How to Get Parvo Out of Your Home

Picture of a girl and dog in the kitchen

If your dog has been diagnosed with parvovirus, you have a lot of work ahead of you. Since parvovirus is highly contagious and can be fatal, it is essential that you thoroughly clean both your home and your yard to be sure to kill this deadly disease. Parvovirus is extremely hardy, being able to resist even the most potent disinfectants and thriving in dark, moist environments for months indoors and years outdoors. If you think your yard may be contaminated, you may be asking—how do you get parvo out of your yard?

What Areas Need to Be Disinfected?

Since parvovirus is highly contagious, any area a dog affected by the disease has frequented within a house and yard should then be thoroughly disinfected to kill the virus. But parvovirus is not just passed into a household through an infected animal, people can also bring parvo into their home environment through their shoes and clothing.

Among the areas you will need to clean and disinfect for parvovirus in a home are:

  • All furniture and flooring in a household
  • Dog bedding including blankets and beds
  • Grass, patio furniture, plants, tile, landscaping materials, and more
  • Clothing and shoes

Where Do I Start?
When cleaning your home and yard to kill parvovirus, the first step is removing any feces on your property. Since feces is one of the primary ways that parvo is spread, you will need to use several bags first to scoop the poop then to double or triple bag it prior to disposal. This method adds an extra layer of protection against the potential transmission of disease.

How Do I Kill Parvovirus Indoors?

For indoor cleaning, experts recommend the use of chlorine bleach to kill parvovirus. To work its most effectively, the bleach should be dilute with the correct measurements being 1 part of bleach to 30 parts of water. This solution is highly effective at killing parvovirus on hard surfaces. To ensure its efficacy, this solution should be sprayed over the affected area until it is thoroughly coated then allowed to sit for 10-15 minutes. Following this waiting time, the disinfectant should be properly rinsed.

However, some household items can become damaged through the use of bleach. In these cases, it is best to obtain an appropriate disinfectant from your veterinarian such as Virkon-S. Among the best applications for Virkon-S are:

  • Carpet
  • Pillows, blankets, curtains
  • Bedding
  • Clothes

In some cases, a color-safe, dilute bleach solution can be utilized to pre-treat fabrics. It is recommended that a small part of the material be tested prior to applying any dilute bleach spray to the entire item. For materials that are safe to treat in this fashion, it is a good idea to immerse the fabric in the bleach solution for 10-15 minutes.

Parvovirus dislikes both heat and light, making steam cleaning another means by which to eradicate this hardy disease. To work effectively, the steam cleaning unit must be capable of maintaining a temperature of 120 to 130 degrees for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.

Once fabrics have been properly treated, wet fabrics can be hung in the outdoors to dry. The access to heat and light provides an additional means by which to kill any extremely virulent bacteria that may remain in the fabric. Alternatively, you can run fabric items through your dryer on its highest heat setting.

How Do I Kill Parvovirus Outdoors?

As challenging as it can be to thoroughly remove all traces of parvovirus from your home, it pales in comparison to the task of killing this virus in your yard.  Because backyards contain many soft surfaces that are porous and sometimes comprised of organic materials, parvovirus can be very elusive. More than this, organic matter and landscaping items in particular contain cracks and crevices where the virus can hide, making it far more difficult for you to find it and kill it.

The same principles apply to killing a virus outdoors as inside our homes: an appropriate disinfectant must be permitted to sit on an affected surface for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes to operate efficiently. This is not always possible in the great outdoors; particularly, in areas that are known for favoring the ideal conditions in which parvovirus likes to grow: moistness and darkness.

What are Some of the Challenges in Killing Parvo in Your Yard?
Since your yard is largely comprised of soft, porous surfaces that aren’t level, you really face a difficult task trying to find and kill parvovirus. Landscaping materials and grass are very difficult to coat entirely with a disinfectant. A surface that may appear to be completely coated with a disinfecting solution may be totally dry on the underside or may even contain gaps where the cleaner has not penetrated. These little pockets make the ideal spots for this hardy virus to hide and to thrive.

But more than this; when dogs defecate or vomit in your yard, these materials permeate far more than the surface. Bacteria contained within vomit and feces infiltrate the material, seeping down beneath the surface and causing the virus to reach even further depths. Though you can treat these areas with a proper disinfectant spray, it is very difficult to determine all of the areas that came in contact with the vomit and feces and how to reach them with a cleaning agent.

But perhaps the largest challenge you will face in ridding parvovirus from your yard is the size of the area that needs to be treated. Surface items such as planters and patio furniture can easily be treated; however, spraying an entire lawn and the landscaping materials and plants contained within it is an expensive, time-consuming, and daunting task.

