9 Effective Ways to Quickly Eliminate Dog Parvo in Your Home and Yard

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: October 6, 2023
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Has your canine companion just been diagnosed with parvovirus? Nursing your little one through their illness is the most essential part of their recovery, but the clean-up and disinfecting around your home is critical as well. Parvovirus is highly infectious and resilient, so you want to make sure that you banish this virus from your home once and for all.

So how do you eliminate parvovirus in your home and your yard? Let’s break down everything you need to know below!

What Is Parvovirus In Dogs?

golden retriever puppy playing with a stethoscope vet

Puppies are most at risk of catching parvo between the ages of six weeks to eight months, but they can catch it at up to three years of age.

©Roger costa morera/Shutterstock.com

Parvovirus is a deadly virus that attacks the lining of the gastrointestinal tract in young, unvaccinated dogs. Canine parvovirus invades the cells of the GI tract and the bone marrow, leading to severe gastrointestinal upset and immune suppression. Dogs with parvovirus will often become very ill very quickly, and most require immediate and aggressive medical care to nurse them through.

Parvo is a highly infectious virus that spreads easily from dog to dog. Puppies can become infected with parvo by coming in contact with infected stool, vomit, and even surfaces that these bodily secretions have touched. Puppies are most at risk of catching parvo between the ages of six weeks to eight months, so it’s essential to avoid taking them to any public spaces until they are fully vaccinated. Parvovirus is preventable with an initial series of puppy vaccines and an annual parvo vaccine each year to follow.

How Long Does Parvovirus Survive On Indoor & Outdoor Surfaces?

Detergents on white background.

Some resilient forms of parvovirus have been known to live in the environment for up to five years.

©Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock.com

Part of what makes parvovirus such a terrifying virus is that it can survive in certain environments for years. Some resilient forms of parvovirus have been known to live in the environment for up to five years, and this includes on soil or in the ground. It can also withstand heat, cold, humidity, and many household cleaning products. Standard house-cleaning will not likely get rid of parvo. It requires a targeted cleaning attack to banish.

What Cleaners Kill Parvovirus?

Pet check up and vaccination.

Parvovirus is preventable with an initial series of puppy

vaccines

and an annual parvo vaccine each year to follow.

©FamVeld/Shutterstock.com

As we mentioned above, most standard household cleaning products cannot effectively kill parvo. However, there are a few cleaners that can get the job done. When prepared correctly, the following cleaners can kill parvovirus:

  • 5% Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach): Dilute to one part bleach and 32 parts water, or 1/2 a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. It must sit on the surface after saturating for ten minutes before wiping away. It will only work when no organic material like stool or vomit is present.
  • Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP): Dilute to one part AHP and 32 parts water, or 1/2 a cup of AHP in a gallon of water. It needs at least ten minutes of contact time, but it does not need to be wiped away. It can safely dry on its own. It still works when organic material like stool or vomit are present.
  • Potassium Peroxymonosulfate: Effective against parvovirus in a 1% dilution. It needs at least ten minutes of contact time, but it does not need to be wiped away. It can safely dry on its own. It still works when organic material like stool or vomit are present.

Dr. Amy Nicole Lewis, a veterinarian with Worldwide Veterinary Services told A-Z Animals that you should always check with your vet before using any cleaning products aside from bleach, AHP, or potassium peroxymonosulfate. Many products that claim to kill a variety of viruses and bacteria cannot successfully eliminate parvo.

9 Ways To Eliminate Parvo In Your Home & Yard

how do dogs get parvo

Puppies can become infected with parvo by coming in contact with infected stool, vomit, and even surfaces that these bodily secretions have touched.

©Olya Maximenko/Shutterstock.com

Now that you have a better understanding on how resilient this virus is, let’s break down some of the best ways to eliminate parvovirus from your home and yard.

#1 Throw Out Anything That Has Been Heavily Soiled

It’s often best to throw out any type of porous material that has been heavily soiled by vomit or diarrhea. While you can attempt to wash and disinfect these items, it’s often easier to just toss what you can and start over. Some items that are easier to toss than clean in some cases are small toys, cheap bedding, or towels.

#2 Clean Any Bedding With A Combination Of Laundry Soap & Bleach

Any bedding or toys that you are not able to toss should be cleaned with a combination of laundry soap and bleach. These items may be discolored in the process, but this is the most effective way to banish the virus from your pet’s favorite items. Just be sure to remove as much diarrhea or vomit from the material as possible before washing the items. Bleach is not as effective when organic material like vomit and stool are present. We also suggest washing and drying the items on the hottest cycle available.

