Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT
Director, Special Projects, Animal Sciences, ASPCA
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
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
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
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.