Dogs are dirty, there’s no way around it. Especially puppies, and especially our puppies since they’re certifiably insane 90% of the time. To make matters worse, I am a very tidy person and essentially our entire house is white. I can’t tell you how many people told me I would have to get rid of my white couch/bed/everything when I have pets and children, but I refuse to do it. Instead, I’m using a few techniques to manage having both messy pups and the beautiful home I love.
1. Wipe their paws
This has become absolutely essential since we moved into our new house with a big backyard and it started raining nearly every day. During this particularly stormy time, we limit their use of our dog door so that we can monitor as their muddy feet come in and out of the house. We typically towel them off from head to toe when they come inside, paying particularly close attention to paws. Even during the drier months, we use these wipes to clean them up after hikes or time outside to prevent dusty marks all over the couch.
2. Bathe regularly
Bathing too frequently can be harmful to your dog and their natural oil production, so we aim to shampoo them up about once a month. Now that they’re getting a little older, we also plan to start having them professionally groomed a few times a year to keep them looking their best. Naturally, they get plenty of wiping down in between these baths (see above).
3. Brush, brush, brush
We always brush them as soon as they dry out after a bath. Fortunately, this particular breed (Mini Aussie) doesn’t shed that much on a daily basis, but brushing helps to minimize that. We use this Oster rake to pull out fur from their undercoat so it doesn’t come out all around the house later. If you own a dog that is a heavy shedder, I would honestly recommend doing this nearly every day (or as often as you can).
4. Spot clean daily
I’m big on tidying things up as you go, and the dog messes are no exception. We are fortunate enough to have a regular housecleaner who does the bulk of our cleaning (I could write a whole blog post on what a life-changing decision that was), but of course she’s not there every single day. Contrary to most recommendations, we let our dogs lounge on all our furniture so there are inevitably some paw prints that make it onto the couch or a random rock on top of our bed. Every day I wipe down any spots on furniture with a damp rag, put their toys back in their basket, and sweep up any loose dirt in the yard. Doing things like this keeps these little messes from turning into big ones, and keeps our white couch from turning into a brown one.
5. Let it go (a little)
When all is said and done, dogs require you to relinquish a little control. They’re animals and don’t understand my compulsive need for tidyness. I do whatever is within my control to teach them how to behave properly and I clean up the messes they do make, but I also understand that we are the ones that made a choice to bring wild animals into our beautiful white house, and they deserve to be able to live a little too.