Benefits of Adopting a Specially-abled Dog

Benefits of Adopting a Specially-abled Dog

 

Did you know: May 3rd is National Specially-abled Pets Day (formerly Disabled Pets Day)? Now here’s a holiday we can get behind! Specially-abled Pets Day celebrates these amazing and heroic animals, helps to educate the public about caring for disabled pets and finds homes for orphaned, specially-abled pets. Founded in 2006 and internationally embraced, the decision was made to change the original name when founder Colleen Paige felt that it just didn’t fit. “The name held too negative a connotation… because these pets are very able! Pets that become challenged due to disease, birth flaws or injuries, tend to develop greater senses than your average pet. Most of the time it’s as if they never had to readjust to life… and we need to keep up with them!” Celebrated on May 3rd annually, National Specially-abled Pets Day encourages adoption always and hopes that people who would like to bring a new furry family member home will consider a specially-abled pet.

 

A PetFinder poll found special needs pets are the third-hardest animals to place, behind senior pets and bully breeds. Many of these “less adoptable” pets spend up to two years waiting for a forever home, more than four times the average wait. This is just part of why we always condone adoption over buying here at Dog for Dog, and today we’d like to talk about the advantages and key points of adopting a specially-abled dog. This is, of course, beyond the very obvious point that choosing to adopt a dog with special needs in many cases means saving the life of that dog or at the very least (if they’re coming from rescue), means that you’re taking on an amazing task that few would even consider facing. Special needs can encompass various disabilities, chronic medical conditions and behavioral issues. Some common problems among cats and dogs include missing one or more limbs, hind limb paralysis, deafness and or blindness, diabetes, allergies, urinary tract infections and lack of socialization. Some pets might require diapers, ramps, support slings, regular medication, and dog training and/or pet socialization classes.

 

One set of limited skills can bring out a whole new set of advantages. Pamela Nakamura wasn’t necessarily looking to adopt a special needs pet when she came across a beautiful yellow Lab named Max two years ago. “I knew from his photo that he was missing an eye,” says Pamela. “I didn’t want him to get passed by and I really wanted to give him a good home.” While Max is a little clumsier than your average dog (he has a tendency to bump into fences and walls) he has surprising mouth-eye coordination that makes him excellent at playing fetch, says Pamela. Learning to walk him was a little awkward in the beginning. However, she quickly learned if she keeps him on her right side that she’s within his eyesight and he feels safe and content. Overall, the past two years with Max has been really positive and Pamela says she wouldn’t hesitate adopting a special needs pet again.

 

Consider the commitment. Rochelle Michalek, the executive director of Paws Chicago, a no-kill shelter that rescues and adopts out injured and healthy pets in the Windy City, says that “Animals with disabilities are incredibly adaptable and despite their injuries can still be functional and even find a way to play. We put animals in homes where there is a commitment to succeed. People who adopt disabled pets ought to be of the proactive set. The environment at home has got to meet the needs of the pet and owners have to be committed to providing exercise, stimulation and training when necessary. Paw’s philosophy is one of education. We really talk about the cost of medical care so people in tricky financial situations know what they are taking on.” Her rescue also offers foster-to-adopt setups, where potential adopters can take their new bud home for a few weeks to make sure the new situation is one that works for both the pup and their human counterpart.

Stay open minded. In “The Power of Three Legs,” co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society Faith Maloney says that nowadays disabled animals are often the first to be adopted at the shelter. “It wasn’t long ago that any animal coming into a shelter with a defect – be it three legs or one eye – was considered unadoptable and automatically destroyed,” says Maloney. “But just as there are trends for certain breeds of pets, the trend now in adoptions is toward animals that come with publicity attached or with readily apparent war wounds.” This isn’t necessary a good thing – with the rise of so many “animal celebrities,” shelters are often overwhelmed with adoption requests for a few pets at the expense of many others. While this publicity can be a boon for the pet in question, there’s only one available for adoption; many potential adopters will leave empty-handed without considering other animals.

Blindness in a pet doesn’t mean you’ll have to hawkeye them 24/7. Actually, blind cats and dogs are no different than other animals! A blind pet doesn’t know what blindness is or that he or she has it, so they act like a regular dog or cat. “Blind cats can do pretty much everything that a seeing cat can do,” says Blind Cat Rescue, a permanent housing sanctuary in North Carolina. “They can climb trees, climb up on top of cabinets and get into places that you cannot figure out how they did it.” When caring for a blind pet, it’s important to maintain a consistent household. This means keeping food and water bowls, litter boxes and furniture in the same spots; blind pets navigate using their other senses, so moving things can confuse them. Dog trainer Cesar Millan recommends blocking off dangerous areas like stairs or pools with a baby gate, and laying down carpet runners or creating a “sniff path” of air fresheners on your pet’s regular route.

Deaf dogs are still totally trainable. Many animal shelters initially can’t tell if a pet is deaf; they look and act just like a regular pup – because they are. While many deaf dogs are easily started even by the lightest touch, with regular training they can be desensitized. “Deaf dog owners do take special measures to alert the dog to their presence before walking up to, or touching the dog,” says the Deaf Dog Education and Action Fund. A vibrating or “vibe” collar is used to train deaf dogs in a way similar to clicker training. Because dogs rely more on visual cues and body language than spoken words – they don’t understand English, after all – training a deaf dog is no more difficult than with a regular pup. One pet parent even made news for teaching her deaf Great Dane American Sign Language and many trainers teach their hearing dogs ASL commands as well.

Tripawds have an extra zest for life, in case you didn’t already know! While it’s true an animal amputee won’t be winning any races, the majority of dogs and cats get along just fine on three legs. Many report their three-legged pets are particularly spunky. Tripawds, a community for pet parents of three-legged animals, encourages strengthening your dog’s abdominal core muscles to compensate for missing limbs, rather than excessive walks or runs. Many tripawd dogs wear a special harness that allows for easy maneuvering of stairs and cars, while others can provide extra support. The location of the missing limb can make initial recovery difficult for some pets. “The front leg accounts for approximately 70 percent of the dog’s strength and balance,” says Seattle pet hydrotherapist Sheila Wells. “That is why front-leg amputees often have a more difficult time adjusting to their new state. The rear can follow but the front has to lead.” In any case, there’s no need for a long face when you spot a three-legged doggie!