What are the Best Products to Kill Parvovirus on Organic Matter?
Unfortunately, powerful disinfectants such as chlorine bleach lose their efficacy in organic material. This means that though bleach is an excellent choice for killing parvo indoors, you need to search for another product that will work effectively outdoors.

When disinfecting your yard, there are other factors that must be considered. Your backyard is a common gathering place not only for your pets but also for your family. This means that whatever disinfectant you choose to address the parvo problem must be safe for the environment as well as for the people and pets that spend time there.

There are several different products you can choose from to disinfect your yard from parvovirus. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to the options available to you. If you select a pre-mixed disinfectant rated as safe for use around dogs, you will pay a much higher sticker price than if you opt for a product that you will have to mix yourself but that carries a warning about use around people and pets.

Here are some of the best products you can use to kill parvovirus in your yard:

Sniper Hospital Disinfectant

A disinfectant powerful enough for medical use in institutions and doctors’ offices, Sniper is safe for use around humans and is believed to cause no harm to the environment. Sniper has been proven effective against some of the most life-threatening viruses including HIV, hepatitis, staphylococcus, and parvovirus. This disinfectant is so safe that has been approved for use in ventilizing units, killing the virus within ten minutes of contact through a thin, continuous mist.

Sniper is one of a few disinfectants that does not lose its disease-killing properties when utilized on or near organic matter. It is rated as safe for use around people, dogs, and birds. The main ingredient in Sniper is chlorine dioxide, a chemical agent that kills fungi, viruses, and bacteria. A highly intelligent biocide, chlorine dioxide can discern between helpful and harmful bacteria, effectively destroying things that are unsafe and promoting things that are beneficial.

Sniper is available in a ready to use format that requires no dilution. It is safe enough for use in washing your hands or to be sprayed directly onto your dog’s coat.

Virkon-S

Like Sniper Hospital Disinfectant, the veterinary product Virkon-S remains effective when in use in and around organic material. One of its main purposes is the disinfecting of commercial chicken operations to help kill bacteria found in coops.

Virkon-S is safe for use around pets if diluted by 200 percent. Unfortunately, if diluted to this ratio, the solution will no longer kill parvovirus. This means that Virkon-S can only be safely used in your yard if your animals are not permitted to be there, a tall order for most dog owners.

The correct dilution of this product to destroy parvovirus is 1 percent. The property must be completely dry before treatment can occur and may need to be treated more than once to kill the virus.

Virkon-S is available in powder or tab form and must be mixed and properly diluted prior to use. Its main ingredient is sodium peroxymonosulfate, a chemical that is capable of killing such viruses as foot and mouth disease, avian flu, salmonella, and parvovirus.

Are There Natural Things I Can Use to Help Kill Parvovirus in My Yard?
Though relying on natural means alone is not an effective way to ensure the virus is killed in your yard, there are some things you can do to help the process along. These include:

Increasing exposure to direct sunlight
The light and heat from the sun is the enemy of parvovirus. To help kill the virus in your yard, it is a good idea to remove anything in your yard that is encouraging an environment that is moist, shaded, or dark. This can include the removal of such items as umbrellas, hanging tree limbs, plant or bush overgrowth, cars, boats, RVs, patio furniture, birdbaths, barbecues, trellises, arbors, and more.

Ceasing lawn watering
Since water is a friend to parvovirus, encouraging its growth; it is best to cease from watering your lawn while you treat to kill this hardy disease.

What is the Best Way to Ensure I Kill All of the Parvo in My Yard?
There are a few precautions you should heed when attempting to remove parvovirus from your yard. The most important tips you will need to keep in mind are:

Begin treatment at the right time
The time you choose to begin treatment to eliminate parvovirus is as important as which product you choose. You will want to spray your yard during the hottest and driest portion of the day. This means waiting until the morning dew has dissipated, and there is no rain in the forecast.

Treat rock and mulch areas multiple times
Since it is very difficult to completely saturate rocks and mulch, you will need to treat these areas with disinfectant multiple times. Each treatment, you should allow the disinfectant to rest on the materials for the full recommended time. You will then need to rake through the mulch and turn over the rocks to coat any areas that were missed the first time. It is suggested that you repeat this process 6 times to ensure all bacteria has been killed. You cannot be too thorough. 

Feeling overwhelmed? Parvovirus is a hardy, life-threatening, and frightening disease. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of treating your yard on your own, contact your veterinarian for advice. Killing the virus on your property is the only way to prevent a re-infection of your pets. When it comes to parvovirus, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Contact your veterinary clinic to ensure your pooch is up to date on his vaccinations to help keep parvo at bay. Parvovirus is most often fatal, but it is purely preventable with a proactive and conservative vaccination strategy. Talk to your vet today about how you can best keep your dog safe from parvovirus.

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