Love your pets but not the mess? Here are some methods for dealing with the downside of pet ownership. Some involve new technology and others are from collections of more common tried and true methods.
What constitutes a pet mess to one may not bother another but the number one pet “no no” messes are of course poop, urine, and vomit. Even the fish have “to go” and of course they do so in the tank. Hopefully rarely, but sooner or later your dog or cat will throw up somewhere in the house. My dog accidentally drank hydrogen peroxide once and threw up profusely. Fortunately,I caught this in time so that he didn’t drink enough to damage the stomach lining.(I learned from the poison hotline that hydrogen peroxide is actually used in antidotes for poisoning but in amounts controlled by weight.)
How to Clean Dog Messes
The number one mess that dogs make are going potty in the house. Most dogs will be easily trained as puppies but it does take some time and patience. Just as a child, there will be accidents on and off before training is fully established. Older dogs that were once well-trained will have accidents in their declining years. If you have a new puppy be prepared to do some cleaning of doggy poops and pees. The following products and methods can help.
Tried and True Testimonials
- Blessed is the pet owner with all wood or tile flooring. If you happen to be purchasing a home or remodeling- eliminating carpet will eliminate a lot of pet elimination problems for you.(loaded sentence, isn’t it?)
- Use puppy training pads or newspaper to catch a lot of the mess.
- If the poop is not diarrhea use a disposable plastic glove or a plastic grocery bag to pick it up. If you wait until the poop cools to room temperature it will be more solid, but don’t wait longer than 15 minutes.
- For diarrhea, soak up with heavy duty paper towels and try cleaning with a mixture of warm water and a good enzyme based laundry detergent.
- I always found urine hardest to manage. Probably because the molecules in a liquid are moving, causing the mess to spread to deep dark crevices. It is important to get the urine out as completely as possible because the puppy that is training or other animals that come for a visit will be tempted to urinate on the same spot. Dilute the urine with water or club soda. Use a wet/dry vacuum or heavy toweling to blot. Place heavy books on top of the toweling to absorb. This may take several hours.
- Try covering accidents with baking soda. Let dry for two hours then vacuum.
- Once your dog is trained keep poop picked up off the lawn with paper bags and a good pooper scooper. The paper bag is greener because it is de composible.
- For cleaning vomit pick up solid pieces with a disposable glove or plastic bag. Pour on club soda and then blot with heavy toweling. Sprinkle baking soda on the area and vacuum.
- Use this “pee recipe”: One cup hydrogen peroxide, 2 tsps baking soda, and a few drops of dish detergent.
- Most carpet cleaning companies have special pet odor removers. This can get expensive so use only when things get out of control.
New Technology For Cleaning Dog Messes
- Bissell has an all-in-one pet stain tool that is endorsed by Pet Adviser Products. They claim that deep lasting odor can be eliminated by using 3 easy steps. Definitely less chance of germs on hands- there is a tool for scooping up, a sprayer for spraying the special solution and a scrubber for scrubbing away the stain. A free trial sample of the recommended cleaning solution is included with the first purchase.
- Poop Off is a spray cleaner that uses natural enzymes to eliminate both stain and odor. Use on carpeting, bedding, furniture. You can also use it in bird cages.
- Zero Odor is a spray-on product that guarantees odor elimination totally and is used often to remove any and all pet odors. Based on a breakthrough in molecular chemistry, it has earned 7 patents for unmatched effectiveness. The name zero odor is descriptive of the fact that it also leaves no odor of itself behind. I have used this product and can personally endorse it as being satisfactory in pet odor elimination
- For Outdoor poop clean-up Doggy Dooley Leach System uses enzyme and bacterial action to turn the poop into a liquid that is safely absorbed into the ground. Just put in the poop, add water and digester and reduce poop to an eco-friendly substance. This product has a 5 and 3/4 star overall rating.
How to Clean Cat Messes
Cats are by far the neatest pets. They are easily trained to use a litter box. It almost seems to come natural to them. They hate dirty litter boxes. If you keep a clean litter box your cat will reward you with good potty habits. I once had a cat that religiously used the bathtub if I left her with a dirty litter box. In the proper setting, many cats will go out to potty if you provide a safe place to go in and out of the house. This is usually best accomplished in more rural settings. Many cats that belong to owners in apartments and condos never go outdoors. De clawing is an option many of these cat owners choose. A great cat litter system is very important in these cases.
