Yes it is a struggle to keep your house clean with big dogs. In an area with four seasons we deal with snow, wet spring rains, summer morning dew, autumn leaves, muddy paws, dirty coats and so on. Summer is about the best weather we can hope for and the house is cleanest during the warmer months. Except of course when we play in the pool or with the water hose to keep cool!
Clean House Tips For Pet Owners
Do dogs make your house dirty? Yes. With multiple big dogs it’s a challenge to keep on top of the dirt and say my house is clean.
Keeping house clean with multiple dogs needs discipline. If you add on cats, of which we have two, there are daily chores than cannot be missed. Keeping your house clean with dogs and cats is about organization.
Understand how each area of your house will be used, where you want your dogs to have access or not. For us we’ve never let the dogs have access to the entire house. This is partly because we also have cats and they do get the entire house to use. It’s also because I did not want dogs sleeping in my bedroom, nor did I want dirty paws going up and down the stairs all day long.
Allowing your dogs to go anywhere is going to make keeping any house clean a much tougher job. Of course the bigger the house, the more cleaning you end up with.
How do I keep my house from smelling like dog? I believe that by limiting their access to the rooms with no carpets can help. Our Goldens have my office, the kitchen, breakfast room and finally the only room with carpet, the family room. This gives them access to the breakfast room door to go outside and the garage door which we tend to use when it’s wet or snowy.
The reality is they get the parts of the house where the humans spend most of their time. The dogs sleep in my office at night on their own very plush beds. We lock the baby gate.
How do you keep hardwood floors clean with dogs? Because we have an access routine the dogs are used to, it’s not too bad. On wet or wintery days or when they’ve been playing in water, the dogs come in via the garage door into my hallway which has rubber backed mats. We have about 20 over-sized towels in constant use that we lay on top, the dogs must stay until they are dry or almost dry. The wetter the dog, the more they get rubbed with towels.
Our Daily Cleaning Routine
How do you keep a dog from shedding in the house? You don’t! There are things you can do to minimize the issue. Grooming your dog regularly is the best way to keep shedding down. For Golden Retrievers and other big dogs with longer fur, we suggest a brush and a rake. The rake is a stripping tool. Once winter has passed we rake out the coats to pull out all the dead under layer.
We brush the dogs twice a week and as much as possible, do it outside. We rake (strip) them periodically throughout the year. The hotter the temps get the more that think under layer releases. The little birdies love to pick up the fur as it flies in the wind!
Every morning we go around with the Dyson Animal and vacuum all the rooms and hallways the dogs use. Hair is the most persistent issue with Golden Retrievers because they do shed a lot. You’ll find it on the floor, on carpets, on your clothes, in the car, even down your central air vents. On hardwood floors or ceramic tiles the fur ends up as dust bunnies in corners, under the tables and at the edges of the room.
Vacuuming the doggie areas every day means we never get a build up of fur. It’s the only way how to keep hardwood floors clean of dog hair. With three dogs it would be crazy to leave it to a weekly vacuum. Plus it really only takes 5-10 minutes.
I’ve mentioned before we have a back access routine for our dogs. If they have lightly wet paws they come in through the kitchen and it barely makes a mess. We can send them to their place beds to lie down. This is when training your dogs from the start creates the magic you need. Our dogs are sent to “place” and they stay there until released. They are pretty good but will get excited if another family member or visitor enters the room and break the hold. I can deal with a little dew on paws everyday.
Dogs that go out in rain or on very wet ground from rain or snow are kept off the carpets and floors until the paws are much drier. They stay down my hallway with a baby gate to keep them there. Bodies get toweled off. I have left my dogs as long as an hour while they air dry. Often they just lie down and go to sleep.
The worst of all scenarios is muddy dogs. Especially when it’s cool or cold. Unless you have a room where you can wash them, what do you do. Some of you may choose to take the dog to your bathroom and wash him off in the shower. Unless you have a ranch or no carpeted floors, something gets dirty along the way.
