How to Clean Your Dog Playpen
No matter how well-trained your dog may be, he cannot take care of that most essential of chores; namely, cleaning the playpen. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it and that someone is you. But the task can be kept simple and less unpleasant if you clean the playpen regularly and properly.
Properly cleaning a dog playpen is vital not just for the obvious reasons of odors and cleanliness but for the animal’s health. If cleaning is ignored or not done regularly, waste material, hairs, germs and bacteria will quickly accumulate and these can be harmful to your dog. There are many commercial products available which will disinfect the playpen and eliminate odors but there are simple home-made alternatives which will do the job just as well, and better in some cases, and are pet-friendly.
Many domestic cleaners contain ammonia and are really not suitable for cleaning a dog playpen as animals often find ammonia to be an eye, nose and throat irritant. For this reason, it is best to use ammonia-free disinfectants and cleaners such as bleach, vinegar or baking soda.
- Using bleach to disinfect a playpen is perfectly fine as long as it has been properly diluted. The mixture should be fairly weak, 32 parts water to one of bleach is recommended, and should be thoroughly rinsed off when finished and the playpen allowed to dry completely. The downside is that bleach is a corrosive substance and will corrode metal over time. Powerful and effective as bleach is, it is probably better used on plastic or nylon portable dog playpens.
- Ordinary vinegar is a weak acetic acid and is a natural disinfectant. Mixing water and vinegar in equal amounts makes an effective disinfectant and is totally pet-safe. If the smell of vinegar is not to your, or your dog’s liking, using distilled white vinegar or adding lavender oil to the mixture will reduce any residual vinegar smell.
- Baking Soda. Mildly abrasive and odor-absorbing, baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent although not a disinfectant. Mixed with warm water and salt, the paste produced is great for scouring and cleaning and will remove even the most stubborn stains and ingrained dirt.
The Cleaning Process
Regular cleaning will make the cleaning process easier as well as being better for your dog’s health. Depending on how much use the playpen gets, it is generally advised to clean and disinfect it at least once a week and more often if required. A portable dog playpen will obviously not need to be cleaned as often unless, of course, it is being used very regularly.
- Clean First. Any bedding, bowls or other doggy paraphernalia should be removed as these will be cleaned separately later on and all dog waste collected and properly disposed of.
- Rinse Down. If it’s possible to take the playpen outside, then a good hosing down will remove a lot of leftover dog waste. This works well for a wire or plastic portable dog playpen but might not be feasible for larger indoor playpens. In this case, rinse down the playpen with warm water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.
- Scrub Up. Using the cleaning agent of your choice it’s time to use some elbow grease and scrub the floor and walls of the playpen. Regardless of whether the playpen is made of wire or plastic, a good scrubbing is required and a hard-bristle brush is ideal for this purpose. When finished, give the playpen a quick rinse with warm water to remove any excess cleaning agent and dry off with kitchen paper or a dry cloth and leave everything to dry thoroughly and, if possible, in the open air.
- Finish Up. Now that the playpen is pristine, it’s time to turn your attention to the contents. Bowls and toys can be cleaned using the same cleaning agent and any bedding or blankets can be put through the washing machine after first giving them a good rinse in hot, soapy water.
It may not be the most pleasant of chores but maintaining your dog’s playpen in good order is part of being a responsible owner. Your dog may not be able to say “Thank you” but you will know by his reaction that he is more than happy with your efforts when he returns to his newly cleaned and spruced-up home. And a happy dog is more than enough thanks for your time and work!