Pets

8 vet-approved cleaning hacks that will make every pet parent's life infinitely better

Free yourself from fur (and other messes).

By Amber Manto
Pets are amazing to have around but aren't exactly the cleanest of housemates. Fur, vomit, toileting accidents - they are like a wild Saturday night 24/7. Not only are their bodily functions messy, being playful little things they love to create mess too. Good thing is there are ways to minimise how much damage they actually do...

1. Get a pet that suits your level of commitment

Sounds obvious enough but not everything thinks of this before welcoming an animal into their home. So, before buying a pet, do your research and choose an animal that will work for you and your lifestyle. If you can't cope with the maintenance of a fluffy Samoyed dog or a Persian cat then don't even go there.
"Breeds with thick double coats will regularly shed hair, whereas breeds such as the Poodle, Maltese, Schnauzer and Bichon are low shedding," explains veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren. "While these breeds leave little hair around the house, they still require regular grooming and trimming to keep their coat clean and healthy."
And when it comes to felines?
"Low-shedding cat breeds include the Devon Rex and Cornish Rex."

^ These guys.

2. Use the right fur-grooming tools for the job

If it's too late and you've already chosen a big fluffy furball then suck it up commit to regular at-home salon sessions which will help remove loose fur before it winds up on your furniture, clothes and basically anything black.
"The more hair in the brush, the less in your house," says Dr Katrina.

Also, to do the job right, you need the proper salon tools.
"Choose the right brush for your breed – use a rubber brush for short coats and a slicker brush for removing undercoat and loose hair in long-haired dogs. An undercoat rake is also useful for breeds such as the Husky or Samoyed."

While we're on that note, do yourself a favour and invest in a decent, high-suction vacuum that's designed to pick up pet hair like the Electrolux Ergorapido Series 5 Pet Power. Top tip though: as tempting as it might be Dr Katrina says it's not recommended you vacuum your dog or cat direct (would you want that done to you?!).

3. Stay away from fur-loving fabrics

Steer clear of having certain fabrics in your home such as wool, velvet and tweed as these are notorious pet hair collectors. Instead, go for ultrasuede, microfiber or crypton and make sure you have the right tools to care for your fabric surfaces so they stay smelling fresh.

4. Install the right flooring and be forever grateful

If you want a pet then avoid wall-to-wall carpet at all costs as this will only become a giant fur trap, not to mention a pain to clean off vomit. Tiles and floorboards are way easier to manage but choose the right colour flooring – dark floorboards will obviously show up light pet hair more than light floorboards will.

5. Feed them well and reap the benefit of fewer hairballs

Hairballs go with the pet parenting territory but if your little fluff ball is coughing them up like no tomorrow Dr Katrina suggests a high-fibre diet will sort them out. It won't necessarily stop them altogether but it will help minimise how many you'll have to clean up as they'll come out easier, rather than in little piles around the house.
“This helps pets digest better and get the furballs through the system,” explains Dr Katrina.

6. Be as fussy with your litterbox selection as your cat is

Cats are particular little things so if you're struggling with litter kicked all over the floor or lingering smells you should switch up the type of litterbox you have or try a different type of litter - just change this gradually or your cat will be annoyed and go to the bathroom elsewhere.
"You might find you have a different experience with the smell as some litters smell differently to others."
Dr Katrina also suggests trying a hooded litterbox to mask those unpleasant smells, or one that has higher sides and a matt at the front if escaping litter is your problem.

7. Clean up urine properly or expect a repeat offence

Toileting accidents can happen, especially with puppies, kittens and older animals. The trick here is to make sure you don't just use whatever you can find in the laundry cupboard.
“The biggest mistake people can make is using household cleaners. You actually need an enzyme cleaner otherwise you’re just masking the smell and it will come back if it gets wet or humid,” says Dr Katrina. “And the problem with that is cats will tend to go back to the same place if it's not cleaned properly.”

8. Stop them using their water and food bowls like toys

You know the drill, you wake up and there's water all over the kitchen floor and your pet's food bowl is wedged under the lounge. There's two easy fixes for this mess.
“You need to get heavy ceramic or terracotta bowls and put them on a non-stick matt.”