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This article is everything I’ve learned so far for keeping your house clean with a dog in my whole three months of dog ownership.
Yes, around three months ago, we brought home the next addition to our family, a little (not anymore) Dalmatian puppy called Belle. A regrettable name because 200 times a day someone says “NO BELLE”, and some smart ass behind them yells “peace prize”. Eye roll.
I’ve never had a puppy EVER in my life, although we did have a golden retriever rescue when we were kids. But I can’t remember it being this hard. I mean, it’s so hard; some days, I just want to cry, haha. It’s worse than a baby because this puppy can reach everything; she’s like a very flexible and resourceful pony.
Some days we laugh, and some days, as we catch a glimpse of the newest pair of slippers ripped to shreds out the corner of our eyes, some days, we just want to rock in the corner. There’s no in-between.
Anyway, here’s what Marley and me, I mean Belle and me, have learned so far. It’s not all bad news though, give credit where credit is due; house training is done! Sit, lie down, roll over and giz a paw is done! So that’s something we’re doing right!
The first step in keeping your house clean with a horse, sorry, dog are:
I’m not gonna lie or try and hide the truth from anybody. I was unprepared for the onslaught of bringing a puppy home. Once that dog has peed on your floor for the 15th time since breakfast, it’s not cute anymore.
There are a few things you need to know about puppies and untrained dogs. They:
- pee everywhere and anywhere.
- will shit on your floor.
- will chew everything and anything, including the curtains and designer throw pillows. They don’t care if it’s Loch Leven Tweed at £80 a pop.
- think everything is a game.
- have boundless energy and love to match.
Do not get a puppy if you are clinically clean. You’ll never have a clinically clean house ever again after bringing your fur baby home. This has been the single most challenging adjustment I’ve made. Dogs are dirty, especially puppy dogs.
As long as you have considered and prepared yourself emotionally for these things, we can move on.
Use Puppy Pads
So, I strongly recommend using puppy pads to “be prepared” for shitting and peeing everywhere. Our breeder said we didn’t need them, or maybe I read it somewhere. I can’t remember. The advice was, as long as the puppy has access to the outside to pee and poop, they will rarely do it in the house—what a load of crock that was.
I can assure you, this puppy did it wherever she was at the time nature called.
Anyway, I wish I had used them from the get-go because there is no worse feeling than scooping up hot puppy poo off your laminate flooring. I’m just glad we’d switched from the carpet before we bought her. Yuck!
Get an Enzyme Cleaner.
An enzyme cleaner will be a significant lifesaver for dog ownership and, more specifically, puppy ownership.
You will need a good enzyme cleaner like the one I found on Amazon here. I got mine from Pets At Home here in the UK, and I didn’t even use all of the two bottles I bought. But they are precisely the same and are a wonder cleaner.
When your dog pee’s or poops in the house, clean up the mess with paper towels and poop bags and then spray the area with the enzyme cleaner, leave it to sit for 3-5 minutes or, in our case, as long as we can before the kids walk through it, and wipe it up.
It was so simple to use and destroyed the smell, the bacteria and horrible germs. You can use it for vomit in the same process.
We only ever need it for her crate now. That’s the only place we’re having accidents.
You can use it on upholstery and soft furnishings, and they also have one specifically for hardwood flooring, although I used the same bottle for everything.
Remove your favourite soft furnishings from the dog’s sight.
I mean it. It’s too late for me now. Had I been prepared. I wouldn’t have bought the new sofa and throw pillows right before we purchased a puppy. We would have sat on the newspaper on the floor. Kidding. I would have kept the old sofa a while longer.
There’s nothing more soul-destroying than seeing your puppy with your designer tweed; duck feather filled throw pillows savagely throwing them around like a lion with a gazelle.
Anything you value or hold dear, put it out of sight, and it’s one less thing to clean up while this madness rages on.
Keep slippers and shoes in a cupboard or shoe storage box.