#3 Put Laundry In Direct Sunlight After It Has Dried

A few hours in direct sunlight can help to eliminate any of the virus that managed to survive the washing cycle. We suggest hanging the porous material outdoors in direct sunlight after they have already been dried, making sure to flip the material over to expose both sides.

#4 Clean Any Dried Stool Or Vomit In Your Home Promptly

It’s important to clean any dried stool or vomit as soon as you find it. Dried organic matter can continue to be infectious for years if it is not removed, and you never want to run the risk of infecting other canine friends in your home. Cleaning supplies also do not work as well when organic matter is present.

#5 Clean All Solid Surfaces With A Diluted Bleach Solution

We suggest cleaning all hard, non-porous surfaces that your dog has touched with a diluted bleach solution. Just dilute one part bleach and 32 parts water, or 1/2 a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. The diluted bleach mixture must sit on the surface after saturating for ten minutes before wiping it away. However, it will only work when no organic material like stool or vomit is present.

#6 Clean Any Carpets Or Porous Surfaces With An AHP Cleaner

One of the toughest surfaces to disinfect when discussing parvovirus is carpet. The virus can easily sink deep into the carpet and hide out for long periods, which is why it is so important to tackle it aggressively. The best way to disinfect your carpet is by using an AHP or potassium peroxymonosulfate disinfectant to steam clean your carpet. Just be sure to spot test a small patch of your carpet for any discoloration before treating the entire space.

Please understand that sometimes it is impossible to properly disinfect carpet. For this reason, we advise against welcoming any unvaccinated dogs into your home for at least six to 12 months.

#7 Disinfect Any Metal Food & Water Bowls & Toss Plastic

It’s best to toss any plastic food or water bowls when dealing with parvovirus. Scratches on plastic bowls can be a hiding space for bacteria and viruses, no matter how small the scratch is. However, metal and glass bowls can be properly disinfected. We suggest washing any metal or glass bowls as you usually would, but then soaking the bowls in a diluted bleach solution. Once you’ve let the bowls soak for ten minutes you can rinse them thoroughly with soap and water to remove the bleach.

#8 Remove Any Piles Of Stool From Your Yard

We know this can be challeneing when dealing with parvo diarrhea, but we encourage you to try your best to remove any piles of stool or vomit in your yard. Organic matter can be a hub of infection for future canine friends to come, and it can make it more challeneing to disinfect your property. Dogs can continue to shed the parvovirus in their stool for up to two weeks after their symptoms resolve, so we suggest picking up their stool until this period ends.

#9 Treat Your Yard As Best As Possible

Your yard will be the most challenging space in your home to disinfect from parvovirus. In fact, if your yard has dirt or grass instead of just cerement, there is no guarantee that any disinfectant method will be 100% effective. However, it is still best to try!

Bleach is not the best option for treating your yard since it is not effective when it comes in contact with organic material like stool or vomit. We suggest filling an empty pesticide spray bottle with an AHP or potassium peroxymonosulfate disinfectant and spraying every inch of the yard that you can access. Allow the grass or cement to dry on its own in direct sunlight.

We also suggest trying to take down any umbrellas or shading when possible, as direct sunlight is often helpful when trying to banish the parvovirus from your yard. You can maximize your yard’s exposure to sunlight by taking down any umbrellas, removing any chairs or lawn furniture, and removing any other shade fixtures.

Please understand that sometimes it is impossible to properly disinfect your yard. For this reason, we advise against welcoming any unvaccinated dogs into your yard for at least six to 12 months.

When Will My Home Be Parvo-Free?

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your home will be parvo-free, especially not in a certain timeframe. Even with many studies on the effectiveness of certain cleaning products against parvovirus, there is still no specific answer on how many days it takes for an environment to be deemed safe. There are a variety of factors that impact cleaning and disinfecting efforts in each home.

After a parvo-positive canine friend has been in your house or yard, it is best to only have fully vaccinated dogs in your home from that point on. Unvaccinated puppies have been known to catch parvo when moving into new spaces or visiting infected homes, so it is never worth the risk. If this is impossible to avoid, then we suggest keeping any unvaccinated dogs off your property for at least six to 12 months.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, parvovirus is a highly infectious and resilient canine virus. Be sure to review the information we discussed above to learn how to properly disinfect your home from the dangerous parvovirus.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © In Green/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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