Along with ensuring your dog has regular exercise and a healthy diet, it’s your duty to keep your pet’s bowl and toys nice and clean. Dog bowls can attract all kinds of dirt and germs, and should be washed regularly, especially if they’re kept in your kitchen where food is prepared. A high level of hygiene is also required when it comes to your dog’s toys as dirt and germs ingested on these can easily cause stomach upsets and worse. So what do you need to know about cleaning dog toys or bowls? Read on to find our top tips below.
How to Clean a Ceramic or Plastic Dog Bowl
The majority of dog bowls are made from materials designed to be hard wearing, so they’re not that difficult to clean:
- Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to see if the ceramic or plastic dog bowl is dishwasher-proof – wash accordingly if it is.
- Otherwise, hand wash with a scrubbing sponge and a mild detergent, like Persil Washing Up liquid.
- Leave to soak in hot soapy water or a weak solution of vinegar and hot water to remove any crusted on food.
- If you want to be sure the bowl is extra clean soak it in a diluted solution of Domestos bleach and cold water (follow the instructions of the label and always test any product in a small area first).
- Rinse with cool, clean water and dry.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Dog Bowls
Stainless steel dog bowls are generally more hygienic than those made of other materials, but they can rust if they aren’t looked after properly and this is something you want to minimize for the sake of your dog’s health. You should:
- Avoid scratching the surface of the bowl with a scrubber – use a sponge or soft cloth and washing-up liquid to remove any food stains.
- Soak the bowl in a vinegar and warm water solution, or a bleach and cold water and cold water solution to sanitize.
- Rinse with clean water and dry.
NB: Consider rinsing your dog’s bowl each time you fill it with food or water, and give it a deep clean once a week.
How to Clean Dog Toys
These days, you’ll find most dog toys can be washed in the washing machine or the top rack of a dishwasher, depending on the materials they are made from.
You should always check the manufacturer’s instructions before washing them and then use the highest recommended temperature to remove any lingering dirt or bacteria that could affect your dog’s health.
Alternatively, as above, let your dog’s toys soak in bucket of warm water and white vinegar, or hot soapy water; scrub clean; rinse in cool water; and let air dry.
Building a dog kennel: A step-by-step guide
A DIY dog kennel in the garden is a thrifty way to give your dog a comfortable spot to relax in when the family is outside. There are lots of ways to make a DIY dog house, ranging from easy to extravagant. Here’s a simple idea to start you off:
- Look in a salvage yard for an old wooden shipping crate that’s big enough for your dog to sit in comfortably – preferably one with a lid or a hinged opening.
- Keeping the lid or open side at the top (as a roof), create an opening on one side that your dog can climb through with a saw.
- Drill a series of holes or cut some small ‘windows’ in the upper sides of the box, to let some light in
- Sand down the whole structure and apply a layer of wood sealant to protect your dog against splinters.
- If you like, you could paint the outside with yours (or your dog’s) favourite colour.
- Optionally, attach some plastic sheeting as a flap over the ‘door’ and ‘windows’ for extra weather protection. Take care to choose a material that’s flexible enough for your dog to push open and if necessary, cut the door flap into a few thick strips for easier access.
- Open up the ‘roof’ and lay some comfy old cushions and blankets over the floor of the crate.
- Replace the lid or hinged opening over the top, and lie some waterproof sheeting over it for rain protection.
- Introduce your dog to their new outdoor pad!
How to make dog toys
Inspired by your success in making a dog kennel and want to try something else? How about making DIY dog toys? It is incredibly easy to repurpose some household items into fun dogs toys. Here are a few different suggestions:
- Cover a tennis ball with an old t-shirt and secure with a knot or tightly looped hair elastic. Then, cut the remaining fabric into attached strips and plait them carefully. Your dog will love playing with the ball and tugging on the strips.
- Knot up some rope into a ball shape for your dog to play with. Use sturdy, good quality rope to prevent it fraying.
- If you’ve got old sock that needs re-using, cut a hole in the end then slip a plastic bottle inside and tie both ends with twine. This is a fun item for your dog to wrestle with to their heart’s content.