Love your dog but tire of the mess? As lovable as they are, dogs can wreak havoc on our homes. Thankfully, most pet messes are preventable, and what can’t be prevented is easy to manage as long as you’re proactive. To keep your house clean, canine and all, follow these four tips.
Up the Exercise
If your dog tears up the house every time you turn your back, it’s a sure sign he’s not getting enough exercise. Dogs need daily exercise not only to stay fit and healthy but also to curb destructive, restless, and attention-seeking behaviors. While exercise needs vary depending on a dog’s breed, age, and health, most dogs need at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Highly active breeds like collies and pointers may need up to two hours of exercise per day.
Exercise needn’t be restricted to walks around the neighborhood. Vary your dog’s exercise regimen to include a mix of vigorous activity, moderate activity, and mentally stimulating play. If you’re struggling to meet your dog’s exercise needs on your own, look into hiring a dog walker or sending your dog to daycare while you’re away at work.
Make Grooming a Habit
While some dogs shed more than others, all canines shed fur and dander to some degree — even breeds marketed as hypoallergenic. While you can’t prevent shedding, you can minimize the amount of fur floating around your home and landing on your carpets, furniture, and clothing. Regular grooming removes loose fur from your dog’s coat so it doesn’t end up in your home, while bathing your dog with a moisturizing dog shampoo minimizes dander.
Even the most fastidious grooming can’t eliminate shedding completely. Remember that shedding is natural for your dog, and not something he’s doing wrong. Instead of getting frustrated over fur in your home, buy a vacuum built specifically for picking up pet hair. A lightweight model allows you to easily move from room-to-room and lets you clean the tight, hard-to-reach places that fur can float into. A quick pass with the vacuum every couple of days goes a long way to keeping your home clean – just be sure to shop for a model made for cleaning up pet hair, otherwise your best cleaning efforts may go to waste.
Schedule Regular Bathroom Breaks
Few things are more frustrating than a dog that’s been house trained for years suddenly having accidents inside. If you’ve taken your dog to the veterinarian and ruled out underlying health issues, it’s time to revisit your house training regimen.
First, increase the frequency of bathroom breaks. If you take your dog outside before it’s urgent, he’s less likely to have an accident indoors. When your dog toilets outside, praise the behavior. If you do catch your dog toileting inside, interrupt and redirect him to an appropriate bathroom area. If you find a mess after the fact, don’t punish your dog. Dogs can’t understand correction after the fact.
Secure the Trash Can
If your dog is a regular trashcan raider, focus your efforts on prevention, not correction. You’ll be hard-pressed to teach a dog that smells in the trashcan aren’t worth going after. Instead, purchase a lidded trash can that fits into a pantry or cupboard. If your dog has learned how to open the cupboard, a child-proof lock may be necessary. While it’s somewhat inconvenient to open a door every time you need to throw something away, it’s much better than cleaning up spilled garbage or risking a foreign body obstruction in your dog. If your dog has gotten into the garbage and isn’t acting like himself, read Pet Health Network’s signs of a gastrointestinal obstruction and take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect he has an obstruction.
It’s frustrating when a dog makes messes at home. Sometimes it feels like your dog is acting out of spite or being stubborn for the sake of it. But the truth is, most messes that dogs create are the result of natural behaviors. By ensuring your dog’s needs are met, spending time on training, and taking basic preventative measures, you can prevent most doggie disasters at home.
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