Inspired and obsessed yet? Check out these six heroic special needs animals and check out the official website of NSAPD for a list of blogs all about special needs animals. In the comments below, tell us about your special needs pet or a favorite one you’ve met!

Here’s a video of our friend @underbiteunite on Instagram

“All too often I think Specially-abled Pets are overlooked because people are worried it will cost too much money to care for them or that it’ll just take too much work. That is not the case. Most animals, especially those that are blind in one eye or missing a leg, do just as well as if they had no issues at all. Dogs in wheelchairs can run around chasing balls, playing with other dogs and romping through water. Even totally blind animals can chase toys by sniffing them out. Animals are so resilient. They just need a chance to show us what courageous little heroes they are!” – Colleen Paige

High Tech Pet Products

High Tech Pet Products

If you consider yourself to be pretty tech savvy, often picking up the latest gizmos and gadgets created in order to make your life easier, it’s probably spilled over into your pet-parent life. And why shouldn’t it? There are a lot of great, high tech items on the market for the dogs and cats in your life that not only make their lives more interesting and fun, but can also make your day-to-day with them easier. We decided to deep-dive into the world of high tech pet products to uncover the best of what’s available now and share our findings with you. We hope that whether you’re already an avid user of tech items or a newbie to the tech game, you’ll enjoy reading about what’s available for you and your furry friends!

 


TRACKING

Tagg Pet Tracker: The Tagg pet tracker is a GPS attachment for your pet’s collar that serves two functions. First, it tracks your pet in case he or she ever gets lost. The app will send you a text message or email if your pet travels beyond its designated boundaries, then lead you directly to the animal’s location. Second, it tracks the animals activity like a canine Fitbit or Fuelband, so you can make sure Fido is getting enough exercise. The device costs $99.95, and the service costs $7.95 per month after a three-month free trial.

Pet’s Eye View Camera: Strap a camera to your pet’s collar and see what they are up to! You can set the camera to snap photos in intervals of one, five or 15 minutes. The device, which costs $40, stores 40 photos and comes with a USB cable to upload them onto your computer.

Motorola Scout 5000: This $200 device has a GoPro-like video camera built into its GPS location tracking device. Connect to a live stream of the camera anytime on your phone and – even better – a speaker lets you talk to your pup, too! There’s also a bark detection feature that notifies you when your dog is being too loud.

Trackimo: A very small GPS location device designed for both pets and humans. It costs $100 for the hardware and a 12-month mobile connection plan. You’ll also get international GPS tracking for no extra charge. Depending on use, Trackimo lasts two to three days on a single charge and comes in a waterproof silicone case. One single “SOS” button will broadcast the wearer’s location via app, email, or text.

Whistle Activity Monitor ($99): This little device snaps onto a harness or collar and communicates with the Whistle app for iOS. The device connects to WiFi, so you can see your dog’s activity in real time. Whistle also compares your dog’s activity to similar dogs, so you can keep him or her healthy. The data is sent from the Whistle over WiFi to the connected phone. While you’re away at work or on vacation, you can check in to see how your pup is doing.

Pet Chatz: Pet Chatz lets you have a video conference with your pooch, just by using your smartphone connected to their video monitor display. This makes it so you can check in on them from time to time while you are at work, or otherwise out of the house. You can even give them treats using the device, so your dog knows you’re still thinking of them. Pretty sweet!

EXERCISE

Go-Go Dog Pals: Dogs need exercise to stay healthy, just like humans. The Go-Go Dog Pal is a remote-controlled device made to look like a small critter. According to the product’s website, the remote control works at long range, and the device is capable of speeds surpassing 20 mph. Unless your dog has no interest in chasing it, in which case it just turns into a fun toy for you. Cost is $229.99.

Go Dog Go Fetch Machine: This automatic fetch machine will save some wear and tear on your arm. It launches balls more than 40 ft. You can fill the bucket with one ball or launch several in succession depending on how your dog likes to play. $139.99.

Dart Automatic Laser Toy: There are few forms of entertainment more pristine than watching a cat chase a laser beam. With this automatic rotating laser, you won’t even need to wave your arm around. For $30, just sit back and enjoy the fun.

FitBark: Pups need to stay fit, too! This $100 item is a dog activity monitor that turns your pet’s movements into “BarkPoints.” Track your pet’s play, daily active time, and rest in one app via Bluetooth. It’s light (eight grams) and designed to fit dogs of any breed, size, and weight.

Nite Ize Light Up Ball: The light up ball lets you play fetch with your dog even when the sun goes down. Night time is no reason to stop playing! Just be sure you are playing in an area that is clear of objects so your dog doesn’t get hurt. $12.

iFetch ($100): An automatic ball launcher that throws mini tennis balls. It’s awesome for energetic dogs — or lazy dog owners. Train your pup to fetch balls, then return them back to the iFetch’s ball deposit for an endless cycle of fun.

FOR FUN

Puppy Tweets: Puppy Tweets is a fun way to keep track of your dog when you’re at work or elsewhere. A sensor on the dog’s collar sends a signal to a USB receiver attached to your computer. The sensor figures out what the dog is doing and then updates the dog’s personal Twitter account with a clever tweet such as, “You at lunch? Remember the two most beautiful words in the English language: DOGGIE BAG!” Cost: The device is currently selling for about $15 on Amazon.

The Woofer: This little jacket essentially turns your dog into an iPod dock. There are speakers sewn into the fabric, and a pouch with a standard speaker jack for your MP3 player of choice. Between $100 and $120, depending on the size of your woofer.

Petcube: Feeling guilty about leaving your furry friends at home? This is a video-camera system that allows you to remotely tune in to what your pets are up to via Android or iOS app. There’s also a built-in mic so you can talk to your pup or kitty. You can even enable a laser pointer to entertain ’em! So fun. Available for $199.

Tractive: A GPS system that uses cell towers to show you where Fido is at anytime. Its waterproof collar attachment ($130) is smartphone compatible. The app allows users to set a “safe zone” and will alert your device if your pup leaves the area. Tractive’s GPS service ($6 per month) locates your pets and shows you position history.

EVERYTHING ELSE

Say hello to the smart feeder. Petnet ($199) makes sure kitty or pup is well fed. From your smartphone, you can control your pet’s feeding schedule and portion sizes. The Petnet app shows you how much of your pet’s daily intake he or she has consumed that day. You can even add multiple users and decide who is responsible for allotting food.