The spraying of urine is a common problem for some cats, both male and female. It often occurs in cats that are not spayed or neutered because of sexual excitement from a passing cat. Be sure to have your cat spayed or neutered to avoid this and other problems, namely unwanted kittens. Cats will sometimes spray due to emotional upsets such as moving or a new person or pet in the household.
Other clean-up problems for cats include vomiting and coughing up hairballs.
Tried and True Testimonials
- Use one part white vinegar to one part water to the area after blotting with toweling or use a wet/dry vac. After the area is dry sprinkle with baking soda. Then mix a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of dish washing liquid. Work this solution into carpet or fabric using an old toothbrush. Allow to dry and use a hard bristled brush to loose the dried substance, then vacuum.
- Use the same clean-up method as dogs for vomit or poop.
- For those nasty coughed up hairballs pick them up as soon as possible with a paper towel so that the cat’s digestive juices don’t soak into the carpet. Flushing these down the toilet is preferable to putting them in the trash due to odor. They won’t stop up the toilet unless you have a panther-sized cat.
- Adding a box of baking soda to any cat litter, no matter how cheap or expensive, can lengthen the life of your cat litter.
- Be sure to have a strainer-type cat pooper scooper on hand to make your cat litter box clean up easier.
- Use a laundry detergent containing enzymes to wipe cat urine from any surface.
- Try to diagnose and eliminate emotional problems in your neutered or spayed cat that sprays. Talk to a Veterinarian about the problem if possible.
New Technology for Cleaning Cat Messes
- Feliway is the legendary pheromone which works on a cat’s sense of smell. When it is applied to the areas marked or its dispersed into the air it will calm your cat and reduce his urge to pee “in a naughty place.” It is available in spray form or electrical outlet plug in form, like the air fresheners.
- The Breeze Cat Litter System works with a unique design that keeps poops and pees separate. The system has a bottom tray for pee. Change the pad in the bottom tray and scoop the poop from the top.High sides eliminate spillage.
- Cat Genie is a high tech self cleaning and flushing cat litter system. When your cat pees the liquid drains away from the granules so that only the waste gets flushed. For solid waste, the GenieHand jumps into action by scooping it out, where it is then turned to liquid for easy removal. Fresh water then fills the basin and the GenieHand scours both box and granules clean. A hot air blower then dries the entire box. The sound is not any louder than a regular hot towel warmer for the bathroom. Cat Genie hooks up to your bathroom or laundry room water supply with a T adapter. An amazing high tech advancement in cat litter systems; very green as you never have to dispose of and replace cat litter, only replace the filter cartridge (smaller than a soda cap) after 120 washings.
Cleaning Fish Tanks
Fish poop. The poop needs to be able to pass through the fish tank filter for removal. This may require methods to stir up the sand in the bottom of the tank where the poop gathers. Use an air stone or power head to stir the sand and stimulate the removal of waste. A turkey baster can help in a pinch but the best way to remove fish poop is by having a good filter system.
If you like white sand in your fish tank you may want to rethink and add some black sand. A few pieces of fish poop may drive some OCD people nuts in all white sand. The black sand will help camouflage fewer poops. Unlike people fish can deal with a few turds swimming around their “atmosphere” as long as the water doesn’t get too dirty. Replace about 15 percent of the water in your tank weekly by siphoning out the water and replacing with treated water.
Snails can help keep your aquarium clean, but they poop too, so keep that filter going!
Cleaning Bird Cages
Birds are such cool pets. Take care in selecting them as pets though. Some birds have life spans equal to humans. They may actually out live you! Plan accordingly.
Bird cages can be messy. Like all the other critters, they poop and pee. Those nasty white and gray droppings that you see on your car window are the same as the ones in your bird cage, just minus the purple mulberry droppings.
As with fish tanks, the larger the cage the less the mess appears to be. Choose a cage with a removable bottom grille and pull-out drawer for easier cleaning.Use a cage liner and change often. Plexiglas can be attached to the sides of larger cages for catching seed spillage. Use a plastic runner under larger cages to catch seed hulls that spill out.
The following video from About.com shows an easy and efficient bird cage clean-up routine.
Problems with Pet Hair and Removal
One of the best ways I have found to reduce the amount of animal hair around the house is by keeping the animals groomed. Brushes and clipper tools are available to help with this.
Lint rollers, damp sponges and fabric dryer sheets can help remove dog and cat hair from furniture and clothing. Regular vacuuming will help reduce pet hair and dander. Many people are allergic to pet dander, not actually to pet hair itself. Use a vacuum cleaner filter designed to remove allergens . H/AC system filters are available that do the same.