Tips For Cleaning And Disinfecting In Shelters

August 15, 2014

One of the most important aspects of keeping animals in a sheltering situation is cleanliness and sterilization. This is especially true when many of your charges are coming from abusive or neglectful backgrounds. You will save lives by ensuring that all individual living spaces and community areas are kept clean and free of infectious material. In addition to the benefit of saved lives, happy, healthy animals are much more likely to be adopted into their forever homes.
The first thing to note is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the physical removal of waste material, such as sweeping, picking up poop, taking out the garbage, and scrubbing the dirt from cages. Disinfecting is the use of chemicals to destroy the pathogens, which transmit infectious disease. There are many different types and classes of chemicals for this purpose. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific diseases that are most prevalent at your shelter. This will help determine which solutions you should be using. Here are some tips to help you keep on top of the momentous task of maintaining a healthy environment for the animals in your care:
• Always keep sick animals segregated from the healthy animals to avoid further infection.
• Maintain a schedule: Set which rooms are to be cleaned on which days and keep to it all the time.
• Switch it up with your disinfectant solutions. As discussed before, different solutions are more or less effective against different diseases. You can rotate different solutions on a weekly schedule, switch up bi-monthly, or even have a quarterly rotation.
• Observe proper hand-washing procedures. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be helpful, but it is not effective against Parvo, Ring Worm, or Calcivirus. Properly washing your hands between handling animals and after taking off gloves is the safest way to ensure that infection is not passed from animal to animal.
• Be mindful of which animals you handle, in which order. Always have an idea of which animals are more likely to be susceptible to disease. Instead of going through the room and removing animals from their cages, one by one, handle the babies first, then move on to the healthy adults, who will be the most resistant to infection.
To learn more about protecting your animals and your shelter, visit us here.

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