Rover and DogVacay: Going on vacation can be hard when you have a pet. These sites can connect you with sitters in thousands of cities around the US. All dog sitters are reviewed, and you can choose for them to watch your pup in your own home or theirs. Prices range between $20 to $75 per night — definitely cheaper than a hotel for humans.

Litter-Robot: If you hate cleaning litter boxes, this litter sifting system may be a good investment. It’s a round enclosure your cat enters to do his business. Once he exits, the Litter-Robot waits seven minutes before rotating to drop clumps into a drawer which typically needs to be emptied once or twice a week, depending on how many cats use it. It works with regular kitchen garbage bags and any clumping litter as well as alternative litters such as Litter Pearls, Crystals or World’s Best Cat Litter. One caveat: Small cats or kittens that weigh less than five pounds may not trip Litter-Robot’s sensor. $369 at litter-robot.com or Amazon.

Voyce Dog Collar: Activity monitors have helped a lot of humans live healthier lifestyles, get in shape and lose unwanted pounds. So why not give your favorite pets the same benefit? The Voyce dog collar is a wearable fitness device that measures your pooch’s pulse (via radio frequency), respiratory rate, rest patterns and calories burned. These important vitals can be tracked through your phone and shared with your vet, if desired. The app will even warn you if your pet’s activity pattern changes – a potential sign of problems. The battery on the Voyce lasts for seven days, so thankfully there’s no daily recharging requirement. You can purchase the Voyce dog collar directly through the company’s website for $199. You’ll also be required to pay a monthly service charge of $9.50 per month or $95 per year.

Wigzi Tangle Free Dual Dog Leash: The dual dog leash by Wigzi makes it so you won’t have to deal with a tangled leash ever again when walking two dogs at the same time. The solution comes from the way it is designed, so that neither leash can cross over the other, causing the dreaded tangle. Get it for $35 over on Amazon.

Pavlovian Puppy Potty Trainer: This potty trainer uses Pavlovian methods to train your puppy to go outside when they feel the urge. This will help prevent accidents and also strengthen your bond with them because you won’t have to worry about getting upset when they do their business inside on, uh, your favorite rug. $99.

Dog Cooling Bed: Keep your dog cool with this $54 cooling bed, and they’ll definitely be thanking you all summer long. Dogs can overheat pretty easily and it’s important to keep them cool, especially during those warmer months. This bed can really help with that as it diffuses heat when they lay on top of it, hitting those all important paws first.

Wanna get really crazy? Check out this $1,300 shower stall! How about an $1,100 doggie treadmill? They’ve thought of it all!

In the comments below, we’d love to hear what tech items you love using with your pup and how you found out about them. Not currently using anything this fancy? No sweat, let us know which

Go Green with your Dog for Earth Day

Going Green with your (1)

It may be a tiny holiday in the grand scheme of a packed year of days to celebrate, but April 22nd is Earth Day, something we can all get behind – no matter where we reside on planet earth. The internet will quickly fill with genius and helpful ways to go eco-friendly in your day to day life in a variety of ways and means, but we wanted to focus on one particular part of your life that could likely use a little eco-magic – that’s right, dog lovers. It’s time to reduce your carbon paw-print. We’ve rounded up some simple and tried-and-true methods for greenifying your life as pet parent, and while none of us can expect perfection or overnight change, taking a few small steps in the right direction can have a huge effect in the overall. We hope you’ll consider giving some of these tricks a go!

 

  1. Reduce or replace your paper towel use. Most of us are guilty of using copious amounts of paper towels in our day to day life, and especially grab them for help cleaning up after our pets. But those rolls of paper, however endlessly useful, are no bueno for the environment. Consider using regular towels or rags instead of paper towels to clean up after your pet. If you just can’t break the paper towel cycle, consider using reusable personal hand towels that are machine-washable.
  2. Ditch the dumpster. Many items that your pet no longer uses or has grown out of might still be able to be put to use at a shelter. Call your local shelter to see if they need any of the items (old beds, blankets, towels, collars, etc.), or organize a swap with friends and neighbors.
  3. Choose poop bags wisely. Instead of using plastic bags to pick up after your dog or clean the litter box, use biodegradable bags. They typically break down in about 1 month as opposed to an estimated 1,500 years for a plastic bag in a landfill. Cat litter is also available in all-natural and biodegradable forms, and you can even consider making your own pet waste compost container.
  4. Ditch the extra paper. If you are still mailing checks to your favorite animal charity, switch to online or telephone donations or automatic direct debiting from a bank account (and go paperless on statements).
  5. Check the labels. Do your existing products use eco-friendly materials and packaging? Check the labels to see what is inside the product and if the bottle or container is recyclable or made of biodegradable materials. Stuck with plastic? Recycle after use. Purchasing eco-friendly pet products is a simple change, but it can really help lower the environmental impact of your pets. Dog owners, for example, can find many different varieties of shampoo on the market that use natural or sustainably-sourced ingredients. For cat owners, kitty litter can be an environmental concern as it often does not biodegrade. Thankfully there are litter products available made from biodegradable or recycled materials. You can also reduce the chemicals in your home by making your own cleaners and deodorizers. Instead of spraying over a pet smell, you might already have everything you need right in your pantry.
  6. No more plastic bottles, evvvvvver! This is one of the most simple and important moves we humans can make. If you use plastic bottles for your pet’s water or for taking water with you when you go out, install a filter on your tap and use a permanent, washable bottle instead of plastic.
  7. Bring reusable bags to your local pet store. We all remember to do it at the grocery store, but those same reusable totes will work well on your next trip to the vet or pet store. When heading out with your pet, grab one to to carry things back home with you.
  8. Make your own food and treats, when possible. Many animals can live on perfectly healthy diets with meals made at home. Consult your veterinarian for advice. Homemade treats are another way to use ingredients you already have while saving a trip to the store and reducing packaging waste. Otherwise, yet another way to decrease the environmental impact of our pets is to choose pet food from companies with a commitment to the planet. At TerraCycle, they have partnered with pet food brands Open Farm and Wellness TruFood to open free recycling programs for pet food bag waste, allowing anyone to send in their pet food bags for recycling. Family pets are able to have their favorite sustainably produced food, while packaging waste is diverted from the landfill.
  9. Think about storage. Use a washable and reusable container to store food and treats instead of a plastic bag.
  10. Ditch the paper plates. If you feed your pet food, treats or scraps by placing a paper plate on the floor, switch to a plate you can wash to reduce the paper waste. Designate or buy a plate that everyone knows is for the pet. Wash it separately by hand before storing it away from regular dishes.
  11. Reduce driving. Do you drive to a dog park just to walk around? Look for closer parks or nature trails, or arrange walks or play dates with friends and neighbors with their pets.
  12. Wanna get really wild? Compost! Pet waste can be a particularly hazardous pollutant – especially to nearby water sources– and dogs alone are responsible for 10 million tons of it every year. But believe it or not, your pet’s waste can be used as an effective ingredient for compost. There are plenty of tutorials online to help start a compost pile with pet waste. Keep in mind that dog waste compost is not recommended for plants and crops meant for human consumption.
  13. Choose your toys wisely. Playtime can also be eco-friendly with the right products. For the cat owners, this list of eco-friendly toys boasts a wide range of fun things to keep your cat occupied. You will find everything from dye-free toys made with organic materials, to toys created with recycled or upcycled materials. To ensure old toys don’t end up in the trash, be sure to donate or upcycle them instead. You can always make your own toys as well! Cats love balls of aluminum foil, hair ties, and paper towel rolls, while dogs will always be happy with an old ball from the garage.
  14. Spay and neuter your pets. The exact number of strays in the United States may never be pinpointed, but the ASPCA estimates that there are over 70 million stray cats alone. Spaying or neutering your pets is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent further overpopulation. When strays – especially cats – multiply, they can severely disrupt the surrounding ecosystem. Feral cats are even listed on the Invasive Species Specialist Group’s list of worst invasive species on earth, and it is believed that they are responsible for over one billion animal deaths each year.
  15. Lastly – and most importantly – adopt don’t shop. Please, please, adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue instead of buying. This has a cascading effect: Puppy mills will have reduced demand, fewer animals will be bred for profit, and much-needed available space will open up in shelters — where literally millions of pets are being euthanized each year in the U.S. simply because there isn’t enough room for them all.

