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How to Maintain a Clean Environment for Your Pet

There are various types of pets you can choose for your family. It is important to know how to clean up after the inhabitants of your home, and this certainly includes your pets. Different pets require various amounts of space within your home, as well as consistent care and feeding.

Animal Boundaries Cleaning and Care Special tips
Cats Roam freely over your home, high surfaces are no bar! Provide a flap if you want your cat to go outdoors. Attend to litter tray daily; clean cat bed fortnightly. Fleas are inevitable unless you take action. See the vet for specialist sprays and tablets. Use a flea collar and change it every three months.
Dogs With training, can be restricted to certain rooms in the house. Consider restricting to downstairs only or not allowing the dog in the kitchen or lounge. Shake out bedding weekly; thoroughly clean it at least monthly. Keep a towel by the door to rub down your dog and clean off muddy paws before it comes into the house.
Fish Small coldwater fish in a goldfish bowl; larger and warm water fish in tanks. Replace 20 per cent of the water each week using a siphon. Monthly, scrub away algae using a specialist scrubber on a handle. Never be tempted to put your fish into a temporary bowl with water straight from the tap for a few moments whilst you do a complete water change on a tank. The shock of so much fresh water could kill them.
Gerbils Indoors in a lidded tank. A gerbil can make a big mess simply burrowing about, so check that its bedding (white kitchen paper) is still in one place each day. Scoop out soiled wood shavings regularly, and top up. Every three months do a major clear-up. Take everything out the cage and disinfect. (Put your gerbil into a secure ventilated container while you do this.) Dry very thoroughly.
Guinea pigs Outdoors in a weatherproof home. Bring into the shed or porch when the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Each day, take up soiled wood shavings and replace with fresh. Change soft hay bedding weekly. Prone to mites. Get treatment from your vet and wear gloves when replacing bedding.
Hamsters Indoors in a large clear plastic cage that’s somewhere warm, but not in direct sunlight. Each week replace sawdust on the floor and put out fresh bedding – soft kitchen paper is okay. Never use cotton wool for bedding. The fibres could choke your hamster. Try to clean the cage in the morning or evening. Your nocturnal hamster likes a long daytime sleep.
Rabbits Outdoors, in a large weatherproofed hutch. Clean out soiled wood shavings daily. Change hay or shredded-paper bedding weekly. Don’t slacken with the daily cleaning. Rabbits in dirty conditions can fall prey to flystrike – basically an infestation of maggots – which can be fatal.
Reptiles Keep snakes and lizards indoors in a totally secure cage; keep tortoises outdoors, with access to a dry, secure hutch. Snakes and lizards need specialist care, so much so that many animal charities don’t recommend them as pets. For detailed advice see Reptiles & Amphibians For Dummies by Patricia Bartlett or Turtles & Tortoises For Dummies by Liz Palika, both published by Wiley.
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