Get Pet Neat: Getting Organized in the New YearPublished January 14, 2013
January is GO Month! Get Organized Month is the professional organizing industry’s national event dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of getting organized. Getting organized is essential to your pet’s health and well-being, and an organizational strategy will help keep a pet happy and healthy. It will also help keep a pet parent sane. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to getting your pet affairs in order for the new year.
How to Store Food and Treats
After a recall last summer in which 22 people in 13 states and Canada became sick from salmonella-tainted dry dog food tied to multiple brands made by Diamond Pet Foods, many pet owners started to think about how they were handling their pet food.
While infected food contributed to their illnesses, the Center for Disease Control suggests guidelines for managing and maintaining pet food. Although you may use a storage bin, pet owners should always store their pet’s food in the closed, clipped or folded-over bag in the bin. One reason for keeping the original packaging is that it was designed to protect the food from exposure to air, light, hot temperatures and humidity which can speed up the rate of food decay. Another reason for keeping the bag is it contains the barcode, expiration date and batch code; this is important should your pet become sick or if there is a recall of your food brand.
Additionally, rinse your plastic, glass or metal container between every use and do not put new food on top of the old food to prevent possible contamination. And lastly, store your pet’s food in a cool, dry place under 80ºF.
For wet food, once a can of dog or cat food is opened, I place a brightly colored lid (making it easier to find) over it and store it in the refrigerator for no more than five days.
How to Handle Pet Medication
Many pet owners like to store their dog or cat’s medications or topical treatments in the kitchen. If you do, keep them away from the stove, sink, and any hot appliances. Constant change of temperature contributes to the breakdown process; this is true especially for tablets and capsules.
Medication that has been improperly stored can become dangerous, and so it's best to keep medication in its original container. If the color, texture or odor has changed, do not use and throw it away.
Also, keep medicines and topicals in a cool, dry, secure place which is always out of the reach of children. A prescription security cabinet is an option. Additionally, if you have multiple pets taking medication, use labeled stacking bins to store them. With flea and tick meds, store each package in a clip lock storage container.
What to do With Pet Clothing
Storing pet clothes is very similar to storing human clothes. Prior to storing clothes, make sure all pet clothes are clean. For example, it is best to store sweaters in breathable storage boxes. To make it easier to identify pet clothing, store clothes in boxes of a different color, identifying mark or with windows. With coats, I clean them and hang them up on pet hangers in the closet with my own coats. And, costumes can either be hung or laid completely flat in storage boxes, too. Furthermore, don’t store cedar blocks or balls with pet clothing as many pets are allergic.
How to Contain Cat and Dog Toys
In the beginning of the year, it is always a good idea to review your pet’s inventory of toys. Decide which toys to keep, donate or trash. Dog toys should be stored in a toy box which is easy to clean. A toy caddy can also be used to pick up toys and always serves as an immediate play box which contains a few toys each day. It can also placed in the room where they play the most. For cats, longer fishing pole toys can be stored in an umbrella stand kept in the closet and shorter ones can be stored in a larger decorative clay vase near the place that they conduct their nightly play session. Small cat toys are stored in a bin and kept in a drawer so that they are ready for use at all times.
What to do With Leashes
Leashes should always be stored near the doors in which you most exit and enter with your dog. This is extremely important because in case of an emergency, you will be able to easily locate your leash, leash up your dog and go. Leashes can be hung right behind those exit and entrance doors. If this is the route you choose to go to store your leashes, there are a variety of decorative options such as hooks or leash holders which can contribute to your home décor.
How to Manage Grooming Supplies
A mesh or plastic shower caddy is a great place to store pet shampoo and conditioner. Keep the caddy in the place where you bathe your dog (i.e. the kitchen, bathroom or mudroom). For grooming supplies such as brushes and combs, use a small tote bag like a garden bag with lots of pockets. After a grooming session, be sure to remove the hair from the brush and combs before storing. Also, store your bag in a cool dry place to preserve the condition of your equipment.
With these helpful organization tips and product suggestions, pet owners can maintain an easy pet organizational strategy for the new year.
Want to learn more ways to get "pet neat"? Come to my Twitter Party tomorrow night (1/15) at 7:00PM and use the hashtag #GETPETNEAT. You're invited to share your tips and tricks as well as ask any questions you might have about getting organized for the new year.