 

Want even more tips? Check out a few other stories here, here, and here.

 

So, earth loving dog parents, what would you add to our list? And what measures have you already been taking in your day to day pet life to keep things kosher with the planet? We’d love to hear more of your tips and findings in the comments below!

 

 

5 Tax Breaks Your Dog is Giving You

5 tax breaks your dog is giving you this yearDog lovers, it’s April – and you know what that means. Yes, showers for those May flowers but also… taxes. Now just breathe. We know taxes are a big, scary, ugly word for many of us, but there is at least one bright spot this year if you fostered a dog in the last year or were otherwise involved in the dog rescue world. Eligible deductions! Funny to think about, but fostering a dog actually does come with benefits for your tax purposes, and being in-the-know about what exactly you can do to get those write offs is a bonus this time of year. While you can’t claim your pups as dependents (no matter how much money and stress they may cause), there are other ways to get them in on your paperwork.

In 2009, a Michigan senator introduced a bill that would give pet owners up to $3,500 a year in tax refunds for “qualified pet care” costs. It was an ambitious, heavily inclusive piece of lawmaking that would’ve saved pet owners a chunk of money; unfortunately, the HAPPY Act (short for Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years) didn’t pass on Capitol Hill, despite a decent showing of public support. In spite of the HAPPY Act’s demise, there are some examples of tax-deductible pet care for our four-legged friends. We’ve outlined the biggies below:

Fostering: Maybe you and your family want to open up your hearts and become a foster pet parent. If you work with a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, you may be able to deduct your expenses as a charitable contribution. That means that your veterinarian visits, pet supplies, food, and other related expenses could qualify. Don’t forget to keep track of your mileage (provided the trip is for the organization). As always, make sure you keep careful records and receipts of your expenses. If your expenses are over $250, request an acknowledgement from the charitable organization. If you use TurboTax, TurboTax ItsDeductible will value and track your donations so you have them all together when it comes time to file your taxes. As a result of Van Dusen v. Commissioner, animal rescuers nationwide that are fostering dogs and/or cats for approved charities may claim the expenses during tax time. Even a portion of your utilities can be considered expenses as long as a specific area of your home is only used for the care of the animals and nothing else.

Service Animals: Another situation where you may be able to deduct expenses is if your furry friend is a service animal. You must register your pet with a legitimate agency to prove that it is a service animal and not just a pet. Additionally, if you have a guard dog to protect your business you may be able to claim some of the costs as a business expense. You can deduct expenses such as training and veterinarian care, but like service dogs, you need an agency to declare the four legged protector a guard dog.

Moved? According to Kiplinger, If you moved during the tax year, it might be possible to deduct your moving expenses – including those specifically related to moving your dog. For example, if moving your dog requires special expenses, those expenses are treated no differently (in the federal government’s eyes) than any of your personal effects. Making special arrangements to get Fido from your old home to your new one? Save the receipts!

Rescue and Shelter Donations: It would be easy to assume that the costs of adopting a dog from a registered non-profit, 501(c), would be deductible – the assumption would be wrong. The cost to adopt a dog is not deductible. However, any donations made in excess of regular adoption fees most certainly are. According to the law, only those donations made where no goods or services are received in exchange (i.e., your new dog) can be deducted. Should you choose to make donations to your favorite 501c dog charity, make sure to ask for a letter of receipt that states no goods or services were received. Donations of both goods and services to an approved charity are tax deductible. When donating goods or services to an approved charity, ask for a donation receipt – you’ll need it if the value of your donations exceeds $250. To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. It may seem small, but every little bit helps! Local animal shelters need your newspaper, old towels, sheets, pet beds, sweaters, crates and blankets. They may also be looking for items such as digital cameras, video recorders, printers, fans, heaters, cleaning supplies, office equipment, printer paper, carpeting, and furniture. You can also purchase and donate new items including food, toys, new litter boxes, dog beds, and cat trees. Even if your donation isn’t useful to the shelter itself, they might be able to use it to raise funds. The value of items donated can be a tax deduction! Again, assuming they are a qualified organization, you can deduct the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution, so keep track of what you give and when, and be sure to save the receipts of those newly purchased items. Any cash donation you make to a qualified charitable organization is tax deductible for those who itemize deductions. Don’t know if your favorite rescue fits the bill? Check out IRS Publication 78 for more information on qualifying organizations. While you typically cannot deduct the value of your time, you can deduct mileage traveling to and from the shelter or rescue. The IRS allows a deduction of 14 cents per mile driven in service of a charitable organization. Keep a notebook in your car to track mileage, or use an iPhone or Android app such as Mileage Pad.

