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Tidy Tips

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How to keep your home clean, despite having pets around.
Living with pets does not necessarily mean you have to compromise on home hygiene. The following ten tips are aimed at helping you maintain a clean home with as little germs and allergens as possible.

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Living with pets does not necessarily mean you have to compromise on home hygiene. The following ten tips are aimed at helping you maintain a clean home with as little germs and allergens as possible.

1. Hair
Pet hair in the home is one thing almost all pet owners have to deal with. Most dogs and cats shed hair, some more than others and especially at certain times of the year.
The practical solution is to invest in a good vacuum cleaner. Pet owners now have a choice between several brands, specially designed to deal with pet hair, odours and allergens. Regular vacuuming is a must for people who suffer from pet allergies. Also, regular wiping of sofas and other furniture with a damp cloth will easily remove hair.

Hair solutions
•    Spray furniture with a mixture of water and fabric softener before rolling off loose hair with your hands
•    Rubber kitchen gloves easily remove pet hair from furniture
•    A damp sponge can be used to roll hair in little balls for easy removal
•    A rubber bristle push broom works well when sweeping up hair from the floor
•    Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over upholstery or carpets covered in hair to help loosen the hair before vacuuming with a pet vacuum cleaner

2. Odours
Odours can be neutralised by using one of several specially formulated pet odour neutraliser sprays, fabric freshener sprays or pet odour powders. They work well on carpets, upholstered furniture, mattresses or pet bedding. Bad odours from cat litter boxes can be eliminated by regular cleaning of litter, by using specially formulated clamping litter or cat litter deodorants, and by placing litter trays in well-ventilated areas.

3. Stains
Use any of the specially formulated pet stain carpet cleaning products, but first test your carpet or upholstery for colourfastness in a hidden corner. Treat stains as soon after the accident as possible and when rubbing the area, work from the outside of the stain in.

4. Household detergents
Use ammonia-free household cleaners as these will not encourage your pets to urinate in your home (ammonia reminds pets of the ammonia in their own urine). Cleaning products containing natural essential oils like lemon or orange usually work well. Should your pets be allowed in your kitchen, it is advisable to use an anti-bacterial detergent on your counters and basin.

5. Grooming 
Keeping your pets clean when allowing them inside will help a great deal. Regular bathing with pet shampoos and daily brushing will not only get rid of mud, leaves and other debris, but will also help to reduce shedding of loose hair.

6. Ticks and fleas

Keep your home pest free by regularly (monthly is advisable) treating your pets with tick and flea products. A spot-on or spray will keep your pets free of unwelcome passengers, but remember it might also be necessary to treat the environment.

7. Potty training
Make sure to potty train your pets at a young age. Always use positive reinforcement and never punish a puppy or kitten for having an accident. Make sure your pets have easy access to the garden (cat flaps work well for small dogs and cats) or litter trays. Provide more than one litter tray for cats and keep them clean. Seek the assistance of an animal behaviourist if your cat or dog keeps messing inside.

8. De-worming
De-worm your pets every three to four months (ask your veterinarian for advice). Internal parasites can be transmitted from pets to people.

9. Destructive behaviour
Keep your pets stimulated and entertained by providing lots of toys and spending quality time with them. Choose a breed that suits your lifestyle. Some dogs such as Border Collies or Siberian Huskies will chew your furniture if they do not get enough attention and exercise.

10. Flooring and furniture
Be practical when choosing flooring materials and furniture. Tiles are easy to keep clean and hair-free, while removable/washable furniture covers will spare you much trouble.

Text and photography: Johann Theron

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