Archive for March 29, 2010

Baby Florida Soft Shell Turtles Saved!

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We found these precious little guys in the middle of the road and later released them in a safe location.

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Tips for a Clean Healthy Home with Furry Pets

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It can be hard to keep a furry pet filled home smelling pet-free and fresh, so here are a few tips to help our pet lovers keep their homes clean and crisp.

  1. Cleaner pets make for a cleaner home, so bathe, brush, and groom pets regularly to reduce dander, stray hairs, and odor.  Use a deodorizing shampoo monthly and clean your pet thoroughly.  Always be careful not to get water in eyes and ears.  Brush your pet regularly in a place that’s easy to clean like a bath tub or outside and use a de-shedding brush to help remove undercoats when needed.
  2. It is also very important to clean your dog’s teeth both for the health of your pet and to prevent bad breath odor.  This should be done daily, but honestly how many of us actually do this?  In a pinch, give your dog a chew treat that will also freshen breath and clean teeth.  Dental wipes can also make dental care easier especially for dogs that resist brushing.
  3. Make sure your pet is protected with the proper medication.  Your pet doesn’t want fleas, ticks, or any other parasite on its body, and you certainly don’t want them in your home.
  4. Spay or neuter your pets.  This will not only prevent your pet from having “oops” litters, but it also prevents some cancers, the desire for some pets to mark their territory (including furniture), roam, or exert dominance, and hormonal changes in females.
  5. Vacuum and dust regularly.  Make sure you have a vacuum with attachments that can get in the corners and edges where fur and dust tends to accumulate.  Also, look for attachments that have soft nylon brush that won’t scratch furniture; these attachments are great for dusting.  Dyson makes excellent vacuums that don’t stir up as much dust and dirt as other vacuums and have great accessories for homes with pets.  I’ve also owned Bissell vacuums that work great with pets and are more affordable.  Roombas are also great to use in between regular vacuuming if you have a cat or light shedding dog.  It’s excellent at collecting stray hairs and dust and cleaning under beds, tables, chairs and around furniture where it’s harder to clean with a regular vacuum.
  6. Trim your dog’s nails regularly and make sure your cat has adequate scratching posts.  I always use a Dremel to trim my dog’s nails instead of clips, because clips can split nails and leave sharp edges which can damage furniture.  If possible trim your dog’s nails outside or in an area easy to clean.  For your own safety, wear a mask while trimming so you don’t breathing in the dust from nails.
  7. Clean your pet’s bed once a week and make sure you have a bed that has a removable cover that’s machine washable.  In between washings, use a lint roller or brush to clean up stray hairs and spray with deodorizer if necessary.   I also recommend having a “spare” pet bed, so you always have a clean bed available just in case of an accident.
  8. Feed your pet in an area that is easy to clean like a tile floor or screened in deck or patio.  This will help eliminate crumbles and debris in your home.  Also, use a mat under your pet dishes to avoid rings on your floors.  After your pet is done eating, clean up the area with a damp cloth.
  9. Lightly mist pet food dishes with vegetable oil to make them easier to clean.
  10. After bathing your pet, clean the sink, tub, or shower as soon as possible with a clean cloth dampened with water and white vinegar.  It is easier to pick up wet pet hair rather than trying to clean up after the hair begins to dry and cling to the sides and floor.   Also, train your pet to “shake” several times before taking them out of the tub, shower, or sink.  This should be easy to do, because they will do it naturally.  It also gives pets a chance to earn a treat and enjoy their bath!
  11. Steam vacuum high traffic carpets monthly (more or less depending on your family).  If you have multiple pets or children (or a messy spouse), it’s definitely worth buying your own steam vacuum, especially for those unexpected accidents.  Bissell has several steam vacuums that work great and are sold at a very reasonable price.  You can also rent a “Rug Doctor” at most hardware stores and in some grocery stores, or you can always call the professionals to steam vacuum for you.  You will be amazed at how much filth and dust is pulled out of your rug and how much newer and cleaner your carpet looks!
  12. For accident spots on carpet, soak up or pick up as much as the mess as possible with a cloth then use a damp cloth to lightly blot the area starting at the outside of the stain and work your way to the middle.  Do not saturate the area; this will only push the stain down further into the padding.  Then clean the area again with clean cloth damped with a solution made of 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and one quart of water.  If the stain or odor persists, follow up with baking soda and scrub it into the stain with a nylon brush.  For older stains or repeated stains in the same area, you may need an enzyme cleaner.  Many pet spot cleaning products can also be helpful, but be careful when using them.  Many of these products can bleach your carpet and can even cause repeat offenses with some pets.  (Watch for products that contain Hydrogen Peroxide! These products can definitely bleach your rugs).  Always test any product for colorfastness by applying it to a hidden area of the carpet first.   Once you find a product that works well in your home, stick with it!  I personally recommend Spot Shot (it also got the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval!), but your results may vary depending on your carpet.   I also recommend steam vacuuming over the stained area after removing as much of the spot as possible.  This will help remove any remaining debris and cleaning solution and will also help prevent the odor and stain from resurfacing.
  13. Keep pets in a limited area of your home.  Never let pets into guest rooms in case you ever have a guest who has allergies or sensitivity to your pet.
  14. Train your pets to stay off furniture.  If you do let pets on your couches, use slip covers.
  15. Do not give your pet fatty foods (like a bone)!… Not only is this very unhealthy for your pet, but it will also in all likelihood result in a mess.
  16. Dust baseboard and blinds regularly with an electrostatic duster and clean them with a vinegar solution a few times a year.  For marks and build-up, use a moist Magic Eraser.  Baseboards that have accumulated dust and filth make your home look older, so thoroughly cleaning them can give your home a quick rejuvenation.
  17. Polish furniture once a week to protect it and prevent dust and hair from accumulating on surfaces.
  18. Dust curtains and drapes regularly and have them professionally cleaned once a year.  Use a lint roller to get rid of stray hairs and lightly mist curtains and drapes with a fabric refresher if necessary.  The best way to dust curtains and drapes is to shake them out thoroughly outside.
  19. Odors and messes outside tend to find their way inside, so you still have to pick up after your pets even if their messes are in your yard!
  20. To keep pet toys, collars, and harnesses smelling fresh, collect them in a plastic bag and place a dryer sheet into the bag and lightly sprinkle baking soda inside and shake.  Wait an hour, then shake out the toys outside and wipe clean with a clean damp cloth.  Replace pets toys when they are worn out, torn, or too dirty to be cleaned with a damp cloth.  Old worn out or torn toys can be dangerous for your pet, so don’t feel bad about throwing them out.  You’d feel worse if something happened to your pet, because you didn’t get rid of them!
  21. Replace air filters every three months.  Dirt and air pollutants can damage your health and your pet’s health.
  22. Store pet food in an air tight container that cannot be chewed through by animals like mice, rats, squirrels, etc.  Pet food can attract wild animals, so make sure you store your pets food properly and clean up after your pets eat.  Never leave pet food outside for extended periods of time, because this will attract stray animals.
  23. When cleaning chairs and sofas, don’t forget to vacuum under the cushions and in crevices and remember to dust the top, sides, and back.  If you have leather furniture, clean and condition it monthly.  If you have upholstered furniture, use a lint brush to collect stray hairs in between vacuuming.
  24. Buy several non-toxic pet-safe house plants, like spider plants.  These plants help remove toxins including formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide in homes.
  25. Open windows whenever possible to let fresh air in and odor out.   If dust and air quality are issues in your home, you may want to consider investing in an air purifier.
  26. To make litter boxes easier to clean, lightly coat them in vegetable oil.  Then dust the litter box with baking soda to keep it fresh.  Bacteria can grow in litter boxes so make sure you wash your litter boxes regularly with soapy water.  Don’t use bleach or ammonia to clean your litter box.  Using those chemicals can result in an unpleasant smell and may cause your pet to take its business elsewhere.
  27. Always use fabric sheets in the dryer that help repel hair and lint while also freshening fabric.  You don’t want every one that sees you to know you have furry pets just because you have pet hair all over your clothing!  (I also like to carry a travel size lint roller just in case).
  28. To keep cats off an area, like a windowsill, spray the area with a vinegar solution.
  29. Clean glass with ½ vinegar and ½ water solution and wipe dry with newspapers.  It’s cheap, works great, and is safe for you and your pet.
  30. For hard surfaces use a damp cloth to clean up along the wall and in corners.  Mops tend to miss these areas.
  31. Only use products that are safe for you and your pet!

