Keeping a Clean House with a Canine

By Darcy Lockman

Keeping a Clean House with a Canine

If you live with a shedding, dirt-digging pooch, keeping your house clean can seem like a challenge mightier than teaching an old dog a new trick. From hair imbedded in carpets to paw prints on linoleum, it may feel as if you need to follow your dog around 24/7 to keep up. But tidying after your best friend need not be a full-time job. Before you call in a maid brigade, check out these tips for clean coexistence with your canine.

Clean Pet = Clean Home
"Keeping your house clean starts with keeping your dog clean and in good health," says Gina Spadafori, author of Dogs for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons). "Keep your dog bathed and brushed. You'll minimize odors and shedding." Dogs smell better after a bath. Also, remember that hair caught in the brush or comb won't end up under the bed. Shedding occurs seasonally in dogs, typically in the fall and spring, so take extra care around April and September.

Trained Pet = Clean Home
The payoffs of obedience training are myriad, and can even mean less mess. "It's not hard to teach a dog to wait on a mat until you've wiped its paws before coming into the house," explains Spadafori. "Letting a dog run in from the mud without pausing is always a mistake." House-training is also crucial. A well-trained dog will not make a mess unless it's sick.

Decorating for Doggies
"If you want white, wall-to-wall carpeting, please don't get a dog!" implores Spadafori. Instead she recommends hardwood or tile floors. If that's not possible, remember that washable throw rugs are easier to clean than carpeting, and synthetic carpets with stain shield are easier to clean than wool or cotton fibers.

If you like to cozy up to Fido on the couch, you should also be selective when choosing upholstery. Leather and pleather are easy to clean, and tightly woven fabrics resist tears from claws. Loose or open weaves may lead to holes, but most furniture can be protected with an attractive, washable throw.

Products to Stock
Spadafori emphasizes that every dog owner should keep an enzymatic cleaner on hand to take care of urine, feces, and vomit clean-up. Don't use an ammonia-based cleaner, which itself can smell like urine. When possible, clean immediately after your dog makes a mess to avoid staining. Saturate the area with the cleaner, and wait a few minutes before vacuuming with a wet and dry shop vacuum. (Dog beds and other areas where dogs lounge and play can be cleaned once or twice a week either in the washing machine or with the enzymatic cleaner.)

If you don't want to invest in a specialty vacuum cleaner like a wet/dry shop vacuum, rug brushes and specialty sponges are effective for removing even stubborn short hairs from carpeting. An air purifier can help remove pet odors from the home. Spadafori also likes to have a hand vacuum for spot cleaning, and a roller-type lint brush to de-fuzz clothing.

"Animals, like children, come with a degree of untidiness," she says. "But you can minimize the impact."

Darcy Lockman is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to The Dog Daily. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and Rolling Stone. She lives in Brooklyn with the prettiest pug dog in the five boroughs.

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Posted on April 7, 2009

Lavonna Payne says: I have just become the parent of two female maltese sisters. I have had maltese before and I am committed to grooming and training, but two....I am having problems. Cannot find anything on internet. Could you give me some tips on training two puppies together?? appreciate help.

Posted on March 11, 2012

Lorine says: the dog was fully trained and he was going for ntriniag on how to handle the dog the following week! He wasn't even sure if it was ok to offer the dog a food treat or not (as I have heard some protection work includes teaching dogs to "alert" if someone offers food). This to me was pretty scary- this officer had no idea how to handle the dog and was sitting in the middle of my waiting room with him and other clients. I wonder if the officer (both human and K9) in the video were in the same boat. Sad and scary that the public hears how "badly" they say the dog acted and the human officer gets credit for behaving "well". I certianly agree with those who see it different.

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