By: Victor Phillpotts
As pet stores quickly expand into offering services such as grooming salons, self-serve dog cleaning machines and even vet clinics, store cleanliness has become a priority to keep a safe, healthy image. Maintaining a clean perception of a shopping environment is always a challenge as higher foot and paw traffic are signs of success and a growing business. While the insides of vet clinics can maintain an infection prevention protocol in smaller contained areas, stores are challenged to keep large areas of floors and common surfaces clean. As more pet stores open vet clinics, the chances are greater that sick dogs will need to accompany their owners into stores.
Training store associates in good disinfecting and sanitizing practices is critical to maintaining a level of trust with pet parents when they are accompanied by their pets on shopping trips. That same attitude of making cleanliness a priority is also translated into sending new pet parents home with a disinfecting product that is quick, easy and mess-free. For the sake of safe paws, any cleaning protocol should utilize products that do not leave residue on floors, as paws can absorb these chemicals. Although most disinfectants and sanitizing cleaners require rinsing the surface after use, that is not always practical in high traffic areas.
With recent technology advancement in disinfectants, the old nasty-smelling hydrogen peroxides, bleaches and quaternary ammonium disinfectants are now being replaced by quick, easy and mess-free alternatives that are EPA-registered for use in the home as well as businesses, kennels, clinics and shelters. One of these new technologies is chlorine dioxide (ClO2), which has been used since the 1940s for sanitizing drinking water and, more recently, disinfecting in hospitals, food processing and even decontaminating for Anthrax. PERFORMACIDE Kills Parvo disinfectant, which has a patented pouch activation system, bringing what was once a very complex process into an easy to prepare solution. Because ClO2 is not bleach but instead a dissolved gas in water, it will not leave any residues on surfaces after drying and it will not leave streaks on glass and stainless-steel surfaces. PERFORMACIDE, when used as directed, is effective at eliminating and deactivating Canine Parvovirus, Influenza-A, Feline Calicivirus and E-coli.
Although many websites are quick to recommend bleach for disinfecting, the vapors put off by bleach can irritate an animal’s respiratory system, causing bronchial problems, as well as leave residues on surfaces that will keep emitting the vapors. Walking into a bleach-smelling store is never an inviting experience to a pet owner or the pets that visit or live in the store.
Products containing hydrogen peroxide can also present challenges because of the cleaning surfactants that these products are combined with as well as reactions with latex gloves and unintentional contact with the bare skin. These challenges can include floors feeling sticky after being mopped, a rotten egg odor when the solution touches latex gloves, and streaking on windows and stainless steel.
Any pet store that has an aquatic section is familiar with the dangers of using ammonia-based cleaning products, as ammonia vapors are quickly absorbed by the water in fish tanks, creating dangerous and deadly levels for the fish. In addition, ammonium-based disinfecting products all require thoroughly rinsing surfaces after use, which is not always practical in high traffic areas.
Once a store has established a cleaning protocol, it is also important to keep any diluted or ready-to-use solutions in properly labeled bottles so employees always have access to directions for safe use. Well-trained store associates can also be a great resource for selling pet-safe cleaning products to pet parents, thus creating additional revenue on every transaction.