Walkers and Trainers: If you own and operate a business with dogs, of course your dog-related business expenses are deductible. If you’re a trainer, you may be able to deduct mileage or transportation costs for visiting clients and their dogs. If you’re a dog walker and need to purchase business related items like leashes and poop bags, those expenses can be itemized. As with any job-related expense, just make sure to keep all receipts and be able to prove the items were for job duties, not for your personal pet.  

Fellow dog lovers, what advice do you have for fellow dog owners on what expenses to claim on their taxes? Do you know any key ones we’re missing? Be sure to share and lets tough out this tax season together!

Essential Items for your Dog’s First Aid Kit

Essential Items for your Dog's First Aid Kit

April is Pet First Aid Awareness month and while we understand it can be exhausting learning or hearing about a new awareness month/day or week (unless it’s like national pizza or cupcake awareness day), this is an important one for pet owners to pay attention to. Of course, odds are in your favor that you won’t ever need a first aid kit and that your pup will go through their life without any major disasters. But as you well know, it never hurts to be prepared, because the reality is your dog could choke on a toy, get hit by a car, suffer a near drowning accident, or ingest one of the countless pet toxins found in the average home—from grapes to azaleas to acetaminophen to anything sweetened with xylitol. We definitely don’t want to scare anyone, but animals are surrounded by hazards, and these hazards sometimes lead to serious accidents. Being just a little prepared – both with information and with a tangible first aid kit – can help tremendously in the rare case that something does happen. To help out, we created a list of essentials to put in a first aid kit for your dog.

 

“What you do (or don’t do) in the first moments following an accident can often be the difference between life and death,” says Melanie Monteiro, a pet first aid instructor, dog safety consultant, and author of The Safe Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out. “One such example is with choking. If your pet’s airway is completely obstructed by an object, there will be no time to go to the veterinarian for help—you need to take immediate action.” You can watch some of her amazing video instructions here. She also recommends signing up for a training course in your area. Check with your local Red Cross, humane organizations, or private companies such as PetTech. Lastly, buy a guide on pet first aid emergencies (most training courses include a guide). Her favorites are the Red Cross’ Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid and Pets America’s Pet First Aid & Disaster Response Guide.

 

A simple yet important place to start is by programming useful contacts into your mobile phone, to ensure that emergency numbers are at your fingertips and you don’t waste valuable time searching for them when needed. Program the phone numbers and addresses of your veterinarian and a 24-hour emergency animal hospital into your phone. If possible, save the addresses in your car’s GPS. You also always want to watch out for commonly found items that can be poisonous to canine companions. Human medications topped the list of pet toxins in 2010 as accidentally dropped or misplaced pills can seem like treats to our furry friends. Household toxins or cleaners, insecticides/rodenticides, and plants are also common toxins for dogs. Being aware of these toxins and exercising prevention can help keep your animals safe. The ASPCA Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline (1-888-426-4435) is another valuable resource to have in your address book.

 

Now for the first aid kit essentials! The first thing to do in the event of an accident or injury is to consult a veterinarian. Many of the items found in a first aid kit should only be administered under the vet’s guidance, but having them readily available allows for quicker treatment and can minimize pain or discomfort that your animal may be experiencing. Since you never know when an accident will happen, keeping a pet emergency kit at your home is a good idea. A smaller kit could be used in the car. You can put a first aid kit together yourself and buy the items separately, or buy one ready-made (just one example, there are tons of varieties in all shapes and sizes available for purchase online and at local pet supply stores). If you make one yourself, use a small plastic tub with a tight fitting lid and keep one at home and make one to have in the car for when you’re on the go.

 

Here are some essential items:

  • Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)
  • A pet carrier
  • Muzzle or strip of fabric to prevent biting (in cases of severe pain during treatment but only when there is no injury to the throat or neck, vomiting, or difficulty breathing)
  • Leash
  • Blanket (foil emergency blanket)
  • Pediatric digital rectal thermometer plus water-based lubricant
  • Oral syringe
  • Tweezers
  • Saline eye wash
  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers
  • Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
  • Nail clippers
  • Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
  • Penlight or flashlight
  • Plastic eyedropper or syringe
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer
  • Splints and tongue depressors
  • Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
  • Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet’s collar when you travel)
  • Towels
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Epsom salts
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mild soap
  • Cut- and wound-care items, such as: hand sanitizer, antiseptic (povidone-iodine) solution such as Betadine, elastic or ace bandage (best case: self-cling bandage – bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur – which is available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs), stretchable gauze, gauze pads, non-stick bandages, non-scented sanitary pads (for heavily bleeding wounds), first aid adhesive tape, blunt scissors
  • Hydrogen peroxide #3% USP (to induce vomiting)
  • Toxiban or other vet-approved activated charcoal (for use in certain poisoning emergencies)
  • Diphenhydramine antihistamine, or Benadryl (to counter allergic reactions)

Of course, each list of recommendations has their unique take on what all is needed in a kit. We think this more than covers the essentials, but you can find many more suggestions from the sites below. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet to see if they think you’re missing anything from whatever list you decide to go with, and to think about your own pet’s specific needs that might come up in an emergency scenario.

The Red Cross, AVMA checklist, Modern Dog, Cesar’s Way and Pet Education

Want to know more quick tips? Our founder Rocky Kanaka has simple tips that you can follow today!

We hope you find this guide helpful and that it encourages you to learn about pet safety and ways to prevent accidents and prepare for the unexpected. In the comments below, please share any of your own tips to keep in mind for Pet First Aid Awareness!

