By Guest Writer
It cannot be denied that dogs and mess go hand in hand. With the added joy that a pet dog brings into your home comes an extra cleaning workload. All those hair, dirt, and destroyed furniture can be very difficult to clean—so much so that you may be tempted to ban your puppy from taking a step out of the house for good to keep their paws clean.
That may be the quickest, most painless option for you, but can you really do it when Max is whining and looking at you with his puppy-dog eyes, begging to be let out? I know I can’t. However, wiping the floors after Max all the time as he happily stomps around the house with his muddy paws is not a permanent solution either.
The moment you realize that even Max's favorite dog sleeping bag is quickly turning into a nest of mess with a brown stain that won’t come out is the moment you should start putting your foot down and taking action. To help you with that, here are some easy tips on how to break the age-old belief that a pet-friendly house can never be clean!
Prevention is better than Cure
Cleaning up the mess Max has made is fun and all (not), but if you want to spend less time on it and more quality time actually bonding with him, then you should minimize the amount of work as much as possible. This is easier said than done, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, your house will forever be much simpler to clean.
First things first, you need to lay down some ground rules. If your dog is smart enough to understand what you’re saying when you’re telling him to wipe his paws on the mat before entering the house, then you’re very lucky indeed. If he is not, you should spend some time doing just that for him every time he comes home after a walk. It’ll cost you maybe five minutes each day, but it’ll also save you a good hour of cleaning time afterward.
Apart from the paw prints, dog hair is another major problem that you can turn minor by taking some simple preventive steps. Washing your dog regularly and combing his hair will lessen the amount of hair you have to deal with significantly. Like the first tip, it’ll cost you time, but it is worth it. This simple step will not only keep your furniture from becoming a hairy mess—it will also lessen your dog’s chance of becoming a host for fleas and keep him smelling like a rose. On top of that, you won’t need as much Febreeze anymore.
Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment
Febreeze is a must in any dog-friendly house, and chances are you already have some in stock, but you need much more than that if you’re seriously going to wage war against the mess. You need to buy a dependable vacuum cleaner, equip yourself with a tough wiper, and if you can spare the cash, exchange all of the carpeting in your house with hardwood floors.
Some vacuums have a hell of a time sucking up those hairs, whereas others inhale them like they’re fresh water to a parched throat. Investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner would be wise if you are a dog owner, especially if there’s someone in your house that’s sensitive to pet dander. Vacuum cleaners with a high filter grade may cost you a bit more, but ridding the entire house of pet hair will become a simple affair, and these cleaners will keep the allergens safely inside until the time you see fit to empty the sack, unlike cheap vacuum cleaners that may leak allergens.
If your house has carpet flooring, chances are you’ve been through hell and back as you battle with the dirt stains that take forever to come out. Exchanging carpet flooring with hardwood flooring will take a lot of time and cash to do, but cleaning up truly will be that much simpler, and it might even be the more cost-effective option in the long run. While you often have to spend cash on professional carpet cleaning services, with hardwood flooring, all you really need is a simple floor-wiper. Even a rag will do.
Protect Your Furniture
Dogs bite. That’s just what they do. Puppies, especially, have this itch in their teeth that can only be alleviated by sinking them into your precious furniture. Imagine coming home after a long day at work only to be greeted by the sight of torn couches and pillows. It’s not just annoying—it gives you extra work to do.
Protecting your furniture is easier said than done, because the problem lies in your dog’s psyche. To keep him from breaking things, you need to make him understand that this is a bad thing to do. Putting him on timeouts is good and all, but it’ll need time to fully take effect. You should speed up the process by outsmarting your dog in the meantime.
Dogs often exhibit these destructive behaviors when they are left alone for extended periods of time at home. Dogs are energetic and social. They get bored and lonely when you’re not there to keep them company, and destroying furniture is just their way to alleviate that loneliness (they’re not plotting something sinister to try and get back at you, don’t worry). You should either drain your dog’s excessive energy or give him something to be occupied with (other than your furniture, of course) while you’re away.
Taking Max out on a stroll around the block is a great way to burn him out so he’ll sleep your work hours away peacefully. Another good idea is to use something that will snare his attention so he will have none to spare for your furniture. Try giving him toys. That’ll at least keep him occupied for a while. The problem is when (not if) he gets bored of those toys.
For that reason, you might want to try something more permanent. If you think you can handle it, having two dogs is really better than one. They’ll keep each other company, and you’ll get double the fun and cheer that having one dog will give to you.
At this point, you might be screaming: “Oh, the horror!” Just imagining all the mess that two dogs will make out of your house may give you the creeps. One is bad enough. But really, that’s just because you haven’t applied the aforementioned cleaning tips. Once you have, you’ll realize that house cleaning doesn’t always need to be a nightmare for dog owners, and you might very well happily welcome the idea of adopting another bundle of joy. Dogs will lighten your whole house up instead of darkening your doorsteps as long as you are smart in handling the mess that they leave behind.
Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna’s passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.