We are now smack in the middle of Spring Cleaning Week (March 2-8) – that is, if you live in the United Kingdom. Here in Singapore, with our humid weather creating agreeable conditions for mould, I daresay our lives are generally Spring Cleaning Days (at least for our domestic helpers), and especially if you live with pets.
There’s the saying: Your pet is only a part of your life, but to it, you are everything. Indeed, you are its best friend, personal shopper, property agent, hygiene keeper and housekeeper all rolled into one – and you don’t mind. Our beloved pooches bring us much joy and companionship, and in return, we want the best for them. So let’s examine how we can better discharge our duties to our canine masters, by taking a look at tips shared by British luxury dog bed and blanket company Charley Chau on how to maintain a royal (and clean) lifestyle for four-legged princes and princesses.
A grooming schedule is non-negotiable – whether with a professional groomer or DIY. Take into account its breed, and maintain a regime best suited to its needs. Use flea and deworming treatments when necessary. Beyond looking good, a well-trimmed dog without muddy paws or matted fur is also essential for health and hygiene reasons. Make sure the collar is cleaned well too, as it traps dirt. For fabric collars, try washing it with a bit of dog shampoo, carefully rubbing the insides together to remove any dirt, then let it dry naturally. For leather collars, wipe it with a lightly damp cloth.
Photos: Charley Chau
Comfort is the No. 1 consideration here, which includes a bed’s size and shape. Pick one that is ideally 25 per cent bigger than your pet’s measurements when standing, from the tip of their nose to base of tail, and from top of skull to the floor, so they have enough space to curl up or stretch out. As for the shape, observe your dog when it’s asleep – a sprawler will probably appreciate a flat mattress bed, while a “curler-upper” will likely appreciate an oval bed. Older dogs may require an orthopaedic mattress to provide support for stiff joints. Some breeds may feel the cold easily or like burrowing, in which case a bed with a stitched-in blanket top will definitely gain their favour. Take note that a dog sleeps for 12 to 14 hours a day – so if the bed looks worn out, an upgrade is probably nigh.
Quality is also of importance, as a cheap bed is likely to become lumpy after a wash. Some beds may come in fancy fabric, but are made with cheap inner materials. Therefore, always read up on your potential purchases and note the bed’s design, filling, and fabric quality. Ideally, pick one with machine-washable outer covers and mattress inners and, depending on your pet’s habits, a wash at least once a week is recommended. To air the mattress, simply take off the covers and hang it up somewhere warm and dry.
Blankets are also essential, for when your pet wants to snuggle up with you, in your car, on your sofa or on your bed. The coverings will catch shed fur, or any muckiness, keeping your surfaces clean. Opt for one in moisture-wicking material; if you go with fleece, make sure you choose anti-pill, so that they don’t become knobbly after a wash.
Pet fur goes everywhere, so it’s wise to invest in a vacuum made specifically to clean up after pets, which usually has extra strong suction and brush action, and more robust filters. Brands such as Dyson and Shark are popular choices. A lint-roller helps as well. Invest in a good fabric spray to freshen up pet beds and blankets between washes; Kennel Spray from Australian botanical brand Bondi Wash includes anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and insect-repellent properties along with ingredients to relax and soothe.
It’s easy to overlook toys, but it’s good to make a habit of checking them, and toss out those that are worn out. Make time to clean them (wash them if possible). Pets have their preferences, so if there are toys that have been barely touched, donate them to an animal charity to benefit others. After cleaning your pet’s toy collection, you might want to store them in a stylish basket to match your interiors. Wet wipes, towels and other pet products – a cleaning kit, so to speak – can be placed in the same spot for easy access.
Perhaps your pet has just come in from a walk and was caught in a passing shower; if the eau de dog is strong, why not light up a scented candle to neutralise the stink? We might not have the time to immediately bathe it, and smells can get amplified in our hot weather. Similarly, reed diffusers can help add a sustained and pleasing scent to your dog-dwelling home.
Charley Chau can be reached at email@example.com.