There’s nothing like the feeling you get after a good spring cleaning—but have you given any thought to your pet’s gear? Raleigh Pawz knows that our pets are more like us than we might care to admit—and they may relish that fresh-and-clean feeling just as much as we do. Giving Fido’s crate, dishes, and other gear a good scrub-down will not only make your pet feel pampered—it will help keep them healthier too!

When’s the last time you sterilized your pup’s water bowl? Washed their bedding? If you can’t remember, it’s been far too long. Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work!

Cleaning Crate and Bedding

Even if Fido only spends time in their crate occasionally, it can still be a hotbed for parasites, viruses, and other nasties. Remove any towels or blankets inside the crate and launder them according to their fabric care instructions. If you have a hard-sided crate, wash out the interior with warm, soapy water until it is sparkling clean. Be sure to take out the removable tray (if applicable) and clean it as well. Small soft-sided crates can be washed in the sink, and larger ones can be hosed down outside. Or remove your crate’s cover and launder it in your washing machine. Make sure it is fully dry before use.

Vacuum your pet’s bedding thoroughly to remove pet hair and dander, wiping it down with a damp towel to remove any clingy leftovers. If the bedding cover is removable, launder it in the washing machine with a gentle detergent and the hottest water the fabric can handle. And that dirty, nasty towel in the corner that he loves to lounge on for no good reason? Wash that, too.

Cleaning Food and Water Bowls

Considering Fido puts his mouth into these items many times each day, this is a no-brainer. And according to the 2011 NSF International Household Germ Study, the pet food bowl is ranked the fourth most germy item in the household—two places above the bathroom faucet handle! Keeping Fido’s food and water bowls clean will help prevent common gastrointestinal issues and other health problems. Many of these items are dishwasher safe—or you can sterilize them using a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water, according to www.clorox.com.

Cleaning Collars and Leashes

These items are often overlooked—but they need the occasional cleaning as well. Try soaking these items in warm water, using dog shampoo or a gentle cleanser. Allow them to dry fully before use.

Cleaning Toys

If your best friend’s best friend looks like it spent the past week in a prolonged mud wrestling tournament, it’s time to give it a good washing. Check the tag on fabric items for cleaning instructions. You’ll want to use unscented, natural detergent and skip the dryer sheet. Many plastic and rubber toys are dishwasher safe. Check all toys for rips and exposed elements that might injure your pet. If Fido’s favorite toy is damaged beyond repair, you’ll need to throw it out. Fido will forgive you. Eventually.