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Cleaning Up After Your Dog

When it comes to keeping your -friendly home from going to the dogs, as reader Jan Trober puts it, you overwhelmingly suggested three key strategies: preventive grooming, old towels by the door, and furniture covers you can whisk into the laundry. Great (-loving) minds do think alike! Our thanks to everyone who wrote to share bright solutions and endearing pictures.

Read on for more useful ideas, and keep it all in perspective with Words to clean by.

Linda Meggison
Sturgis, Mich.

* Consider installing commercial carpet with no pad underneath very easy to vacuum and steam-clean.
* Cover dogs beds with crib-sized comforters easy to remove and wash.
* Once a month, bathe dogs, and launder their bedding, clothing, and nylon collars and harnesses.
* Train dogs that lay on people beds to lie in one spot, on an animal blanket that can be frequently laundered.

* Brush your dog often [to catch loose hair before it lands on the floor and furniture]. If your dog is uncooperative, put a very thin layer of peanut butter in a heavy food dish, and take the dish and your dog to a bathroom with a [non-carpeted] floor. Shut door, put bowl on floor, and brush your dog until the peanut butter is gone! Repeat as needed.
* Use placemats under dog dishes.
* Use baby wipes for quick cleanup on paws, coat, and rear end.
* Simmer mulling spices in water on the stove to combat general doggie odor in the house.
* Pour one-half to one cup of clay (not clumping) kitty litter on vomit or diarrhea in the house or yard. It makes pick-up easier in the house and helps you avoid stepping in it when in the yard.
* Keep a stack of old T-shirts or hand towels near each entry wipe paws before entering house.

After my two Boxers, Ginger, 3, and Apollo, 4 months, eat their meals, I wipe their mouths with a paper towel and rinse their bowls clean. (They eat from dishes placed on a boot tray to catch drooly messes.) Obedience training is important in keeping them clean when eating. I teach them to wait when I put their food down, so they don’t make a mess by knocking it out of my hand, and they come when I call them to have their faces wiped after eating.

The trick to controlling most doggie messes is preventive maintenance. A good grooming every day just seven minutes of work not only lets you check your dog for tumors, ticks, or lesions, but eliminates a good portion of floating dog hair and helps control pet dander, which contributes to doggie odor.

Walk your dog in the rain or snow and let him swim in fresh water because this eliminates a lot of dander and the odor associated with dander. (If your dog swims in salt water, rinse him afterwards in fresh water because salt water increases oil and dander in the coat.)

Leather furniture doesn’t hold hair like fabrics do, and wood or vinyl floors are by far the easiest to maintain when you have a dog.

Living with three Jack Russell Terriers that are white balls of energy and totally terriers, we understand the necessity of keeping our home from going to the dogs. Our dogs have a large fenced area in the country, compete in go-to-ground, and love to hunt.

To help keep our home clean, we have installed a baby gate between the tiled kitchen and the carpeted area of the rest of the house. This way, we can dry our babies when they are wet before they make that mad dash through the house and paw-print everything.

My husband also installed a utility tub with a dog sprayer in our laundry room so that we can wash or spray off the dogs when they are covered in mud.

Our time-efficient secret to a fresh-smelling house is ceramic lightbulb rings. One with a few drops of fragrance oil can freshen multiple rooms all day. You can purchase a ring and oil set for about $10; one bottle can last months. You won’t regret this new trick!

I’ve learned that towels are a girls best friend! On rainy days and during the winter, I spread a few bath sheet-sized towels on the floor by the entrance to our house. They soak up mud and snow off paws as we come in. Then, I always have a few more big towels waiting by the door to wipe off the whole dog. Duncan is trained to wait in the entrance until he’s toweled off. Cleanup is easy as all the towels go right in the wash! I use towels in my minivan too saves the carpeting and seat covers.

I also use a fabric throw over the couch it picks up the dogs hairs and random spills and can go right in the wash. Underneath, the couch looks like new when company comes over.

To keep up with shedding, we have several serious grooming sessions each week. But I also brush him every night for at least five to 10 minutes, and it really keeps the shedding under control. It also means he’s shiny and clean, and looks and smells great not to mention the quiet time together it gives us.

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