Crate training your dog can be an important aspect of your dog’s integration into your household as it eases into its new position as a treasured family member. Not all dogs are candidates for crate life, but for those who are, keeping a tidy and clean crate are vital to your dog’s health and wellbeing. Dogs are naturally den animals, so they tend to keep their crates tidy. However, they do eventually begin to smell, and even the cleanest animals may bring something in on their feet. A regular crate cleaning routine is a part of being a responsible dog owner. September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month and we’re going to look at the 'whys and hows' of keeping a dog crate clean.
It is recommended that your dog’s crate be cleaned every two-to-four weeks, or immediately after an in-crate accident. Of course, if your dog is extremely active and high-energy they may develop body odor sooner. In this case clean the crate as needed, but go no longer than four weeks under normal circumstances. (Note: Giving your dog a bath while the crate is being cleaned would be optimal. However, most dogs should only be bathed once a month, so their crates may need cleaning more often than that.)
Just as clean sheets are important to you, a clean crate is important to your dog. And while it varies from breed to breed, a dog’s nose is estimated to be between 100,000 to 100 million times more sensitive than ours, so keeping a crate clean will help to keep your dog calm and relaxed in their personal space. Washing crate bedding reduces the chance of flea infestations during warmer months, as well as removes debris brought in on their coats and feet. And while unlikely, if your dog has a current flea infestation that is not being cared for, flea larvae can hatch and live in the bedding. Flea larvae are harmless to humans and pets, but are a sure sign that a larger problem is at hand and it is not a pretty sight (think ‘tiny maggots in my dog’s bed’).
To clean your dog’s crate, remember to use pet-friendly detergents and cleaning products.
Remove all soft products such as bedding and toys from the crate.
If using a metal crate, remove sliding bottom tray.
Wash all cloth items, bedding and toys. Wash plastic toys with pet-safe products.
Wipe down crate bars or plastic walls inside and out. (This does not need to be done every time, but should be done if the dog has soiled the crate.) Clean removable tray.
Place the crate and crate tray out in the sun to dry, when possible.
Vacuum or wash floor area where crate is usually placed.
(For detailed step-by-step instructions, check out Alpha Tech Pet’s link here.)
Keeping your dog’s crate clean is a necessary part of being a responsible animal guardian and one of the many ways we can show them that we care.