Because everything is a game to a young dog or puppy, you need some kind of shoe storage.
Anything will do as long as they aren’t accessible to the dog. Not keeping them away from the dog results in lost shoes and more mess to clean up.
Keep human food out of reach of the dog.
This point is probably obvious to most people but not me. I didn’t think my low purine diet Dalmatian would even be remotely interested in human food. Wrong!
Human food is the most mouth-watering, succulent delicatessen a dog has ever clapped eyes on.
And storing it on counters isn’t even enough to keep my dog from it.
I’ve witnessed her take a run and jump at my kitchen counters, she face planted the lower cabinets, but now I know the intent is there, and nothing (besides her height) is stopping her.
Now I scrape the plates immediately, keep her in another room while I’m doing it, and leave no food unattended, ever.
Regular walks, play and learning.
I know I’m not a dog behaviour therapist, and I don’t try to be. However, trial and error have revealed that the more energy this dog uses on structured play, the less my house gets destroyed or needs cleaning.
This can be difficult with a puppy because their little joints aren’t fully developed yet, and exercise has to be limited until their joints have matured.
There are some things you can do to expel energy that doesn’t require long walks.
Belle thrives when she is learning, as she loves it, probably because she gets a treat at the end, but all the same, she is tired afterwards.
I spend 10 minutes teaching and reinforcing her learning throughout the day, which results in an hour-long nap for Belle.
That means I can get on with work, cleaning, laundry and cleaning up any mess she’s made that I haven’t already seen to.
How to keep your house from smelling like dog?
This old chestnut. I learned early in the cleaning company that some houses with dogs smell, and some don’t. Why?
Because some dog owners aren’t too bothered about the smell or have gone nose blind, and some are incredibly proactive about keeping their homes smelling fresh.
The odour was one of the things that worried me most before bringing Belle home. The other thing was hair, but we’ll get to that next.
Being proactive about keeping your home smelling fresh does not mean that you have to be constantly cleaning. However, you need a daily cleaning schedule, and you need to stick to it if you are as odour paranoid as me.
Pet owners daily cleaning schedule should include daily vacuuming, cleaning out the dog crate, cleaning up “accidents” immediately with an enzyme cleaner and sanitizing all surfaces. I know it sounds like a lot. However, these tasks take very little time at all.
I’m always preaching about my daily cleaning routine, and the only extra tasks to add with a dog are crate cleaning and spot cleaning the accidents.
Get a robovac for the vacuuming.
I have a YouTube video review of my Eufy Robovac here you can watch.
They are surprisingly affordable nowadays and another one of my lifesavers when trying to keep my home clean.
Daily vacuuming will not only keep your house smelling clean but will also keep dog hairs to a minimum. You may even be inspired to mop daily, which is just a bonus.
Keep your dog off the furniture.
I didn’t and lived to regret it. As you can see in the photo.
A dogs place is not on the sofa next to you. It’s in a dog bed or dog pillow on the floor by you.
And I’m not saying this because I hate dogs or anything; far from it, I saw a dog training video on YouTube by McCann Dogs. And the trainer in this video explained that if a dog is at your height, face to face, then that dog will attempt to dominate you, and the last thing you need is a dog being Alpha in your household. The best way to teach your dog that you are the Alpha is to have them sit by you on the floor and reward them for that good behaviour.
And the added benefit of keeping your dog off the furniture is that the dog odours won’t get trapped in your fabrics and make the whole room smell of dog.
However, if you have a dog on your furniture and it’s getting smelly, you can use fabric refreshers like Febreze or make your own with essential oils. See my guide to essential oils here.
Baking soda is excellent for trapping and removing odours too, sprinkle a generous amount over your sofa or bed, leave for ten minutes and vacuum up the powder. I have more baking soda hacks in this post here.
