How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Your Home Clean

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  • How to Keep Your Dog From Wrecking Your Home

    Petra B.

    Dirty paws. Funky smells. Pet hair everywhere! Keeping a home clean when you have a dog can be challenging. But it’s not impossible. How do I know? Yours truly shares her tiny New York City apartment with an 80-pound pit bull.

    On top of regular cleanings, these surefire solutions have seriously reduced the mess my fur baby creates. Even better, all of these tips have made life at home better for both of us.

  • Get Your Pup Tuckered Out

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Before getting into the nitty-gritty of cleaning, meet Rex, my high-spirited dog. Like many pups, he has loads of energy to burn. When he doesn’t get to work it off outside, the second I leave, he tackles the wastebasket and plays hockey with whatever spills out.

    If your dog also becomes a little homewrecker when left alone, some extra exercise each day may make your pup less prone to destructive indoor behavior according to the Human Society.

    How much exercise does your dog need? It varies based on your puppy’s size, age, breed, and personality. To learn more, check out this article by the ASPCA. For the record, Rex gets walked three to four times per day, and his first daily outing is one hour of play time in the dog run.

  • Clean (and Toss) Dog Toys Often

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    Dog toys can quickly become breeding grounds for nasty bacteria that can affect your dog’s health. Washing them, especially after being used outside, will eliminate harmful germs while cutting down on the amount of dirt tracked around your home.

    To remove grime on plastic toys, scrub them using warm water and a mild dish soap. After cleaning, you can disinfect them by soaking toys in one part water mixed with one part white vinegar for an hour. Afterward, rinse toys with fresh water and pat dry.

    Cloth toys can be washed in a washing machine using a small amount of hypoallergenic laundry detergent. Next, toss in the dryer on a low setting. 

    Periodically check your dog’s toys for signs of wear. Toys on their last legs not only create debris — bits of fabric and string or pieces of plastic all over the floor — they can also become a choking hazard for your pet.

  • Groom Him Regularly

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    A dirty, smelly dog can make your home equally messy and stinky. Regular grooming, like bathing and brushing, will keep your home tidier while preventing serious canine health issues associated with poor doggy hygiene.

    How often should you wash your dog? At least once a month but before doing so consult with your veterinarian. For the record, I bath Rex one to two times per week.

    Here’s another grooming tip. You already know how filthy and germy the local park, sidewalks, and streets are in  your area. But you may not be aware that when you walk your dog, his paws will track those outdoor nasties all over your home. Worse, the pollution can make your dog sick if he licks it.

    What to do? Wiping your dog’s paws with a clean damp rag as soon as you enter the home helps. Even better, I trained my dog to jump in the tub after every walk so I can rinse his paws with a handheld shower head — If he pooped while outside, I also give his butt a quick rinse to remove anything left over. Afterward, I pat him dry. Here’s how you can teach your dog to like the tub.

  • Dog Proof Your Space

    Deirdre Sullivan

    Dog-proofing your space with washable rugs and cotton canvas drop cloths will help keep floors and furniture clean.

    An easy to clean rug in my entryway is a drop zone for dirty stuff entering my apartment including my dog. For instance, if Rex got all muddy at the dog run, it’s where I quickly wipe him down before he jumps in the tub.

    Do you let your dog on the furniture? I do too. That’s why I keep my sofa and bed covered with washable canvas drop cloths. They’re durable and also a lot cheaper than traditional furniture pet covers. A 9ft-by-12ft one costs around $20 on Amazon while a dog couch protector from Orvis costs more than $100. I usually throw them in the wash every two weeks.

  • Invest in Outerwear

    Deirdre Sullivan

    When foul weather strikes, a winter coat and waterproof bootees fit for your pet will help keep rock salt and outdoor wetness out of your home. I usually remove Rex’s outerwear before I enter the apartment.


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