If your dog has had parvovirus, you probably know all too well the severity of the disease and how important treatment is to the health and survival of your canine. Treating the symptoms of the virus usually takes several days, but because parvo is so contagious, disinfecting your home and yard is also must-do for keeping the virus from spreading. In order to clean your home properly, you will need to find the right parvo disinfectant and practice effective cleaning techniques, which are both easy and effective.
What is parvo?
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious infection that affects a dog's gastrointestinal tract, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. Parvo, as it's often called, is a virus, and there is no medication that will kill the virus, specifically. Instead, parvo is combated by treating its symptoms, which commonly include vomiting and diarrhea, often leading to dehydration, protein loss, and loss of vital fluids.
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Parvo is passed via dog-to-dog contact, often via contaminated feces. Transmission can also be passed on via fabric like leashes, surfaces like kennel flooring or dog parks, and even people. This is why, in addition to treating your dog, it's necessary to properly disinfect any areas an infected dog has come into contact with. If your dog has parvo, keeping her isolated is incredibly important as this will greatly reduce the risk of passing the disease onto another canine.
Parvo disinfectant options
According to McEwen Animal Clinic, parvo can live on surfaces, including soil, for several months. Additionally, it's resistant to most common household cleaners, although there is one that it cannot survive — bleach. Interior surfaces, bedding, fabric, and other areas your dog may have been exposed to should be cleaned with a bleach solution diluted in water to kill the disease. Because the parvo virus can live on surfaces for several months, it is necessary to treat your dog's immediate environment.
Bleach, however diluted, isn't recommended for outdoor areas, like a yard or dog park. Instead, the only real thing you can do to decontaminate an outdoor area is wait it out. Parvo can withstand freezing weather but becomes more quickly broken down in sunlight. If your ground is frozen, it's recommended that you wait about five months after it has defrosted before reintroducing your canine to the area. The virus has been known to survive in shady areas, even during warm months, for up to five months, so take precautions if this applies to your space.
How to disinfect your home
Indoor surfaces can infect a dog up to a month after infection, which is why deep cleaning is as important as treating the symptoms of parvovirus. Luckily, this can be done easily with just one ingredient and a little time.
Step 1: Prepare your disinfectant
Make your bleach-water mixture in a ratio of one part bleach with 30 parts water, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine says.
Step 2: Wipe down surfaces
Apply your bleach solution to any surfaces that may have come into contact with your dog. Common spaces include bedding, food and water bowls, leashes, blankets, floors, and toys.
Step 3: Let it sit
Allow the bleach solution to sit on the surface for about 10 minutes. This will allow it to deactivate the parvovirus. Wash any treated surfaces with hot water after the solution has set.
Step 4: Steam clean additional surfaces
Use a steam cleaner to treat surfaces that cannot come into contact with bleach, like carpeting or furniture upholstery. Spray your carpet with pet-safe disinfectant and allow it to air dry.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.