A 4-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Henry James Taylor.
A 4-year-old shorthair cat, Lorelai Leigh.
A 4-foot-long Red Tail boa constrictor, Homeslice.
My apartment is only 700 square feet, so with four of us living, eating, sweating, etc. all up in here, the risk for nasty runs quite high. As such, extra precaution must be taken to ensure a clean, sweet-smelling casa. Let me break it down for you.
1. Puppies Like Food, Don't They?
With any animal, you must consider what they eat and where they eat it.
A) Food Storage
Dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and most fish are simple - dry food in a plastic container is clean and usually unoffensive. If your dog or cat needs wet food (not "Mrs. Whiskerson doesn't like dry food," 'cause if you believe that, let me congratulate you on getting played by a quadriped), it's a little nasty to have in your fridge; however, a separate shelf, good quality can lids, and a box of good ol' Arm & Hammer can remedy most smells. Reptiles, amphibians, and some fish are going to eat the whole forms of other critters (circle of life, baby!), and dead things are stinky. If you oppose live feeding (I don't), don't put your Mousecicles and krill cubes next to your Ben&Jerry's - I will never eat at your home - EVER. Mini-fridges are less than $100 - hey, you bought the animal knowing it would cost you money - suck it up.
B) Food Cleanup
Do you want to eat out of the same bowl every day and never wash it? Neither does your pet. He hates it (and you, by extension). Do Fido a solid and bust out a sponge and some Dawn. I clean my guys' bowls every other day to every 3 days, but at least once a week is bare minimum. The particles left behind (gross warning) are moist from saliva and contain fat and protein, which STINK over time. SCRUB AWAY, friends.
...a jar for cookies, a hook for his leash...
...yada yada. It's his home, too, but just keep it neat and your guest will be happy to visit.
2. Cleanliness Is Next To Dogliness
Part of pet ownership is cleaning (as we discussed with bowls). Remember being a kid and asking your parent for (insert animal of choice here)? They likely told you that you would have to agree to clean up after it. Pet cleaning is multifold - environment & accessories, and your actual pet.
A) There's No Place Like Home
If you have a dog or cat, their home is likely the same as yours - 90% of their clean-up comes when you clean for yourself. HOWEVER, cats poop in a box in the corner - blunt, but true. This can kill a dinner party faster than a bad case of salmonella, so it is imperative that you clean it DAILY. That's right, you aren't off the hook here - DAILY. Take 2 minutes to essentially flush the toilet for kitty, or I pray that Mittens poops on your pillow, cause you're just rude. Dog crate? Greenworks or another pet-safe sanitizer at least weekly and wash puppy's bedding at least as often as you wash your own comforter or bedspread (we'll cover that soon). Any kind of cage or tank? Spot clean as needed; full change (except aquariums) every 1-3 weeks depending on the animal (rodents need this much more frequently than reptiles).
B) Scrub-A-Dub-Dub, Doggie In The Tub
Dogs smell, and cats are covered in their own spit. WASH THEM! Don't overdo it (doggie dandruff isn't adorable), but every 3-5 weeks for dogs and every 3-4 months for cats will suffice. Now we can cuddle.
3. Clutter Isn't Cute
As I've said before, if you don't use it daily, put it away. Pets need a LOT of stuff - brushes, sprays, leashes, toys, etc. all need homes, just like everything else in your house. Give Fido a drawer or two, a basket for toys...
Pets add so much to life, but they are SO much more enjoyable when they are clean and cleaned-up after. Give your baby an extra hug from me!
Tomorrow, we'll cover the dark, mystical places that lurk in wait - your cabinets, drawers, and closets!
Don't get scared - we'll fix it!