We stick with our toweling routine and making them wait. Golden Retrievers have a wonderful coat. As it dries it releases the mud which literally falls out. It reminds me of a self cleaning oven! They lie and dry on the towels, we brush out what’s left, wrap up the towels and throw them in the washing machine.
If their paws are very mucky which is often the case in spring, we’ll take a bucket of warm water into the garage and dip the paws in to rinse off the mud before they come into the house to dry. This practice is especially useful during the winter here in Illinois, when sidewalks and roads are often covered with ice-melting agents or salt.
Two of our dogs will allow some paw agitation to loosen any muck, the third hates his paws being touched, so he is a dunk and pray job. It works well enough. Dogs have this innate ability to run on the muddy tree and flower beds, dig and dig and come home with black paws! Why they cannot stick to the grass is a question only they know the answer to!
Puppy Place Mats
We’ve got two large water bowls for the dogs under which is a boot mat. We are trying to catch the spills and it works about 50% of the time. I recommended a rubber backed mat for water bowls and eating bowls. In my house it’s just not possible. My dogs eat and drink close to the back door and we’ve got a bay shaped door with heat vents.
The more dogs you have the more floor space needed for their bowls, something I am lacking. That’s one issue with open plan floor spaces and not allowing them in the laundry room because of the cat litter trays. So we have a mop nearby and mop during the day as needed.
My dogs eat from elevated feeding bowls. It’s better for their necks. Fortunately Golden Retrievers like many big dogs are meticulous eaters, not a drop or splash of food ever left! Even if one dropped a bit of kibble or crumb of food, the others will mop it up instantly. Every bowl is licked until they are clean and dry. I clean the food bowl stands once a week, they do not get very dirty.
More House Cleaning to Keep Your House Clean with Big Dogs
Cleaning The Carpets
Work quickly on the accidents and stains. If you have a spot carpet cleaner your job is so much easier. Using a spot cleaning machine with pet stain carpet shampoo is highly recommended. Scrap up any solids or fluids as soon as you can. Blot with a dry white cloth to absorb remaining fluids. Use hot water and pet shampoo to clean thoroughly. I add OxyClean solution as well for the best cleans I have ever achieved.
If you do not have a cleaning machine follow the same rules for removing solids and fluids. Then rinse and soak your white cloth in a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of washing liquid and hot water and blot, blot, blot. Use another dry white cloth to blot again to remove the washing liquid. Repeat until the stains are gone. The hotter you can stand it on your hands, the better result you’ll get.
Remember for both that wet or damp carpet attracts dirt like flies to a cow. So cover the damp area in a white cloth until bone dry. Camp carpets that attract dirt from the house, humans and air are the hardest ever to get clean! It sets into the dampness as it dries.
My favorite cleaning machine for pet spills is the Bissell SpotClean PetPro portable. We’ve tried many spot cleaners over the years and this one is the best so far! I like Bissell pet shampoo too.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Most of the area our big doggies use is hardwood floors. The most important aspect is to keep them dry. Water and wood do not go well together.
Of course slopped water, dropped food and dirty paws make the hardwood floor cleaning a twice a week job. Stains and mud need to be cleaned often. If the wood is wet we dry it right away.
We recommend a micro fiber mop for all your hardwood cleaning, whether it’s mopping water or cleaning. Use a dry microfiber mop to brush dry things to a dustpan.
Most homeowners have hardwoods with a sealed surface. The sits in top of the wood and helps prevent water or stain absorption. If your floors are dirty, spray the mop, not the floor with a minimal amount of cleaner and brush the same way as the grain of the wood.
Do not be tempted to use a steam cleaner on hardwood floors. No matter how tight your seals are between planks, water will get in. If your top surface is starting to wear, water will even attract dirt and slowly but surely your wood will start to look dirty.
Clean your microfiber pads regularly.