10 Activities to Occupy your Puppy While You’re at Work

10 Activities to Occupy your Puppy While You're at Work

Last week, we celebrated an especially fun “holiday,”  National Puppy Day with a list of adoptable puppies from our donation partners. Whether you’ve recently adopted a new puppy or are thinking about bringing a new addition home, we thought it would be fun to celebrate even more because everyday should be national puppy day with a post on ten things that will occupy your puppy while you’re at work. Because no matter how much time you’re able to devote to your new pal, you’ll likely have to at least leave them alone from time-to-time. Toys for puppies and other activities geared towards puppies are plentiful, and we’ve tracked down some good options for keeping those little critters occupied in your time away. We know it’s easy to feel worried or guilty about living your little guy or girl at home alone, but with a little research and imagination, there are ways to keep even their time alone fun and stimulating.

  1. Create a safe space. Pick one area in the house where you think your dog will feel safest and most comfortable while you’re away. It could be a corner in the living room or a separate room, closed off from the rest of the house. Make sure they know that this is their designated area by inviting your new dog to sniff around. Give him treats so he can associate positive feelings with it, and leave some of his toys and his favorite blanket around. If you’ve decided to crate your pup while you’re away, this is the perfect space to put it. Make it cozy and attractive so that they’ll want to take ownership of it and feel safe there.
  2. Pick a super awesome bed. Whether it’s going in the crate or pin or just sectioned off in a certain area of the house, be sure to provide your pup with an awesome bed they can spend some serious time snoozing in. A majority of the time you are working, your dog is probably asleep. On average, dogs can sleep between 14 to 18 hours a day. For this reason, you should provide your dog with the most comfortable, cushiony bed while you’re away. If you notice that your dog is a sprawler, try and get a bed that is slightly larger so it can fit his entire body. If your dog likes to rest his head on something, find a doughnut bed. If your dog likes his sleeping area super soft, get him a cushiony pillow bed. You have your preferred sleeping style, and so does your pup! See what fits their snoozing style and purchase accordingly.
  3. Provide your dog with fresh water throughout the day. H20 isn’t just vastly important for humans, it’s also essential for animals. Not only should there always be a steady flow of water for them at all times, but it should also always be clean and fresh. Consider purchasing a self-filling pet water bowl so you don’t have to worry about your pup going thirsty while you’re gone. Of course, in the training stages you also have to worry about accidents, so do your research and know your pup before setting up their water station.
  4. Try out treat-dispensing toys. While you’re away, one of the greatest gifts you can give your pup is an interactive toy to play with that will engage their mind and get them working for an awesome reward. Many dogs are food motivated, and treat-dispensing toys are in high-demand for people who spend time away from home. This is a fantastic way to distract your canine while you’re gone! While some owners opt to scatter kibble across their house, you can also purchase a handy food-dispensing toy that will keep your house tidier and will also last longer for dogs who are quick foragers. Find a fun toy you can hide food in, like the Buster Food Cube. These kinds of toys will keep your furry friends engaged and challenged. In addition, most food-dispensing toys give you the option to adjust the degree of difficulty so that it can keep things exciting for your dog. There are so many good options out there, so do your research and try out a few with your pup. You’ll figure out the best fit for them in no time.
  5. Leave them with indestructible toys that will keep them busy for hours. Some pets have a harder time being left alone than others and all animals have a range of separation anxiety that they experience. Your dog’s ability to chew through a toy or bone will also vary, as some pups are more gentle than others. Either way, leaving them with ample chew toys or bones will help ensure that they chew on something other than your sofa! You can discourage this bad behavior by providing them with strong and safe chew toys that also won’t end up being a choking hazard. Giving them indestructible chew toys, like the Monkey Fist Bar Rope Dog Toy, will provide hours of entertainment while keeping your dog’s gums and teeth healthy. Bonus points!
  6. Another great option? Puzzle toys. Sturdy bones and treat-dispensing toys are old-school winners, but they aren’t the only game in town. On the rise in popularity are puzzle toys, offering another way to keep your dog entertained during the day. These brain-teasing toys keep your dog stimulated, especially if he is left alone for multiple hours of the day. Keeping your dog sharp can extend his life by fighting canine cognitive dysfunction. Brain teasers give dogs the opportunity to problem solve and use some of the functions that they don’t ordinarily use in their brains. Check out a few here.
  7. Play them some tunes. Studies have shown that classical music can calm and soothe a dog’s nerves, so consider providing your canine with a soundtrack while you’re away by creating a Spotify playlist of relaxing classical symphonies, or consider getting “Through a Dog’s Ear,” a CD set of psycho-acoustically designed piano music that has been tested in dog shelters, clinics and homes.
  8. Leave the TV on. Some people just leave it on a random channel, but if you think your dog could use a little visual stimulation, there is a channel just for him. DirectTV teamed up with DogTV, a channel that provides 24/7 programming aimed at stimulating, entertaining, relaxing and habituating dogs with shows that are filled with different sounds, objects and movements, all seen from a dog’s point of view. Hey, it couldn’t hurt!
  9. Stuff a toy with all-natural DOGSBUTTER. This is a classic dog-stimulating choice for a reason! Most dogs love the smell and taste of peanut butter and can take hours finding every last dollop in a Kong® in puppy size or similar hollow toy. To provide an extra challenge, freeze the toys after stuffing them overnight before you hand them over in the morning.
  10. Consider hiring a dog walker. It is cheaper and easier than ever to secure a reliable dog walker, and for some dogs it’s an essential and important way to offer them a little mid-day relief, especially if you’re going to be gone for long stretches of time. A dog walker not only provides them with an extra pee break, but yields them all-important human interaction, gives them a break from their crate or small space (if you’re using such) and gets them a little extra exercise (which is great for their health, both physically and mentally). It will also tire them out and make the time waiting for you to get home breeze by. Dog walkers vary in their services, with some providing brisk, 30-minute walks for those dogs that don’t need a whole lot of exercise, and others offering hour-long hikes for those canines bursting with energy. The most important thing to remember is to find a reliable, trustworthy walker that both you and your dog get along with. Consider checking out DogVacay, Rover and Wag to connect with walkers in your area.

Did you know that DOG for DOG now has puppy food? Have a full grown pup? Check out our list of 14 ways to keep your dog busy while at work. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ideas for keeping your pup entertained while you’re away from home. In the comments below, share your own tips and tricks for new puppies faced with temporary indepen-dance. 

