Let's get real for a moment: House soiling is the No. 1 behavior problem of pets. Accidents are serious, and it's easy for pet owners to be dismayed by them. That's why it's so important to remind clients that they've brought an animal into the house, out of its natural outdoor environment and elimination habits. Although cats may easily use the litter box and dogs can be housebroken, accidents may occur.
To veterinary professionals, cleaning urine, feces, or vomit from carpet or rugs looks like a simple problem, but your work in offering support and guidance on properly cleaning and removing pet stains and odors can keep pet owners happy with their furry friends, helping maintain the pet-owner bond.
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Keep it clean and odor-free
Start by teaching pet owners that thorough cleaning is important to remove messes, odor, and potentially harmful bacteria. Offer this advice to help minimize the mess:
A quick word on products
Teach clients to clean up quickly after soiling, if possible. This not only removes the contaminants but also keeps the spot from becoming a stain. Working on soiled areas soon after the accident reduces the risk the carpet will be permanently discolored and helps thoroughly eliminate odor. Remind pet owners that odor is more than offensive; it also may draw the pet back to soil the area again.
Discuss how the liquid from urine, feces, or vomit will not only penetrate the carpet, but also saturate the padding and flooring below. The dirt needs to be removed from the entire area and depth. If the pet owner sees a six-inch area at the carpet surface, the liquid might create a 12-inch soiled area down below. Once the client applies a cleaning solution, it's important to rinse the residual solution and dry it thoroughly. Using a wet-vac or cleaning vacuum cleaner can help to completely clean and dry the area, and cleaning and spot stain removal products can help deodorize the area.
Remind clients to totally remove contaminants and odors. Before cleaning, pet owners should realize that carpet types—wool, synthetic, cotton, and so on—clean differently. Nylon is more stain-resistant, especially if treated with a stain and durable water repellent. Some stains need hot or cold water, and some need enzymes to dissolve proteins, detergents to clean, and surfactants or other ingredients to help dissolve and remove staining ingredients.
Offer a quick how-to for effective stain and odor removal. To clean, the client must first remove the solid material with a spoon or spatula, working from the outside of the soiled area to keep from spreading the mess. Next, they will absorb the liquid by blotting—not rubbing—with a clean cloth or paper towel. It doesn't need to be a white towel, as long as the color won't fade onto the spot. Old towels work really well, even if they're colored. Once pet owners remove the majority of solid material, they can use a cleaning product to complete the job. Even with a cleaning vacuum, it's important to first remove the solids. Depending on the stained material, the pet owner may use cold water or a vinegar solution before using a cleaning product.
A stain remnant might show, especially on a light-colored carpet. Repeated cleaning and rinsing might help. Toweling will help to thoroughly remove the stain. After a while, the stain might wick up from deeper in the carpet, padding, or flooring and show a stain at the surface, even a few weeks later. Extracting all the material, cleaner, and water from the carpet will help. It will also help keep the padding and flooring from being damaged.
Remind pet owners that Berber or looped carpet can be most difficult to clean. Although it wears better, it tends to hold stains, trapping the material in the tightly woven carpet fibers.