How to Own a Dog and Keep the House Clean

When it comes to owning a dog, you might think that means saying goodbye to a nice, clean house. However, your furry family member and a harmonious home environment can go hand-in-hand with a few practical considerations.

Here, we lay out some practical solutions to keep your house clean and free from dogs smells and your hound happy.

1. Buy an Easy to Clean Dog Bed

A dog on a brown leather dog bed.

When it comes to buying a dog bed, a trip to any pet shop will have you thinking that Rex has more choice than you would in buying a bed for yourself! With all the beautiful, fluffy and decorative beds on the market, you might consider the one that suits your decor the best or the one that looks super cosy.

However, unless you own a dog that doesn’t shed fur (like a Cockapoo or Yorkshire Terrier), rarely gets wet or muddy and doesn’t occasionally smell like a dog, these beautiful beds are hard to keep clean and smelling fresh.

The best option is to buy a comfortable, easy to clean dog bed that is water resistant, wipeable and has a removeable cover. These types of material do not hold on the dog hair, which makes it a breeze to vacuum dog hair away on a daily basis.

If you already have a dog bed that is of a less practical variety, that your dog loves. Consider lining it with a water resistant cover. You can then use the liner after baths or rainy walks and remove it easily for washing. You can even make your own dog bed cover to compliment your home decor by finding a water resistant fabric in the colour of your choice and simply hemming the edges.

2. Create a Dog Wash Station in Your Home

Any trips that you take with your dog can inevitably end up with your pooch treading mud and dirt into the house.

Consider an area, preferably outside, before your dog enters the house where you can wash muddy paws and fur.

An outdoor tap with a hose would be the best solution for how to keep dog paws clean, which can also be used to hose down your own muddy shoes in the process. However, this isn’t always practical or achievable if you live in an apartment or rented accommodation.

Instead, invest in both a heavy duty outdoor mat and an indoor doormat that is specially designed to catch mud, moisture and dirt on contact. Pack a box with a cleaning gloves, a dog paw washer or spray bottle, clean towels and wipes and some treats to keep your dog busy while you set to work on their muddy feet and fur. You can even use a waterproof box and keep these things outside if it’s practical to do so.

This eliminates the problem before your dog even enters the house and will help to keep your floors clean and free from paw prints.

3. Groom Your Dog Regularly

A dog being groomed with a red brush.

Grooming usually comes with the territory of owning a dog and depending on the breed to you have, it sometimes feels like to could make your own coat out of the fur your dog sheds on the daily. Regular grooming, means much less vacuuming and might even allow you to own black coloured clothes in your wardrobe (if you own a pet, you know!).

Even dogs that don’t shed will still get dirt and mud in their coats, so don’t think that you get off lightly here.

Of course, grooming can sometimes mean creating a cloud of fur in the house that you still have to clean up. So, take a grooming brush on a walk with you and if you find somewhere out in the open, where the fur isn’t likely to bother others, like a large field, you can groom your dog there. Wild birds will also thank you for this, they will collect dog fur and use it as a material to line their nests.

4. Consider Some Dog-Friendly Flooring

The best flooring for dogs is one that is durable, hard wearing, easy to clean and will not show stains, marks or fur too easily. When it comes to choosing the right flooring in your home when you own a dog there are some considerations to take:

  • Carpets – Fluffy, soft carpets may feel like luxury under foot, but carpets in a home with a dog can be a haven for fur, dirt, dog odour and act as a breeding ground for fleas. Plus, if your dog has an accident indoors, a carpet is hard to clean and smelling fresh. When it comes to choosing the best carpet for dogs, choose a carpet that isn’t deep pile, one that will withstand being cleaned when needed and one that is hardwearing. Choose a colour that isn’t too dark or too light, which will help to conceal marks, stains and fur more easily. Don’t forget to treat your house for fleas too by vacuuming the carpet daily and using a flea treatment in the house as well as treating your dog regularly too.
  • Laminate flooring can easily be scuffed with claws and these marks are almost impossible to remove. Laminate is, however, more easy to mop and vacuum than carpet and is a cheaper option than tiles or wood. Keeping your dogs claws clipped regularly is a good option for people with dogs on laminate flooring but please do not ever consider de-clawing as an option, as this is an extremely cruel practice that is already illegal in many countries for both dogs and cats. Another downside is that laminate flooring can be slippery and you might find that some dogs have trouble with this type of flooring.
  • Tiles are great option for homes that have a dog as they are easy to clean and mop. However, white grout isn’t the best option. Choose a dark grout on floor tiles to hide mud and stains from dogs and a mid-tone colour or a patterned tile will hide paw prints and fur more easily. Don’t choose a white or black tile, unless you can cope with seeing every piece of fur or mark that your dog leaves behind. Be sure to choose a hard wearing floor tile that isn’t prone to scratching caused by claws. However, a tiled floor can feel a little cold underfoot. Using an outdoor rug that is easy to clean, will make a tiled floor feel more cosy and less cold, while still maintaining the cleanability of this type of flooring.
  • Solid Wooden Flooring is good at hiding marks and stains caused by your dog, but, depending on the type of wood, it can be marked by claws. Always choose a hardwood in a home with dogs that has been pre-finished with oil or varnish. Solid wood flooring can also be repaired with re-sanding and oiling when needed, without having to be replaced. This means that your flooring can outlast most other types with regular maintenance.

