If you have a four-legged canine companion, you likely know that the love and friendship you get from your dog is worth a few messes here and there. But one of the things that dog-lovers often have to battle in the home is the carpet. Carpeted flooring clings on to hair, dirt, fleas, and other things that dogs track in with them, in the worst way. Even the American Kennel Club has to convince homeowners that this battle is worth the effort!
If the “Carpet vs. Dog” debate has been raging long enough in your household and you’re tired of the extra work, don’t get rid of your puppy just yet. Here are some tips for keeping the carpet clean even in a dog-friendly household.
Create a Wash Station at the Door
One of the best things you can do to keep your carpet clean is to stop dirt and debris from coming inside in the first place. Choose a door and designate it as the door that your dog will always enter and exit through. It’s great if this door can be in the garage, off the laundry room, or in the basement – but if these areas aren’t available, work with what you’ve got. Near the door, hang a basket with some wet wipes, a towel, a spare dog brush, and a spray bottle of water. Whenever your dog comes inside, wipe down their paws and brush out any bits of debris they’ve collected from digging or playing outside. Then you just have to clean up that one area, not your whole house.
Cover Your Carpet in High Traffic Areas
If there are certain areas of the house where your dog tends to hang out a lot, such as right in front of the living room’s picture window, put down area rugs or runners in those areas. This will limit how much damage is done to the carpet itself. It’s much cheaper to replace an area rug that has gotten dingy or frayed, than it is to take care of a carpet that is getting damaged by an excited dog. You can also cover hallways, place rugs in front of doorways, and keep as many high-traffic areas as you can covered so that your dog is rarely ever on the carpet.
Designate Part of Your House as Dog-Free
One thing that many pet owners do is designate one area of the house as off-limits to the dog. Usually this will be where they want to have guests, such as the formal living room, the dining room, and the guest bedroom. If you can keep the carpet looking great in these areas, you may not mind so much that the carpet in the den or your bedroom isn’t quite as luxurious any more. This can also help reduce the time you have to spend cleaning up after your dog, which gives you more time to spend enjoying their company.
Choose the Right Carpet
If you are remodeling or designing a new house, be sure to consider your dog when choosing the flooring. Some carpet is much better for hiding stains than others. Choose mottled carpet with multiple dark colors to really hide stains, and go for the stain-resistant materials. Choose something that is meant to stand up to the wear and tear of dog nails, and always choose the heavy-duty warranty.
Don’t Let Messes Wait
The faster you can clean up a mess from muddy paws or a shedding dog, the less time the carpet has to cling on to the debris. If you can get the mess cleaned up right away, you’ll have a much easier time keeping your carpet stain-free. Baking soda is a great cleaner to keep around if you don’t want to use harmful chemicals that a curious puppy might lick up. It also helps to deodorize the carpet, which can be useful if your dog has rolled in something smelly. But if you do use a carpet cleaner, be sure to get something that is non-toxic to animals.
Keep Your Dog Clean and Groomed
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your carpet clean when you have a dog, is to keep your dog clean and well-groomed. One of the biggest problems that dog owners often have is shedding. Dogs can shed for a great many reasons, including being bathed too often. Just make sure that your dog is routinely cleaned, and that their coat is trimmed and brushed often to get out any dead hairs. That will help prevent them from spreading their debris all over your carpet.
With these tips, your dog and your carpet will be able to co-exist happily...and you’ll be able to retire the vacuum for a little while!