The best way to clean and maintain your pet’s sporting and mobility brace.
While dog braces can be very sturdy and durable, they do require some basic maintenance to keep them in good working order. Just like you do your laundry to have clean and hygienic clothing, you want to do the same for anything your pet wears.
Orthopedic braces for dogs can be used to support a variety of injuries or complications from aging such as: hip dysplasia, CCL knee injuries, arthritis, and neurological disorders. These types of braces can improve oxygen supply to the muscles to relieve muscle soreness from pressure, aging or injury.
Why Clean Your Dog’s Brace?
As your dog participates in tedious activities or physical exercise, their braces can start to soak up a mixture of dirt and bodily fluids like sweat. When this all builds up on your dog’s brace, they can start to carry a bad odor in addition to increasing risk of infection. Staph infections, ringworm, and folliculitis are just a few problems that can arise from not properly tending to your pet’s orthopedic bracing.
What is your pet’s brace made of?
Braces are often made from a combination of materials, which include neoprene, fabric, leather, plastic, and metal. Neoprene braces can be especially tedious to care for because these types of material easily harbor bacteria and are not typically a great option for an effective brace, especially for ventilation. Braces made from a high-quality breathable material like Balto Braces are not only much more stable, but are better for blocking harmful viruses from getting under the brace.
Almost all orthopedic braces require that the brace be hand washed and air-dried to prevent any warping. This promotes the longevity and optimal cleanliness of the brace. Some 100% mesh or nylon braces can be machine washable, but typically these types of braces don’t have quality integrity to begin with (look at the tag for washing recommendations).
Check the Brace Weekly
It is a good idea to check the brace at least weekly. Check all the straps and compression pads for wear and tear. Be sure to check for chew marks on the straps, too. If you see chew marks, you can try spraying the brace with a chew repellent made for pets. You don’t want your dog to start any bad habits of chewing on the straps. Looking at the Velcro straps is important as well since they easily attract hair and dirt. For this, you can use a wire brush to comb in one direction to remove any debris and keep the Velcro sticky.
What Do You Need to Hand Wash Your Dog’s Brace?
It is strongly recommended not to use any type of brush to clean your pet’s brace. Most bacteria and viruses can be removed by gently massaging an antibacterial soap or laundry detergent into the material and rinsing it with warm water. Be sure to use a cleanser that your pet is not allergic to. If there is a stain that cannot come out with handwashing, lightly use a damp wash rag or toothbrush to separate the foreign substance from the material.
What Steps Should You Take To Clean Your Dog’s Brace?
- Soak: Deconstruct the brace by taking out any removable straps or removable metal splints. Mix enough laundry detergent and/or antibacterial soap with warm water in a bowl and soak the orthopedic braces for about five minutes to loosen any dirt, sweat, or stains.
- Massage/Scrub: Next, gently massage the dirt and grime out of the brace. As mentioned before, using a washrag or toothbrush lightly for any persistent stains is ok, but try to avoid to maintain the integrity of the material.
- Rinsing: Rinse the brace by using the sprayer setting at a sink. You can also run the braces under a tap, but you should use enough water. Be sure to rub and squeeze the brace as you rinse to ensure all dirt and soap is removed.
- Drying: Air-dry your brace after pressing all the water out of them. If you’re in a hurry to dry them, you can use a hairdryer that’s set at the ‘cool’ or ‘low heat level’ to dry. Do not use a dryer unless the brace’s cleaning instructions say it’s okay.
If the brace still has an odor after cleaning, try repeating the steps again, but soak with a small amount of vinegar first.
A clean, and well-maintained canine orthopedic brace can promote optimal healing and comfort for your pet. Just spending a little additional time weekly, or whenever you apply or remove the brace, to ensure the brace is in good condition is time well spent for you, your dog, and the longevity of the brace.