Newer wood floor products are coming out all the time. You may have hardwood that looks untreated. While it may not have a top surface, most likely it has been oiled. This seeps into the wood and hardens. There’s no sheen and the wood is more porous. Cleaning with water will cause you big problems. There are specialist cleaners for this type of wood and we suggest contacting your hardwood specialist if you have some spills that need cleaning.
Best Tip: Do not let your dogs eat or drink on hardwood floors and keep wet and muddy paws off as much as possible.
Cleaning Ceramic Tiles
Yes sometimes they come in looking like this!
The easiest of all floor products to clean and the best suited to kitchens and laundry rooms where there is always water! A mop of your choice, floor cleaning solution or spray and a quick wipe over once a week to keep your floors clean. You can also use a steam cleaner because ceramic is impervious to water.
For muddy paw print trails a quick mop up is fast, quick, easy and I wish I had some ceramic floors in my doggie areas. We will be incorporating ceramic into our new house. With big, active doggies that eat and drink in my kitchen, it’s the must have product on my floors.
What About The Walls?
If you want to keep your house clean with big dogs that happen to be Golden Retrievers, the walls come into play, often. Goldens love to sleep upside down, or will jamb themselves up against the walls, muddy paws and all.
We have painted our house with Satin finish paint. It gives your wall a soft sheen and is so much easier to clean that flat or matte. We find paw marks in the weirdest of places but a damp cloth and the marks are gone. I clean walls on an as seen basis.
It looks like Makenzie has been brushing her paws along this wall today, I just happened to see her asleep behind me.
Keeping Your Upholstery Clean
I never allowed our dogs to get on the sofa but my husband did and that was that. So the same rules for the carpets apply. My big dogs were all taught “off”. It means get off whatever you are on. So if I need them off the sofas they’ll do as told. They also know the word “no” so if doing something I don’t want, they’ll stop.
Because the dogs do get to sleep on the sofas, I just use my Dyson to vacuum the sofas once a day as well. One option is to put towels on your sofas for dogs to sleep on. It would not work in my house. I would have sofas totally covered and I am not into my house looking like a dog house! I’ll wash the cushion covers as needed.
We have tightly woven fabric and we don’t spend a lot of money on our sofas now. I would caution against leather because lots of claws means lots of scratches. Of course a good pattern will hide any dirt for a while, I have chocolate brown sofas which get decorated daily with golden fur. No choice but to vacuum!
Cat Cleaning Routine Blends In
While cats do shed fur it’s never more than a little tuft or two here and there. I just pick those up as I see them. Cats that live indoors have litter trays. We’ve always used big trays with lids. This minimizes the litter being kicked around. Litter does track and after trying mats and litter catches, none of which helped, we simply clean the boxes twice a day and vacuum in the mornings.
We’ve had 7 cats over the years and can say with certainty they all have their own issues. We had one cats that pooped outside the box. He used the same place, we removed the carpet and replaced with hardwood and gave him puppy pads. Cat pee is the worst, shampoo your carpets as much as you like, the smell of ammonia remains forever. We tried as we had a cat that did this every now and then. At the grand age of 19 he recently passed away. We replaced the carpets in the current house 2 weeks later. One room got upgraded to hardwood.
Cats are terrible for vomiting hairballs. Every cat we’ve had, has vomited hairballs. Two cats used to overeat and then dispense dinner on the carpet. Cats love to vomit on carpet! They seek it out. A good carpet cleaner is essential for cats and dogs in a household.
Keeping The Car Clean with Big Dogs
Good luck! Of our three big dogs my two boys are the largest and both are a little nervous in the car. I drive an SUV and we fold the back seats down. They shed more in the car than anywhere else. They drool in the car! They have vomited in the car. We have a WeatherTech cargo liner for the back. It’s rubber and just pulls out for a hose down.
If your dogs ride on the back seat, consider a washable back seat cover. Don’t forget to buckle them in with a pet seat belt!
Keep your house clean with big dogs with 20 minutes a day, just keeping on top of it rather than letting it end up being a big job.