Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., Companion Animal Programs Adviser. National Outreach
Housekeeping is a casual affair for some–a little hair here or a stain there is of no major importance. Others are more fastidious. While adopting a shelter dog can turn your house into a home, without some forethought regarding home decor, a dog could turn your showplace home into something less. The following tips will enable you to have both a loving canine and a well-appointed home.
Employ dog crates and gates to confine your new dog when home alone until his house manners earn him unsupervised freedom.
Keep nails trimmed and file down any fabric-shredding rough edges.
Wipe off jowls and long, floppy ears after each meal. A large, absorbent placemat under food and water bowls will make for easier clean-up after messy eaters.
Keep the dog well-groomed. Trim hair around genitals, anus and belly so that dirt and waste have no place to cling. Frequent brushing outdoors will keep indoor shedding to a minimum.
Machine-washable area rugs are preferable to wall-to-wall carpeting. If urine soaks into carpet backing, it is nearly impossible to remove. A carpet care product such as Bissell’s Spotlifter® may prove indispensable if you can’t remove the wall-to-wall.
Roll up vegetable-dyed Oriental rugs until your new dog is fully house-trained and, if rugs have decorative fringe, well past teething age (over 8 months of age).
Tile, sheet linoleum, and Pergo® are very pet-friendly floorings that allow you to easily wipe away any pet waste. Seal hardwood floors with polyurethane to prevent urine odor retention.
Wipe off feet each time the dog comes in from outdoors. Place a machine-washable area rug by the door. Keep a towel handy near the entry to wipe down the entire dog on rainy or slushy days.
Use washable semi-gloss paint in areas where the dog will spend the most of his time. This is essential for those with loose-jowled dogs such as coonhounds and mastiff types that are more likely to shake spittle onto the walls.
Washable vinyl-backed wallpaper is preferable to the traditional paper-backed wallpaper.
Relegate antique wallpapers or fabric wall treatments to the top half of the walls; paint or hang a washable wall covering below.
Avoid vertical blinds, pooling drapery, ornate tassels and long cords which can be a strangulation hazard. A dog that gets caught in any of these treatments could panic and bring anything around him crashing down.
Mini-blinds can get bent beyond repair when they block a curious dog’s view of the outside world.
Fabric shades, café curtains and dramatic valances are better choices for dog-friendly homes.
Patterns and tweeds are more forgiving, but if a light-colored solid is your upholstery of choice, machine-washable slipcovers will be your salvation.
Leather and vinyl are easy to clean but can be damaged by toenails that aren’t meticulously kept short.
Provide comfy dog beds in each room or designate one piece of furniture as the dog’s place. Cover this piece with a washable throw and teach the dog that this is the only piece of furniture he is allowed to frequent.