6 Dog and Cat Housekeeping Mistakes You Might Be Making

It can be tempting to slack on housekeeping when there are so many other things to do during the week. But while it may be OK to let your laundry pile up for a couple days, for instance, it’s important not to cut corners where your pets are concerned. Clean gear helps keep your pet healthy and safe, and it can also help keep your home free of pet odors. Check out the gallery below to learn more about common pet housekeeping mistakes you could be making — and how to fix them.

Don't Make These Pet Housekeeping Mistakes

Cat eating food from bowl

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You don’t wash your pet’s bowls after each meal.

Your dog or cat may have licked his bowl clean, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a thorough washing after every meal. Be sure to give your pet’s food dish a good scrub with hot water and soap after every meal and give the same treatment to his water dish daily.

Additionally, food-dispensing devices are also in need of cleaning, says Dr. Marty Becker, DVM. Clean yours once a month (or more often, if needed) in the dishwasher — just be sure there are no human dishes in there when you do, Dr. Becker says.

drinking fountain for pets

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You don’t clean your pet’s drinking fountain.

If you use a fountain to give your pet water, you should take it completely apart and clean it with dish soap monthly, Dr. Becker says. That’s because while water runs in the fountain, there’s also standing water and that can create a residue. “You’ll get kind of a pond scum in there,” he says. Once you’ve cleaned the fountain, it’s ideal to let it air dry in the sun.

Dog in a crate

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You don’t clean crates or carriers weekly.

A clean carrier or crate is more pleasant for your dog or cat, and it’s also less likely to harbor parasites or contribute to odors. Clean your pet’s crates and carriers once a week with warm, soapy water. Padded portions can be cleaned in the washing machine — just be sure to check the instructions first.

Cat litterbox

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You slack on litterbox maintenance.

Cleaning the litterbox may not be your favorite chore, but it’s a necessary one — most cats won’t use the litterbox if it’s not in pristine condition. You should scoop it out at least twice daily (more for some cats, or if several cats are using it) and add more litter as needed. Clean the actual box with baking soda or unscented soap once a week. Learn more about litterbox mistakes you might be making.

Pug on dog bed

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You don’t launder bedding weekly.

You change your own bedding, so it makes sense to wash your pet’s, too. Wash beds weekly (or as directed on the label) in the washing machine with hot water on a bulky setting. If your pet’s bed can’t go in the washing machine, vacuum it every time you vacuum the floor.

Puppy chewing toy

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You’ve never washed your pet’s toys.

Wash soft toys weekly to help keep them cleaner and hinder bacteria. Some may be able to go in the dryer; others can air-dry outdoors. Avoid the dryer if the toy has any plastic or rubber components.

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