Dog Days of Summer Cleaning

| Mary Bays

Keeping the house clean throughout all the adventures of summer can be tough. Here are some quick tips on how to maintain a tidy space with dogs!


There’s nothing more satisfying than a clean home, but owning a dog means owning all the dirt and dander that comes with him! Vacuuming your floors once a week is only the beginning. Taking the time to thoroughly clean and organize your pet’s supplies can prevent accidents, reduce odor, save money and keep you and your dog healthier!

Dangerous Cleaning Products

Not all cleaning products are equal and many contain dangerous ingredients that can make your dog extremely sick. Read the labels on your cleaning products and follow all directions to prevent possible health issues. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, bleach, phenols, products with high chemical concentrations and some detergents can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and severe chemical burns. Store all cleaning products in cabinets that are far out of reach of your dog and follow label instructions such as keeping pets away from the treated area for the recommended time.

Safe Alternatives

Two of the best pet-friendly cleaners are found in most households - vinegar and baking soda! Vinegar contains acetic acid and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. For general cleaning, it can be mixed with water in a 50/50 blend. For a deeper clean in areas such as the kitchen, straight vinegar can be used. Vinegar works well as a de-greaser, glass cleaner, wood polish, soap scum remover and floor cleaner!

Baking Soda can also act as a general cleaner for jobs where something with abrasive qualities is more useful. Use baking soda to scrub crayon-covered walls, remove cookout grime from your grill or to clean up oil spilled in the garage. Mix it with warm water and a pinch of salt to make a paste for scrubbing. Or sprinkle dry baking soda over odor-filled carpets, let it sit 30 minutes and then vacuum it up to remove the smell!

Purify Pet Bowls

While you won’t need to purchase new bowls regularly, replace bowls that have been chewed or are too dirty to salvage. If your dog eats dry food, wash his bowls out every night after the last meal. If he eats wet or raw food, you should probably clean the food bowls after each meal. Deep clean food and water bowls every week in a 50/50 water and vinegar blend or toss them in the dishwasher if they’re dishwasher safe.

Dog Dining Area

The floors and walls around where your dog eats and drinks are bound to get a little dingy after a month of meals. While you should do a quick clean around dining areas frequently, a few times a year plan to deep clean the walls, placemat, baseboard and flooring directly around your dog’s food and water dishes.

Clean Up Your Toys

This task is fun to do with your dog’s help every few months! Flip over his toy box and dump out all your dog’s toys. Collect the toys from around the yard and house and toss those into the pile, too! Make sure your pup doesn’t sneak off to hide a favorite chewed up toy. Throw out toys that are broken, present safety hazards or that are too dirty to clean. Run rubber toys through the dishwasher and clean plush or cloth toys with warm water and pet-safe soap. If your toys are washing machine safe, throw them in the laundry for a deeper clean! Wipe out your toy box and replace the clean toys in the bin for your dog to enjoy!

Crates and Bedding

Wash plastic or metal crates with warm, soapy water. Let the crate air dry before putting back bedding. The same guideline for changing bedsheets should be followed with dog beds and blankets; wash every week! When spring cleaning, do a thorough wash and exchange any ratty blankets for new, fluffy ones.

Eliminate Expired Products

Pet medications, canned food, and treats often pile up in the back of cabinets and expire without notice. Empty or expired shampoos, conditioners, ear cleaners and flea/tick treatments can get lost in your bathroom drawers. Twice a year, go through your supplies and get rid of expired items. Make a note of medications that need to be refilled or renewed. Items that have not yet expired, but that you don’t plan to use, may be able to be donated to a local animal shelter or rescue organization.

Scrub Pet Doors

If your dog has a dog door, don’t forget to wipe this down as doors tend to collect hair and dirt quickly. Remember that your dog passes through this when he’s muddy, wet and shedding. If you know how to reassemble the door, taking it apart and thoroughly cleaning each section once a year can help to reduce odor and keep it functioning smoothly.

Clean Your Dog!

On a warm day, pull out all the stops and treat your dog to a spa day! Giving your dog a thorough bath will allow you to check him over head to toe. Brush your dog before bathing to help with shedding. Look at his eyes, ears, skin and don’t forget to clip his nails if needed. The AKC provides a helpful article about teaching your dog to accept nail trimming as a part of his grooming. A clean dog may only last a few hours, but that’s a few hours less of tracking dirt around the house!

Keep it up!

If you create a cleaning routine that incorporates weekly chores and dog related chores, keeping a clean home will be simple. Tackling a few little tasks every day is much easier than trying to clean everything all at once before you’re expecting guests. Plus, living in a clean home is much healthier for you and your dog!

Mary Bays

Mary comes to AKC Pet Insurance with an extensive background in animal care. As a lifelong animal lover, she has a passion for promoting pet health and wellness. Mary lives in Kentucky with her orange kitty, "Cat" and her dog, " Wubbi".


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