No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from AKC Family Dog, March/April, 2010.
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We all know that dogs are among the most noble, loving, sensitive creatures on earth, so how is it that at the same time, they can be, well, so earthy. It's the great canine conundrum, and a mystery that may never be solved.
Luckily, with some planning and know-how, we can learn to live with the less tidy aspects of our canine companions while keeping our human sense of propriety intact. FAMILY DOG offers some tips on how to achieve this important balance.
1. Slaying Slingers
Many breeds, including Basset Hounds, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, Newfoundlands, and Saint Bernards are known for their tendency to drool. Owners of these dogs are aware of the problem; some even write odes to it. The Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America even calls its newsletter The Bimonthly Slobber.
Dog folk have a word for blobs of drool that fly off a dog's face and land anywhere-floor, windows, walls, and ceilings. They call them slingers.
For drool on glass, a traditional home recipe calls for white or apple cider vinegar, water, and elbow grease. Other recipes add rubbing alcohol and a couple of drops of scented essential oils, such as lavender.
Some companies have developed products specifically for this problem. Bissell, for example, recently introduced the "Drool Cleaner," which features a canister filled with cleaning solution, a squeegee, and a brush. Our tester, whose Basset Hounds Charlie and Harvey often leave decorations on her car windows, found the solution to be effective and the squeegee much quicker and easier to use than paper towels. Another company, Shark, is marketing a portable steamer, which is designed to melt drool off glass without chemicals.
For walls, wood, and counter tops that have been surfed and slimmed, many dog owners swear by the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
2. Runs in the City
t's just good manners to pick up after your dog, and in some places, it makes good financial sense as well. In New York City, for example, the fine for failing to scoop poop is $100.
Martha Feltenstein, president of the American Tibetan Mastiff Association, lives in one of the most crowded sections of the city, midtown Manhattan, and has had as many as five Tibetan- Mastiffs, as well as a few Tibetan Spaniels, at a time. Like all dog owners, Feltenstein sometimes has to deal with canine diarrhea, and picking up after a dog the size of a Tibetan Mastiff Can he daunting. "It's not like walking a Yorkie," she observes.
Feltenstein says her solution is the Dispoz-A-Scoop. These scoopers feature a bag held on a rigid wire frame, with a cardboard handle that closes like a guillotine once the mess is tucked inside. When her dogs have the runs, Feltenstein uses two, "like a clamshell."
For serious cases, or for people who want to keep the streets very clean, some New Yorkers use a combination of a newspaper, paper towels, and a couple of plastic grocery bags. It requires a little coordination to slip the newspaper under the dog as soon as he strikes the telltale pose. Then toss a few paper towels over the mess, fold the papers, and transfer the bundle to the plastic bag for a neat trip to the nearest trash can.
3. And in the Home
Gastric upsets observe no clock and respect no property, so it is likely that a dog who has diarrhea and nausea will at some point soil the floor. After cleaning up as much of the solids as possible, it's a matter of preventing stains and odors from lingering. One home remedy for vomit on rugs calls for sprinkling baking soda user the spot, waiting for it to dry, then vacuuming the next day. As part of its pet line Bissell has a compact product, its Foaming Pet Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, designed with a built-in brush for spot cleaning.
Even a dog who is perfectly house trained may sometimes have accidents. Old age, urinary-tract infections, or diseases like diabetes and Cushing's may result in urine stains on your dog's bedding, as well as your floors and carpets. There are several products that contain enzymes or combinations of enzymes and bacteria. The more popular ones are Natures Miracle and Simple Solution. These products come in formulas for upholstery, fabric, and rugs, as well as for hardwood and tile floors. First blot, don't rub, away any excess before applying the solution. And all of the manufacturers of these products recommend saturating the area, and being patient, because it may take several hours to days to work.