Have your own tips?  Please share!!!  I will be updating this list regularly.

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10 Quick Fixes for Homes with Furry Pets

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  1. Lightly dust carpet with a scented carpet de-odorizing powder after putting your pets in a different area of your home or in a crate.  Wait 10-15 and then vacuum thoroughly and don’t skip the corners and edges!  Carpet powders not only make your carpet smell fresh, but they also freshens the air as you vacuum.
  2. In the 10-15 minutes it takes for the carpet powder to deodorize, dust furniture, baseboards, windowsills, and electronics with an electrostatic duster.  Get an electrostatic duster that is extendable, so you can reach light fixtures and along the ceiling and corners.  They work great for quick clean ups!
  3. Put the pet bed away or switch it with a clean “spare” bed.  Odor tends to linger in beds, so the smell can still remain even after spraying with a deodorizer.  You can also put a dryer sheet under the pet bed to freshen the area.  Odors can also linger on pet toys, so collect them in a plastic bag and put them away too.
  4. Clean litter boxes and crates.  Empty litter boxes into a plastic bag and tie it tight so odor can’t escape.  Vacuum around the area and spray with a deodorizer if necessary.
  5. Mist your pet with a pet deodorizer or wipe it down with a pet deodorizing wipe.  Before misting or wiping down your pet I recommend brushing it outside or in an area that can quickly be cleaned to get rid of stray hairs and debris.
  6. Put a Filter Fresh Pad on your furnace filter and run your system.  This is a quick way to freshen the air in your home!  If this is not an option, open a few windows and get some fresh air in your home.
  7. Quickly clean your wood furniture with furniture polish and a microfiber cloth or furniture polish wipes to make your furniture gleam!
  8. Use a lint brush to clean upholstery.  If you have leather furniture, wipe it clean with leather cleaning wipes.
  9. Spot clean hard floors with a damp microfiber cloth instead of mopping, which can move dirt around and leave your floors wet when your guest arrives.  Make sure you clean against walls and in corners.
  10. Give your furry friend a treat that freshens breath to prevent your guest from being greeted by a pet with stinky breath!

Have your own tips?  Please share!!!

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