Plugin air-fresheners do help keep your house from smelling like dog but:
Plugin air fresheners can help mask the smell of dogs from your home. Although professionals recommend using them on a low setting because dogs are susceptible to smells and have allergies just like us. Eliminating odours at the source is the best practice.
I have the plugin type in every room that the dog hangs out in, all of the downstairs rooms.
I use a different scent in each one because after a couple of days your nose gets used to the scent and you can’t smell it anymore. Using different scents keeps your nose on it’s toes.
Candles and Wax Melts.
Candles and wax melts are the same as plugins and mask the smell. Be careful when choosing a scent. Check that it’s safe for your dog first.
Regularly shampoo your carpets.
Regular shampooing of your carpets will lift any lingering odours that spot cleaning and vacuuming have missed.
How fresh you want your home to be will determine your shampooing schedule. If you really want to keep your house clean and smelling fresh with a dog, I’d recommend at least every other month if you have time. Or hire a professional carpet cleaner to come twice per year. More often if your budget allows.
Regularly shampooing your dog.
My vet told me to shampoo Belle once per month and no less frequently than three months. Since then, Belle developed a skin condition and has to be bathed once per week in medicated shampoo, so she doesn’t smell too bad retrospectively.
Anytime your dog is wet from rain or bathing, make sure to dry her off with a towel thoroughly and let her sit in her bed to air dry the rest. You can wash her bedding afterwards to get rid of the damp dog smell that will be left.
Always wash your dog after playing in rivers or seawater. Rivers and seas are dirty places, and the seawater will dry out your dog’s skin.
Clean dog bowls after every meal.
Why wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t eat your dinner off dirty plates, and neither should dogs. Not only does it keep foul odours from occurring in and around the dog bowls. It prevents your dog from inadvertently ingesting fly eggs and parasites.
I know mopping is a chore, and not everyone loves it. However, if you can mop at least twice per week anywhere your dog lives and there are hard floors, you will massively reduce the smell of dogs in those areas.
I try to mop daily and use two different mops. I have my daily spill flat mop for, you know, everyday spills. And I have my steam mop. I steam mop usually every other day, and I have another post explaining why you should buy a steam mop here.
Wash dog bedding, towels and blankets.
If you don’t already, wash your dog’s bedding, towels and blankets at least once a week. I currently wash them daily, because, Belle usually soils through the night in her crate.
How to keep your house clean from dog hair?
Earlier in this post, I touched on keeping dog hair at bay with daily vacuuming, and I also discovered some other neat tricks after becoming a puppy owner.
Lint rollers are a huge time saver when you’re cleaning up dog hair. Vacuuming dog hair off the sofa can seem relentless and pointless because you’re vacuuming the same spot over and over and getting nowhere.
Switching to a lint roller literally rolls the hair straight off your fabrics with no fuss.
You can buy packs of lint rollers from Ikea inexpensively, and there are loads available on Amazon here.
Damp Rubber Gloves
Damp rubber gloves achieve the same outcome as the lint rollers. Simply dampen your rubber glove and rub it over the sofa. The hair will clump and pick up quickly.
A squeegee also does the same as the rubber glove and the lint rollers. Only you can use a squeegee on the end of a broom and run it over your carpets to lift any dog hairs trapped deep in the carpet pile.
Grooming your dog is obvious but often forgotten. I mentioned earlier to wash your dog regularly. However, brushing your dog once or twice a week, depending on the coat type, will help towards reducing the amount of dog hair collecting in your house.
You can use a flat-headed microfiber mop to clean your baseboards regularly. You do not need to wet the mop. Just run it along the baseboards dry to collect any dog hair that has accumulated there.
Key takeaways for keeping a clean home with a dog.
- Be prepared for anything.
- Tire out your dog.
- Use puppy pads.
- Get enzyme cleaner.
- Remove opportunities to make a mess.
- Keep your dog clean.
- Get a robovac.
- Clean up the dog hair regularly.
- Be a responsible dog owner.
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