When was the last time that you cleaned out your dog’s kennel or basket? If you’re wondering where that foul doggy smell is coming from (and it’s not something brought in on the bottom of your shoe, in which case, you have a carpet cleaning problem), there’s a good chance that it’s the dog’s kennel or basket.
The dog will hate you washing their basket, as the smell is comforting and soothing for the dog. However, you’ve got to live with the pong. Question to ponder: if dogs have such sensitive noses, how come they can put up with stronger stinks that revolt the weaker human sense of smell? You will have to find some way to compromise, especially as dogs can really sulk if you dare to disturb their place (although a big Rottweiler or bull-mastiff with a case of the sulks has its funny side).
An inside basket or kennel will need to be cleaned more frequently. A good rule of thumb is to vacuum it when you vacuum the rest of the house. This will stop the worst stink offenders building up to an unbearable level, but will not totally strip your dog’s familiar smells away from the bedding. You won’t be able to smell it (much); they can. Vacuuming will pick up shed hairs and skin flakes, and this will also help to reduce the asthma risk.
But C-day will have to come eventually and the dog’s bedding will need to be washed. To compromise on the smell issue, don’t use highly scented laundry soaps. Yes, you can put most modern dog bedding into the washing machine on the delicate cycle, and you can put old-fashioned dog bedding in the form of old towels and blankets through the machine as well. Or you can hand wash the bedding, using ordinary soap, preferably unscented (this makes a good domestic cleaning job for children to do – the novelty of the task plus the foamy bubbles make it attractive). Dry dog bedding thoroughly, just as you would your own.
Outdoor dog kennels don’t have to be cleaned as frequently, but they still need to be done. The inside of an outdoor kennel can get quite nasty, as dogs will frequently take bones in to gnaw and leave them there. And it get’s worse – this writer’s dog is a real wimp about rain and decided to poo inside the kennel. That was not the nicest clean-up job! If you were sensible when you bought the dog, you bought a kennel that comes to bits easily so you can clean without any problems. Solid or wooden kennels are harder.
Start by pulling out all the bedding and other debris. Get rid of any bones or other nasties. Give the bedding a good shake to get rid of the dog hair, then either put the bedding out to wash or dump it. Then arm yourself with warm soapy water. Scrub out the inside of the kennel, then use the hose to rinse the soap out – soap residues can make the dog’s skin itch if not rinsed properly. Then turn your attention to the outside. Finally, dry the inside of the kennel. A take-down kennel is good here, as it can be left open to dry in the sun and air. If you don’t have one, use a towel and dry thoroughly. Finally, put the bedding back in.
Once you’ve washed dog beds of any kind, put a treat for the dog (preferably not a messy one – something like a rawhide strip or a dried pig’s ear is good) in the bedding to encourage them back to it and to console them for any loss of the familiar smell.