Adopt a Puppy from our Donation Partners

Did you know that March 23rd is National Puppy Day!? Puppies are so adorable – their little paws, their big bellies, and how they are so excited about everything makes us squeal with joy. There is still this stigma that you can only adopt adult dogs which isn’t true at all. There are so many puppies that you can adopt at your local shelter or from your local rescue group. We want to introduce you to the puppies that are available for adoption from our donation partners. These rescue groups are amazing group of people that save many homeless dogs each month. To support their huge efforts, we donate DOGSFOOD on your behalf. We want to help them out a little more by introducing you to the puppies that are available for adoption. Please share this post with as any friends as possible. The power of social media is HUGE!

 

 

First up is Mario from Mary S. Roberts Adoption Center. Mario is an 11 week old Chihuahua puppy and you can tell he’s one happy pup because he was wagging his tail while having this photo taken. As for Mary S. Roberts Adoption Center, they have been helping pets for over 100 years which is impressive! Located in Riverside, CA – their facility is 17,000 square feet and they house many pets like Mario.

Gingersnap is a tiny little chihuahua mix puppy with so much love to give from Marley’s Mutts. Her siblings and her mom were rescued right before the Holidays. With the love from all the wonderful people at Marley’s Mutts, she’s come out of her shell. She will need to be adopted to a home that is familiar with small breeds because she’s so small. Small pup parents have to do the shuffle walk so you don’t accidentally step on them which is a breeze to do once you get used to it. Marley’s Mutts is an amazing rescue group that will take any dog in and have a soft spot for hard cases such as Hooch who has no tongue. They also have a brand new program with their local prison program. They take their adoptable dogs and have them train with the prisoners. The prisoners get to take comfort through dogs and the dogs earn the good canine certification, making them easier to adopt. Amazing stuff!

Big Tuna is the cuddliest puppy out of his siblings and is a Terrier mix. How could you not want to take him home with you!? Maeday Rescue is a small but mighty rescue based in Los Angeles, CA. They are very careful about making sure that their pup goes to the right home to ensure that they will live the happiest life. They spend a lot of time with each dog and are able to tell you all about them.

Puff is a 6 month old American Bulldog/ Boxer mix puppy available for adoption from Rocket Dog Rescue. She is a puff ball of energy and so much fun! Rocket Dog Rescue is a rescue group run solely by volunteers in San Francisco, CA. All dogs are placed in temporary foster homes so that the dogs are able to socialize and the rescue is able to learn all about the dog.

 

There’s only 1 thing that’s better than a puppy. More puppies! Simi Valley Missing Pets takes many puppies at high kill shelters. Unfortunately, puppies that are too young need a rescue to save them because the shelters don’t have enough resources to care for very young pups. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of time and energy as they need to be bottle fed since they are separated from their moms. This is only about half of the puppies that SVMP has available for adoption so please check out their Facebook page for their most current list.

Meet Bailey and Blarney, 2 lab mixed puppies that will be ready for a home in about 6 weeks from Detroit Dog Rescue. Detroit Dog Rescue is the first and only No-Kill shelter in the city of Detroit and leaders of the movement. Like many cities who have seen in decline of economic growth, their has been a surge of families who are no longer able to afford their dogs. Our donated food helps DDR donate it to low income families who love their dog and need a little bit of help.

Fredarico is a charming, Chihuahua puppy available for adoption from Oregon Humane Society. Staring into his big doe eyes makes our hearts swoon. Oregon Humane Society adopts out a whopping 11,000 pets every year! What’s unique about them is that not only do they educate their community about adoption; they help with animal cruelty investigations to keep the pets safe.

Puppies are the cutest but they are also a lot of work. It takes consistent training, tons of patience, money, and lots of love and probably a ruined shoe or two. If you’re ready for the challenge and all of the love you will receive in return. Not ready for a puppy but still really want a dog? Adopt a senior dog. They just want a good meal and a good sleep. Either way, adopt don’t shop!

All Natural Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Pet

by DOG for DOG Team 0 Comments

All Natural Spring Cleaning Tips for your Pet

Last week on the blog, in the spirit of spring cleaning, we talked about how often to bathe your pets and how often to wash their favorite belongings (leash, bed, food bowl, toys, etc.) While we agreed that there was some wiggle room on most things, we think we found a good general consensus for cleaning across your doggie items. In that same squeaky clean vibe, this week we thought we’d discuss how to clean those same items using all natural products. Since all of the too-be cleaned items come in such close contact with your pup, it’s always best to make sure anything you use is pet friendly. Working with all natural cleaners helps ensure that your pup likely won’t ingest something that could make them ill (though it’s always good to be on the safe side and double check your ingredients). We hope we’ve dug up some simple, cheap and interesting ways to keep your pup so fresh and so clean (clean).

Bathing: Obviously there’s no real better way than good ‘ol dog shampoo, but you can do your pup a favor by picking a brand that offers better ingredients. Our office pups get a bath about once a month using DOG for DOG’s DOGSPA shampoo, and there are lots of other natural shampoos on the market for keeping your little one (and their skin) clean and happy! Look for labels with no chemicals, unnatural fragrances, or unnecessary ingredients.

 

Hardwood floors: Many of the conventional cleaning products that promise an easy and sparkling floor are terrible for our health and the environment. Floor cleaners that give you shine can also give you off-gassing of petroleum-based polymers. In addition, most of the fragrance that accompanies conventional floor cleaners are either indoor air pollutants on their own, or are inert on their own but mix with ozone to create formaldehyde and other toxic air contaminates. So, obviously, best to avoid those! The best non-toxic floor cleaning solution is ¼ of a cup of mild liquid dishwashing detergent added to a bucket of warm water (for damp mopping). For scuff marks use a sprinkle of baking soda on a damp sponge and rub. Go over the floor twice, first to dissolve the dirt and then again, after rinsing the mop and wringing it thoroughly, again to rinse. The floor can then be buffed dry with a towel—this is done easily by attaching a towel to a clamp mop handle. Of course, different kinds of hardwood floors need slightly different cleaning procedures. Cleaners recommended for a penetrating floor finish are solvent-based. Use a natural citrus solvent rather than a mineral spirit or turpentine based cleaner. Spray a light film on the floor and dry mop with a microfiber or regular dust mop. Here are some other unique tips for cleaning your floors.

