Regular cleaning of your canine’s kennel removes waste, hair or other messes. However, bacteria may remain and will spread quickly, increasing the risk of infection or illness. Regular disinfecting treatments will help keep bacteria at bay and reduce lingering odors. Commercial disinfectants are available but easy homemade solutions are simple to make.
Cleaning Before Disinfecting
Disinfectants kill bacteria but they don’t clean and remove waste. Before you even consider a disinfectant, a good cleaning is required. Begin by removing all bedding, toys and bowls. Thoroughly clean and disinfect these items separately. Use a pooper-scooper or dustpan to remove any solid waste. If possible, take the kennel outside and use a hose to rinse the entire kennel. Using a scrub brush and mild detergent, scrub all surfaces to remove dirt, urine or solid waste. Rinse thoroughly to remove soap and you are ready to disinfect.
Bleach and Water
Bleach is a common disinfectant that, according to the Humane Society and the ASPCA, is safe for dog kennels as long as you are sure to properly dilute the solution, thoroughly rinse and let air dry. Dilute one part bleach in 32 parts water. Cover all surfaces with the bleach solution and let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. While bleach is an effective disinfectant, it can corrode metal and ruin clothing. In addition, bleach can irritate your dog’s sinuses and airways.
Vinegar and Water
Vinegar is 5 percent acetic acid that works as a natural disinfectant to kill bacteria. To make your disinfecting solution, mix equal amounts of vinegar and water. Apply to all areas of the kennel and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing. White distilled vinegar has a milder smell than apple cider vinegar so this may be a better choice if you don’t want to be left with a slight pickle smell. In addition, you may add a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or orange, to the mixture to create a nice aroma.
Everything in the Kennel
Disinfecting the kennel is only part of the process. Your dog’s bowls, toys and bedding also can carry bacteria. Clean the bowls and toys in warm soapy water and rinse. Place them in a sink filled with the vinegar and water mixture and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing. Run the bedding in the washing machine with regular detergent. Add half a cup of baking soda to help eliminate odors. During the rinse cycle, add a cup of white vinegar to disinfect.
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