme cleaner such as Nature's Miracle Stain and Odour Remover spray, ($8.54 [Dh31] for 500ml, www.amazon.com). Similar products should be available from your vet.

Even though soap and water can appear to remove all traces of a urine smell, animals have such a heightened sense of smell that they'll return to the same spot and repeat the crime if you don't neutralise the smell. Vacuum the area then sprinkle it with bicarbonate of soda and leave it to stand for at least 15 minutes. Vacuum again, then wash the area with equal parts water and white vinegar. This will help to both neutralise the odour and discourage the animal from returning to mark the place again.

Pet food

Store wet pet food in sealed containers and always cover open tins with plastic lids to prevent odours from escaping.

Keep pet food separate from your own food stores and out of the reach of children.

Instead of lightweight plastic food bowls, choose heavier ceramic or metal bowls that are more difficult for your animals to knock over while they're eating.

Protect your floor by placing food bowls on a plastic tray that is waterproof, easy to wipe and has a rimmed edge to contain spills or stray pieces of food.

Wash pet bowls and the tray every week with hot water and detergent to prevent food odours and bacteria growth, which can be dangerous to your pets as well as unpleasant for you.

Fleas and worms

If your pets are infested with fleas and worms, your home will be, too. Fleas can bite humans and transmit parasites and infections to other pets as well as to humans. Tapeworm eggs can be transmitted if an immature flea is swallowed. Fleas also make dogs and cats itchy and uncomfortable, so you should treat your pets regularly to keep them happy and your home hygienic.

When an animal has fleas, it will scratch more often than usual and might try to bite the fleas on its skin. Consult your vet if there are signs of irritation such as reddening of the skin or if there are thin patches in your pet's coat.

Don't miss a treatment or forget a dose. Mark on your calendar the days when you need to treat your pets, following advice and medication from a qualified vet.

Vacuum all rugs, carpets and soft furnishings regularly to remove any flea eggs. Pay special attention to cracks in the floor, where flea larvae and eggs can gather, and to your pet's bedding and the surrounding area.

Comb your pet's fur regularly with a fine-toothed flea comb.

If you suspect you have a flea infestation, call in a professional pest control expert to tackle the problem since your home might need to be fully treated with chemicals.