 

Carpeted floors: Like for hardwood floors, some of the products you can buy commercially are better than others, and if you need to buy a cleaner, there are definitely some kinder options out there. Be sure to do your research! If you have the time and interest in making your own, you can do it for less than what you’d pay and with many common items! We’ve included a personal favorite here, but be sure to check out more here and here.

 

White vinegar – White vinegar is known to remove tough stains, especially those from pets. It has some great deodorizing properties and will tackle any tough stain. Water is needed to dilute the vinegar because it can be quite potent. Vinegar is safe to use on most fabrics and is effective against many strains.

Lavender essential oil –  Lavender EO gives this spray even more deodorizing properties and helps tackle bacteria and viruses lurking in your carpets. It is one of the most versatile essential oils and is safe to use around children and pets.

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

  • Combine vinegar and water in a large spray bottle.
  • Add in salt and lavender essential oil.
  • Cap and shake.
  • Spray on carpets liberally, shaking bottle frequently between sprays.
  • Allow carpets to dry.
  • Vacuum treated areas.

Note: For tougher stains, spray mixture directly on stain. Let dry and vacuum. Repeat if necessary.

Source: DIYNatural.com

all natural spring cleaning tips for your pet

Blankets / sheets on your bed: All laundry detergents leave a residue on clothing, which is absorbed by our skin (and inhaled). The ill effects of some of the chemicals in detergents range from skin or eye irritation to possibly much more serious, such as endocrine disruption. Because of “trade secrets,” manufacturers are not required to disclose what’s in their detergent, so the ingredient list is usually vague and not very helpful. A 2008 study found that of all the top selling laundry detergent brands tested, each contained at least one ingredient considered hazardous under federal law. None of these ingredients was listed on the label and the study didn’t disclose which brands were tested. Find a few we trust here, and consider washing your linens with these!

 

Their beds: Most beds can go in the washing machine, so consider cleaning with one of the natural products found above! While there are detergents touted as just for pets, as long as you use a mild detergent without dyes or fragrance you can safely wash your pet’s bedding and toys in your washer. To help neutralize odor, add one cup of baking soda to the wash water. Do not use liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets which may irritate a pet’s skin due to the added perfume. Line drying bedding and toys will help to freshen and dissipate odors. If you must use a dryer, be certain to clean the lint filter which may be filled with hair. After washing your pet’s laundry, cleanse your washing machine by running a cycle of hot water with 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach. Now you’re ready for the next load for the rest of your family!

 

Food bowls: Commercial over-the-counter cleaners, when used as directed on the label’s instructions, are safe to use around your four-legged family member, says Tina Wismer, DVM, medical director at the ASPCA’s animal poison control center in New York, N.Y. “Dilution is very important,” she continues. “This is not a situation where a little is good and a lot is better. And we want to keep our animals out of that area until the products are dry. For instance, when you wash your floors, keep your pet out of the kitchen until the floors are dry. Then it’s OK for them to come back into the area.” When used correctly, the residue left behind is minimal, Dr. Wismer adds. “But if owners are worried about residues, they can certainly clean them off with just plain water afterwards.” Another option: Try some safer alternatives. Mother Nature has provided all-natural solutions that do the job in a way that’s safer for your family and pets. Below, we’ve included several recipes for cleaning products that use simple ingredients from your pantry, like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. To keep your dog’s stainless steel, ceramic or plastic food and water bowls clean, use this simple mixture that will scrub away stuck-on food and grime. It can be used to clean up other surfaces, as well, such as cutting boards, dirty spots on laminate floors and crusty countertops.

 

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Salt

Combine equal parts of the ingredients to create a thick paste. Apply some to a sponge or washrag and scrub the inside and outside of the dish or bowl using a circular motion. Rinse well with warm water.

Leashes: How often you clean your pup’s collar and leash will have to do with how dirty they get them. If your dog doesn’t see much outside action, you’re safe to wash infrequently. But if they’re rolling around outside in a leash and/or collar fairly often, it couldn’t hurt to give these items a good cleaning once a month. Most collars and leashes can be thrown in the dishwasher or clothing washer, but you can read about handmade ways to clean here. These methods include baking soda and peppermint soap!

Toys: For cloth toys, they are best washed on cold in your washing machine, after being placed in a delicate garment bag. Make sure to reduce the amount of soap you use, assuming the washer won’t be 100% full of toys. If so, it could be time to give a once over and do some purging! When in doubt on how much soap to use, less is better. Once done, remove from the wash and squeeze remaining water out. If you have the ability to line dry, pin them all up and give them an hour or so in the sun to dry out. Placing them in the dryer is just fine, make sure it’s on low heat and if you’re worried about them, place them inside a pillow case. If you have plastic toys, use a solution of 50% white vinegar to 50% water and allow them to soak for 30 minutes. Remove and use a nail brush to scrub the dirt off, rinse with fresh water and allow to dry.

 

Need a quick all-purpose cleaner? Simply combine 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1 gallon of water, pour into a clean spray bottle, use as needed, and wipe clean when done. This inexpensive and easy-to-make solution cuts through grease and grime – dog generated or otherwise – on most surfaces. And it also can be used to clean your dog’s plastic or rubber toys, grooming tools and other non-porous surfaces that may need a little freshening up. The mix can be stored between uses. If the smell of vinegar is too potent for your taste, try this easy-to-make all-purpose cleaner that uses lemon juice instead. The baking soda cuts through grime like a knife; the lemon juice contains natural enzymes that break down organic matter. You can use this on most household surfaces and you can safely use it around animals.

Ingredients:

  • A clean, empty spray bottle or bucket
  • 3 cups of very hot water
  • 2 tbsp of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp pure lemon juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)

First, pour the water into the bottle or bucket. Next, add the baking soda, making sure it completely dissolves and uniformly distributes throughout the water. Finally, add the lemon juice, again making sure you mix it well. Spray on soiled surfaces and wipe with a clean, damp cloth. When you’re done cleaning, pour any remaining mixture down the drain.

How often you clean will likely be determined by how much your pet sheds, how much dirt they’re dragging in from outside and how often you like to clean your house usually anyways. Doing the research and thinking through what’s best for you and your family is usually best practice in these sorts of matters. We hope that no matter how often you clean and what methods you’re used to using, that you find these DIY and natural methods helpful. We can’t wait to hear what you think – and your own cleaning methods – in the comments below!