5. "Striped Kitty"
"Young coonhounds love those 'striped kitties,' "says Steve Fielder, director of the AKC Coonhound Events department. But you don't have to he a hunting dog to have a close encounter with a skunk. They have a geographic distribution from the Yukon down to Mexico, so it's possible to get skunked, even in the best neighborhoods. The unique stink bombs come from their anal glands, which contain a potent mixture of sulfur-containing compounds and smell like a combination of rotten eggs, garlic, and burnt rubber. For many years, tomato juice was the deodorizer of choice, but it doesn't really work very well. Fielder, who has dealt with more than one skunked hound, offers this formula to neutralize the odor: Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing liquid. The mixture must be used immediately, because it is unstable. If you cap it and attempt to store it, the container may explode.
6. Gum Balls and Tar Heels
They roll in gum, brush against freshly painted walls, get tar on their paws, and find substances we didn't know existed to mess up their hair. Luckily, sticky substances, such as tar and chewing gum, can be effectively removed with vegetable oil or peanut butter. One fancier suggests baby oil works as well.
Mild dishwashing liquid is also recommended, especially the Blue Dawn dish soap, which is effective on oilbased paint as well as grease. Some people use both, eliminating the sticky substance with oil or peanut butter, and then following with a bath in mild dishwashing liquid, always being careful to keep the soap out of eyes and ears.
Of course, some things just won't be washed away. One Siberian Husky breeder once dropped a whole pitcher of grape juice on her light-colored show dogs a week before a big show. "Alas," she recalls, "nothing totally got the grape juice our of the coats. Luckily, the show was outside, and when I showed the dogs it was raining and I wore a red suit. Everyone just thought that I was wearing a really cheap suit and that the red dye was transferring from the suit onto the dogs."
7. Floor Exercises
The fog may roll in on little cat feet, but you can rely on dogs to track in everything else, from blood to mud. It's a challenge to keep the floors clean without using strong chemicals that may pose a hazard to dogs.
For day-to-day cleaning, manufacturers offer a variety of machines, from steam mops to robotic floor scrubbers. The robot, known as Scooba, is a small round machine that will wash the floor with just a touch of the button. It can be used with a cleaning solution designed for the plain water, or a combination of vinegar and plain water.
Several companies are marketing mops designed to clean floors with hot steam. A trial run of the Shark Steam Pocket Mop found it very effective in removing ground-in dirt, muddy paw prints, and coffee stains from cream-colored floor tiles.
The floor dried almost immediately, and the clean-up consisted of removing the terry-cloth mop cover and dropping it in the wash. Perhaps the only downside was that the hissing sound of the team scared my dog.
One woman had a dog who got into some red paint, leaving crimson paw prints all over the floor. She successfully removed the prints, and the paint on the paws. by scrubbing with dishwashing liquid.
8. Fresh Blood
With any luck, you won't be dealing with blood stains too often or on an ongoing basis. But, should you have to, the best way, is to tackle fresh blood on fabric is to soak the item and the stain in cold water.
Some people also recommend treating the stain with hydrogen peroxide or a mixture of dishwashing liquid and cold water.
9. Ancient Stains
As a rule, get it while it's fresh-otherwise it may be impossible. When dealing with slingers one long-time Mastiff fancier warns, "Do not let it dry. it turns gray to black and like cement."
Dried urine stains can he particularly tricky, since you may he able to smell them but not see them. To find these hidden stink spots, professional cleaners rely on machines to pinpoint the source of the smell. Today consumers can purchase similar devices for the home, such as the Stink-Finder, an ultraviolet light designed to make urine stains glow. Bio Pro Research, LLC, offers its mini-urine finder, a small flashlight, along with its Urine Off enzymatic/bacterial product.
10. When Decorating, Think Dog
Love the idea of French doors? So did one woman who owned several Dogues de Bordeaux. Unfortunately, she failed to consider what all those French doors would look like after her dogs spent time gazing through them with their noses pressed against the glass. Likewise for those cream-colored tiles, bright carpets, or the $3,00 Persian rug. Perhaps bare floors will be the best way to go in multi-dog households.
Keeping canines in mind when designing or decorating your home can make it easier to maintain a pleasant environment, no matter what your dog digs up, throws up, or tracks in.