Research by dog-friendly holiday letting specialists, Canine Cottages reveals the dirty truth about our dogs’ everyday items including their leads, toys, and bowls.
To determine just how filthy our pooches’ essentials are, eight different dog items were swabbed, then the relative light units (the higher the RLU, the dirtier the area) of each item were analysed to reveal which were the filthiest of them all.
Dog leads carried the most bacteria, followed by toys and water bowls. For comparison, a dogs’ toy had 21 times more bacteria than a human teddy bear, whilst their bed is six times dirtier than a human bed.
Given we’re approaching the cooler months of autumn where we experience more cold and wet days, this causes our pooches to pick up more bacteria during their walks, especially if it’s muddy.
It’s therefore important that dog owners put extra measures in place to keep their dogs' everyday essentials clean to limit germs and protect their health.
Here are some tips, with a little help from experts Laura Lambert from Dragonfly Products and Julie Butcher from Web box, to keep your dog and their possesssions clean.
Handwash the items in mild detergent and then leave them to dry on a line or over a radiator.
For really dirty items, pop them inside a pillowcase to prevent damage to the washing machine and do a handwash cycle using mild detergent.
Most soft dog toys can be washed in the washing machine. You can use a dog-safe laundry detergent to clean and sanitise the toys or you can opt for a totally natural method of baking soda and white vinegar during the washing cycle. Then hang them out on the line or on the radiator.
Toys that have been left in the garden pose a lungworm threat as slugs and snails are carriers of this parasite, so beware of slug and snail trails on toys and balls! Balls and rubber toys can be soaked in white vinegar and baking soda for 30 minutes to clean them.
Handwash bowls in hot water with washing-up liquid or put them into the dishwasher (check they are dishwasher safe) for a deep clean.
We also recommend cleaning raw and wet food bowls daily (raw-fed dogs should also have their water bowls cleaned every day) and at least three times a week for dry food.
You’ll need to ensure you are using only non-toxic and non-irritating detergents. If washing it by hand, fill up the sink with warm water and some gentle detergent, and once washed, place the bed in an airing cupboard or outside to dry.
When using a washing machine, choose a temperature of 40°C or above, so you can be sure that all the bacteria will be killed.
Of course, our pooches will come home with mucky paws if the weather is wet whilst on their walk so it’s important that owners don’t forget to clean them. The last thing you want is for your pooch to bring dirt into your home or even worse, spread the dirt and bacteria from their paws onto their toys which they’ll undoubtedly have in their mouth at some point.
If their paws are just a little dusty, simply wet a towel or cloth and wipe them down
If there is mud or debris stuck between the pads or on the foot put them in the tub for a thorough wash. Using dog-friendly products, gently scrub the dirty areas thoroughly and then completely rinse away the shampoo and debris using lukewarm water.
No matter how you’re cleaning their paws, never forget to wipe around their toes and nails too.