Your dog is an equal member of the family, but chances are he doesn’t equally pull his weight on household chores — more likely he adds to them. Let’s face it, dogs add fun, love and warmth to a home, but they also add mess. Thankfully, we have some helpful tips so your house doesn’t go to the dogs:
Start on the Ground Floor
Dogs are coming in and out of the house regularly, and whatever they walk on while outside they are bringing in with them. One way to keep Fido from dredging filth all over the floor is to keep some cleaning wipes by the door so you can clean his feet before going into the house. This practice is especially useful during the winter months when sidewalks and driveways are often covered with salt and mud.
Another sign your floors may be in danger of damage is when you start to hear the click-clacking of your dog’s nails. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed won’t only prevent scratches on your floors and worn-down varnish, it’s crucial to your dog’s health. Long nails can break leading to a litany of infections and complications. Thankfully, trimming can be easier than you think, particularly with the wide array of nail clippers now available. The general rule of thumb is to clip where the nail makes a defined curve down towards the floor. This is to avoid snipping the quick which is the vein and nerve that runs into every nail and can result in bleeding.
Shed Light on the Situation
Nearly all dogs shed to some extent, and most dog owners can attest to leaving the house with fur on their clothes, or watching furry tumbleweeds blow across the floor. The key to keeping your home fur-free comes in two steps — prevention and containment.
The best way to keep shedding at bay inevitably happens by practicing proper grooming techniques. Regular combing and brushing is essential, and the job can be easier if you’re using the appropriate brush (bristle o slicker), followed by a finishing comb. Routine bathing is also important; however, never use human shampoo, and if you can, choose a shed-control formula.
Once you’ve done what you can to minimize shedding, the next step is containing it. For example, if your pooch plops in the same spot on the couch every day, put a towel there and wash it occasionally. If the entire couch is a free-for-all, an old rubber dish glove can do wonders for wiping up fur, and is less expensive compared to lint rollers. When it comes to the floors, vacuuming is the logical choice for carpet; however, vacuuming on bare floors can blow the fur around without capturing it. A great way to clean wood or tile floors is to first lightly spray a homemade vinegar and water solution, and then use a dust mop to collect the fur. The solution is safe for animals, and a natural disinfectant. Hint: apple cider vinegar can leave a pleasing scent.
Don’t Mess Around
There’s an ick factor to pet ownership, but it doesn’t have to be that bad as long as you’re prepared. One of the most common messes, and the most unpleasant, is when your pet leaves an unexpected puddle or present for you on the floor. To clean up urine we recommended blotting up as much as you can, and then pouring club soda on it. If the smell lingers, try an odor neutralizer. Odor neutralizers can also be used on pet beds, furniture and carpet to refresh the whole house.
Of course potty training is going to be your first line of defense in preventing messes, but accidents do happen and there are ways you can help your dog stick to his outside potty routine. For example, feeding your dog unfamiliar food, or leaving ‘edible’ objects around the house like plants, crayons, or small objects can upset your dog’s stomach and make a ‘mess’ before he’s able to get outside.
Keeping your dog-friendly house clean doesn’t have to be a challenge. And the less time you spend cleaning, the more time you can spend with your furry family member. For more tips on how to be a great dog parent, visit the Expert Advice section of our website.