Tips for keeping your home clean

Believe it or not, you can have a dog and have a clean, fresh-smelling home – although this does mean more housework than in your pre-dog days.

Dirt, dog odours and fur are the three big challenges. A frequent schedule of dog grooming and house-cleaning – as well as early dog training – go a long way to making pet clean-up a breeze.

Here are a few tips for keeping your home clean:

Dogs spend time outside in all types of weather. Have a plan to deal with your puppy’s muddy paws and wet coat before he gallops through your home after coming inside.

You can teach your dog to sit on a mat by the door to have his paws wiped and coat towelled dry when he comes in from a walk. Damp dogs have a tendency to smell. Consider confining your puppy to a comfortable area that’s easy to clean – such as a warm laundry room – until he is dry.

Dust bunnies from shedding coats seem to go hand-in-hand with dog ownership. Some heavy-shedding breeds sometimes need extra attention to make sure your home stays reasonably fur-free.

The best solution for controlling fur is to groom your dog frequently. A large brush full of fur is much easier to manage than the same amount of fur spread all over your living room carpet.

Bathe your pet regularly to keep dog odour from getting into carpets and soft furnishings.

Train your pet before problems arise. A dog that was taught from when he was a puppy never to jump on furniture will not leave muddy paw prints on your upholstered sofa cushions. Although some accidents are unavoidable, such as when your pet is ill, a properly house-trained dog will not use a corner of your carpet as an indoor bathroom and a male dog will not lift his leg on your furniture to mark his territory.

Try to keep messes and odours confined to small surfaces that are easy to wash. For example, place a shallow tray under food and water bowls to contain spills. And washable, rubber-backed mats make comfortable resting spots for your dog on carpets or hard floors. The mats collect fur, dust and dirt, and they can be easily cleaned in the washing machine.

Your vacuum should have strong suction. Power heads are invaluable for carpeted areas, filter systems can reduce odours, and the brushes and tools that come with vacuum cleaners are helpful for removing hair from upholstery, drapes and hard-to-reach places. – Penny Manning