Dogs are bundles of fluff that bring joy and energy to your home. But that’s not all they bring. They also leave a trail of disaster – fur, toileting accidents, destroyed toys, and sand and leaves from the garden.
Ferris the cavoodle joined our family last year, and the kids have loved having him around. He runs around with them in the backyard, and gets lots of cuddles and pats.
He has fur rather than hair, so doesn’t shed, but our previous dog was a Labrador Retriever, so I’ve had plenty of experience with dog hair everywhere.
People say that dogs keep your house clean, by eating crumbs or food spills. But in my experience, they create way more mess than they clean up. Chewed up dog toys (or the kids’ toys that didn’t get put away), sand and leaves, special items they’ve found in the garden, and don’t forget the house-training accidents.
How do you keep a clean home with dogs? Here are my best tips and tricks.
1. Set boundaries
Our dog isn’t allowed in carpeted rooms, which is the bedrooms, and isn’t allowed in our formal lounge room unless an adult is in there. How do we stop him? Keeping doors closed, and we have a baby gate blocking off the passage to our kids bedrooms – it’s easier than reminding the kids to shut their doors!
We also reprimand him (with a “No!” or “uh-uh!”) whenever he heads in that direction. Now, if we leave a door open, I see him sneak up to the door and lean forwards, like he knows he’s about to get in trouble.
2. Give your pets an inside home
Along the same lines, give your dog a special place to hang out. Ferris has a dog bed in the main living area, plus a bed in my craft room and the formal lounge room. When he comes inside, that’s mostly where you’ll find him (if he’s not at our feet). These keeps a lot of his mess contained, and it’s easier to keep clean (and stop it spreading!).
3. Remove broken toys
Get rid of dog toys at the first sign that a piece has broken off. Once it’s broken, it doesn’t take long for it to suddenly be in four thousand pieces, scattered throughout the house. As soon as I notice Ferris has broken a toy, I get rid of it. I hate picking up all the little chewed up pieces.
4. Regularly treat your dog for fleas and ticks
No one wants fleas in their carpet or bedding. Regularly treat your dog for fleas and ticks to prevent them entering your house. Frontline have an effective range of products to keep fleas and ticks at bay.
5. Cover lounge suites, chairs and bedding
Wherever your dog sits, use a removal, washable cover or blanket. It’s much easier to get the smell out of a blanket than an entire sofa.
6. Wash pet bedding
Regularly wash pet bedding and any blankets or chair covers you use in hot water. This removes odour, hair and drool, and kills fleas or ticks.
7. Regular grooming
Brush your dog regularly to control the amount of fur that ends up forming tumbleweeds in your home. If you have a non-shedding dog, have your dog regularly clipped and keep the fur as short as possible. Our dog collects all sorts of leaves, sticks and dirt in his fur when we let it get too long.
8. Feed a quality diet
Just like with people, low quality junk food can result in oily skin and a smellier dog. Feed your dog high quality dog foods to reduce the smell in your home.
9. Regular sweeping/vacuuming
There’s no getting around it. If you have a dog in your home, you’ll have to regularly sweep or vacuum. Look for vacuums with a HEPA filter and strong suction to make the job quicker and easier. Sweep with an electro-static mop (such as the ones from Swiffer or Sabco).
For carpets and lounge suites, you can also use a plastic garden rake or squeegee to quickly lift and gather fur.
10. Clean up accidents ASAP
When accidents happen, clean them up as soon as they happen.
If you leave a mess, it will spread, stain, and smell. Also your dog will want to come back to that spot and use it again thinking that’s his toilet.
Keep a “Clean-Up-Kit” handy, containing spray stain removers, old towels, paper towels, and/or disinfectant wipes. Everyday Roots has 3 great homemade pet cleaners, or purchase a specialised pet odour neutraliser from the supermarket or pet store. Don’t use cleaners with ammonia – they smell just like urine to dogs.
Note: Never use ammonia based products for pet clean-up as they smell like urine to dogs.
11. Freshen the house with baking soda
Baking soda is a miracle when it comes to getting rid of pet odours. Sprinkle it on your carpet and let it sit for a couple of house and vacuum, or leave a bowl of it (and maybe a few drops of essential oil) in an inconspicuous area. The room will smell much, much better.
12. Stop Dirty Paws At The Door
Stop muddy paws at the door. Place mats at both the outside and inside of every door. They really help cut the dirt down. Select mats that are easy to clean, and regularly wash them.
13. Professional cleaning
Lastly, sometimes you just have to call in the professionals. To remove stubborn smells and stains, call in your local carpet cleaner and give your carpets and lounge suites a deep clean.
Dogs bring so much joy, but so much mess. What are your best tips for keeping a clean home with dogs?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Frontline. All thoughts and opinions are my own.