How to Clean the Carpet After Parvo

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Once your dog recovers from parvovirus, the hard part is over, but there is still an important job to do. There's a high risk of transmitting the virus to other dogs through contaminated objects. Learn how to disinfect carpet thoroughly with an effective parvo-killing cleaner, or you risk spreading the devastating illness to another dog.

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Parvo is highly contagious.
Image Credit: Far700/iStock/GettyImages

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What is parvovirus?

Parvovirus (or parvo for short) is a common and highly contagious virus that spreads through contaminated dog feces. It can spread through direct contact, such as if a dog sniffs or licks contaminated feces. It can also spread through indirect contact, such as if a dog sniffs or licks something that had contact with contaminated feces. Young puppies and unvaccinated dogs are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

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Most of the damage caused by parvovirus is in the small intestine, where it inhibits nutrient absorption, impairs the protective lining of the gut, and destroys healthy cells. It can also do damage to the heart and bone marrow. Since it's primarily a gastrointestinal disease, the symptoms most associated with parvovirus are nausea, persistent vomiting, and severe (often bloody) diarrhea. This contributes to the highly infectious nature of the virus.

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Keep an infected dog away from other dogs and contained in one room if possible. Dogs who are sick with parvo are often unable to control their bowels and can make a mess that puts other dogs at risk of infection. This mess might end up on your carpet. It's extremely important that you know how to clean and disinfect your carpet with the tools and cleaners that will effectively kill the virus to prevent other dogs from getting very sick.

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Pick the right carpet cleaner

You must use a disinfectant carpet cleaner that's proven to kill parvo. When something says it kills viruses, it doesn't necessarily mean it is a parvovirucide disinfectant. Chlorine bleach cleans parvo, but since it will irreversibly lighten the color of any carpet, you might be looking for an alternative.

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Use a carpet cleaner that contains any of these chemicals to kill parvo left on your carpet:

  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Accelerated hydrogen peroxide
  • Potassium peroxymonosulfate

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Does steam kill parvo?

Steam cleans parvo. A hand-held steam cleaner would be a useful investment when trying to rid your home of parvovirus and protect other dogs from infection. Carpets are difficult to clean thoroughly because there are so many places a virus can hide. Plus, your options for cleaning a carpet are limited compared to cleaning a hard, nonporous surface.

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To use a steam cleaner to kill parvo, fill the steam cleaner with your disinfectant. Check the label for instructions on how much to dilute it. Go over every contaminated area several times to make sure you don't miss a spot.

Prevent future accidents

Once your dog has an accident inside the house, the smell increases the risk of it happening again even if he isn't sick anymore. If there is any odor left when you've finished disinfecting your carpet, a bio-enzymatic cleaner can help eliminate any residual waste. The enzymes in the cleaner break pet odors and stains down to a state where bacteria can consume them. This reduces the chances of your dog doing his business in the same spot again.

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