How to Speed Clean Without Provoking Your Pet
Need to do some pre-Thanksgiving speed cleaning with a pet who mistakes your broom for a bone? Here's how to keep him calm around six common cleaning tools. Having a pet that mistakes what's in your cleaning closet for his personal playthings (or mortal enemies) can make for a dirty house.
But when you're hosting a holiday get together and company's coming, having a less-than-tidy abode is not an option. Thankfully, making your place spic and span doesn't have to stress you (or your pet!) out. Here's how to keep him calm around six common cleaning tools.
If your dog chases, bites, or barks at the vacuum as soon as you take it out of the closet, exercise her before you clean the carpet. "Take your dog for long walk so she's tired out," says Kristen Levine, Bissell Homecare's Pet Lifestyle Expert. "Fatigue will win out over fear and the desire to play."
If the noise and motion have your pet feeling seriously frightened, put the TV or music on at a high volume to mask the sound, or encourage your dog to retreat to a safe space. "If it becomes a severe problem and you're not able to desensitize or distract your pet, you should talk to your vet.
If it's a severe case they may suggest medication or an herbal remedy," says Levine. In the meantime, don't try to calm your pet my babying her. It may actually reinforce her fearful behavior.
2. Spray Bottles
If your scaredy cat (or dog) scurries away at the slightest spritz, be sure to leave a door open before you start cleaning, so your pet doesn't feel trapped. "A lot of training techniques use a spray in their face to correct bad behavior," says Charlotte Reed, pet care and lifestyle expert and author of Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette.
"Pets can have the same negative reaction when the bottle comes out to clean." In general, it's a good idea to associate positive things with cleaning time. Give your pet a few treats before and after to encourage good behavior. Levine also recommends steering clear of strongly scented or fragrant cleaning products. "What we think smells good might be really stressful to our animals," she adds.
3. Bucket and Sponge
Round and round swishes the sponge on the floor, and without fail your dog's nose goes round and round too. Why? The sponge you're dipping into that sudsy bucket holds scent. Add a little wax-on-wax-off action and you've completed captivated your curious animal. "If you're pet has been lying around all day, it's like, "Yeehaw, we're going to play the bucket sponge game!" says Levine.
Give your pet a complicated toy, like the Everlasting Treat Ball, to keep her entertained while you're washing the floor or walls. "If you have a dog that loves to take things away, play fetch with him before you clean to deter him from stealing the sponge," says Reed.
Can you blame Bella for mistaking the broom for a totally cool toy? It's an extra-large, wooden stick complete with crunchy bristles and a neat swooshing sound-effect. To avoid accidentally sweeping hair and dirt onto your playful pet, train her to go to a special place. "Just like you can teach your pet to come, you can teach your pet to go away, go lay down, or go to her bed," says Reed. "This way she learns that when you're doing this one task, she should be in on particular spot and when he stays she'll be rewarded."
it's no wonder your cat is intrigued by (and slightly jealous of) the part fluffy, part furry, part fantastic furniture duster. It dances across your living room set, sending tiny particles into the stream of sunlight, which gives her something simply stunning to chase after. And while this dust-remover is definitely not a toy, it sure looks like one to a cat who has a slew of feather-laden goodies in the corner.
To cut down on incidents of stalking, opt for a micro fiber cleaning cloth instead. "If your cat doesn't play with the duster while you clean she might later on, so keep it tucked in a closet or cabinet so it's not a risk," suggests Levine.
6. Toilet Wand
It might come as a shock to your pup that something besides his tongue is meant for swishing around in the toilet bowl. And while the smell and dampness are things to note, she's most likely into the fact that you're operating it. "Pets want attention and sometimes negative attention is better than no attention," says Levine.
Try classic distraction techniques, like giving him a new bone or toy, or stationing your pet in another room while you clean in the bathroom. And remember, not every activity in your home is conducive to a pet. "Sometimes you just have to confine them when you're doing things," says Reed. "It's always good to have a crate, a pen, or gates for that reason."