5. Aerate the House Daily To Eliminate Dog Smells

If your worried that your house smells like dog, opening the windows and doors every day to aerate your house, has many health benefits, but in addition, aerating the home will allow those doggy smells to disburse.

Open your windows and doors everyday for about 20-30 minutes will be sufficient in removing any lingering dog smells in the house that come from the stale air.

6. Bathing Your Dog

A dog being washed with a showerhead in a bath.

Baths may help your to make your dog clean and smelling fresh, but it should be done only when needed. Too much bathing can cause your dog to develop skin problems and will wash away the essential oils that are present in their fur. The frequency of baths has many considerations, such as your dogs general activity, the type of fur they have and whether they have any underlying skin conditions.

Always use an appropriate shampoo specifically for dogs and watch for any allergies caused by them. Never use your own shampoo or other cleaning products such as dish soap, as these can cause irritation and severe reactions on your dogs skin.

When bathing your dog, be aware that they are going to shake off that excess water, along with any loose fur too! So don’t get to work on your dog if you’ve recently cleaned your bathroom. Consider investing in a wearable dog towel that will help you to contain the water eliminated by your dog as they shake.

An alternative option to bathing your dog and keep them fresh is to use dry shampoo specifically for dogs, a pet fur deodoriser, or you can wait until they are dry and then groom the mud and dirt out using a dog brush.

7. A Dog Friendly Hallway

If your home has a hallway, this is usually the place that gets the most dirty when you own a dog. Making your hallway dog-friendly is the way to go.

Having a hallway in your house, gives you an area that is permitted to be a little less clean than the rest of the house by acting as a buffer between your fresh smelling home and a muddy, wet pooch. If it’s designed correctly, with your dog in mind, you can also have an area that is easy to maintain too.

An appropriate flooring for your hallway, that is hard-wearing and easy to clean, is a good place to start. Install a hook for leads and collars, have some clean towels to hand for drying and cleaning and invest in a hard wearing doormat, will help you to keep your hallway looking its best when there is a dog in the house.

If your dog enters the house and immediately shakes off any water or dirt on their fur, having an easy to clean surface on the walls will save you a lot of time and energy. Wallpaper isn’t the best solution for a dog friendly hallway as it will be hard to clean without ruining the paper. Instead, cover the walls with a paint that is washable and hardwearing as well as the skirting board too.

Finally, remember to choose a simple skirting board for your hallway when you have a dog. It will be easier to clean and maintain.

8. Keep your Dog off of the Furniture or Cover it

Two dogs sitting on a white leather sofa.

When you own a dog, it’s so tempting to allow them to come and cuddle with you on the sofa or on your bed. This can, of course, make your relaxing areas become the property of your dog if you’re not mindful and it can also lead to some training issues and dominance in some dogs, if you allow them free reign over your furniture.

The best solution for clean furniture when you have a dog, is, of course, to keep your dog from jumping onto the furniture and instead, create their own relaxation area, in the form of a comfortable, warm and cosy bed that they cannot resist.

However, if you still wish to allow your dog access to sit on your furniture, be sure to cover it with easy to clean blankets and wash these on a regular basis. Better still, find a cover that does not allow fur to cling to it, otherwise fur will still be present on the blankets, even after you have washed them.

When it comes to buying a new sofa with your dog in mind, choose leather or one with fabrics that are tightly woven, this makes it harder for pet hair to cling to it.

9. A Clean Dog Feeding Area

The place in which your dog has their food and water can quickly become a mess of water dribbles, crumbs and dried on dog food. Making your dogs feeding area easy to clean, is a must when it comes to owning a dog and keeping the house clean.

Use a silicone, easy to clean mat to place bowls on is a start. If your dog is a breed that has floppy ears, such as a cocker spaniel or blood hound, these ears will hang into their bowls and spread water and food around. Luckily, you can buy food bowls that have narrower openings for dog breeds like these, so be sure to invest in some.

Spraying food bowls with a little cooking oil before filling with wet dog food will also help when it comes to the clean up. Dried on dog food makes dog food bowls hard to scrub clean, so this method, will save you some time and elbow grease.

10. Vacuuming the House With Your Dog in

A dog sitting next to a vacuum.

Vacuuming the house can seem never ending, when you own a dog. Unfortunately, there is also no way to avoid vacuuming when you own a dog. Instead, it’s best to make the job a little easier by investing in the right equipment.

There are many pet friendly vacuums on the market so choose one that suits your needs the best and if you still can’t stomach the idea of consistently hoovering every day, invest in an automatic, robotic vacuum and let that take care of your daily vacuuming needs for your and your dog.

Do you own a dog? What works for you? Can you share any tips and trick you use to keep your house clean with a dog? Feel free to share them with us here in the comments.

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