Dogs are great pets for a number of reasons. They are affectionate, lovable, obedient if trained properly, fun to play with and they make great companions. However, when it comes to cleanliness they are fairly firmly at the bottom of the list; dogs are probably the messiest pets around.
This can cause a problem for owners. Some resign themselves to the inevitability of having to deal with pet hair on their furniture and in their carpet, while others end up going without a pet because they don't want to have to deal with constant mess. However, it is far from impossible to own a dog and still keep a clean house.
This is not necessarily an easy task - after all, your pet is likely to try and undo all your hard work before it's even finished - but it will quickly become part of your weekly routine. Fairly soon, you will be able to have a house you can be proud of even though it is one you share with a messy dog.
One of the main things most dog lovers have to deal with is their pet's fur. This will typically find itself being left all over furniture, on carpets, and will float up to settle on countertops and tables. This not only looks messy, it is also very unhygienic if dog hair gets all over surfaces used to prepare food.
This is probably the first thing you need to deal with, as any people you have over to your house with even mild allergies to dogs will find themselves coughing and sneezing all day if there is too much fur in the air. As such, you need to get your dog's shedding under control.
The first thing you should do is brush your dog's fur on a regular basis. This will collect any loose hairs on the brush, rather than waiting for your dog to shed them so they end up floating around your home. You can then vacuum them up easily. You should give your pet a quick brush around three or four times a week.
You can also save time on dry days by brushing your pet outside. This eliminates the need to sweep and hoover up afterwards. Check with your vet or a local dog groomer to find the right brushes for your dog's breed as well, as they might special brushes if they have curly or wiry fur.
To prevent excess shedding, you can alter your dog's diet. Hair is primarily made from proteins, so you need to make sure your pet is eating plenty of this essential nutrient each day. Standard canned dog food is often bulked out with carbohydrates, which are not very necessary to a dog's diet, so you can reduce shedding by changing their food.
Premium brands such as James Wellbeloved dog food contain much higher levels of protein and other nutrients that are essential for a healthy dog. You might find that this means your pet will not shed fur as much as usual, as their coat will be stronger and healthier.
Unfortunately, with dogs you will also have to deal with their smell. Wet dogs have a very distinctive scent that can linger for a long time, so you will have to look into ways to deal with this if you want to have people round without being conscious of your home's odour.
Dog smell, like most unpleasant scents, is caused by bacteria. When your dog gets wet this can easily transfer to furniture and carpets, and although there may not be any visible stains the bacteria will still remain to fester and release the unpleasant smells.
Antibacterial spray is your best bet. You don't need to invest in any expensive odour-eliminating products, as killing the bacteria is the fastest way to go about this. Get used to spraying furniture as part of your regular cleaning routine, as well as doing so as soon as your dog rolls over furniture while they are wet.
Another major problem that dog owners have to face is scratches and marks on furniture. Dogs tend to chew and scratch things, which can ruin large chunks of your home if it gets out of hand. This is more a matter of obedience than house care, but while you are training your dog not to chew you will need to take a few precautions.
Firstly, make sure there are no fragile ornaments anywhere your dog can reach, as they may get curious and knock them over, breaking them. Then look at what your dog is ruining - is it a door, a sofa, or another item in your home? Whatever it is, you will need to protect it.
This could mean wrapping furniture in plastic to stop your dog from being able to scratch it, or putting up a plexiglass sheet on your doors to achieve the same. Whatever you choose, remember that this should not have to be a permanent solution.
If you do not train your dog not to mark your furniture, then protecting it will do no good. They will just find something else to chew. Take them to obedience classes to train the behaviour out of them, and make sure they always have something to gnaw. If you supply your dog with a large bone or something similar it will cut down on the amount they harm your furniture.
Written by: Hannah Dyball