For many people, pets are family. Plain and simple. Our furry friends offer unconditional love and companionship, cheer us up after a tough day, and keep us company during our round-the-house activities. Pets can be great, but they can also offer some tough challenges, especially when it comes to keeping your house clean. Dirty paws, shedding fur, destructive behaviors…all these things can be difficult to deal with, especially with a busy schedule.
What to do? How can you keep a tidy house and have pets? Here are our top suggestions:
Problem #1: Pet Hair
- Make sure your pet is properly groomed on a regular basis. In between trips to the groomer, have a fur-fighting brush on hand and use it! I swear by the FURminator, which can reduce shedding up to 90%.
- Get a quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Look for a vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachments. And if you want to take the easy way out? Buy a Roomba! These robotic vacuum cleaners are so smart that they begin to learn the layout of your home.
- Use an air filter and change it frequently
- Use rolled tape or a lint roller to easily remove pet hair from clothing
- An alternative to vacuuming is to put on a wet rubber glove and brush down your sofa and chairs by hand. Use your fingers to get right into the corners of cushions. Afterwards, simply rinse the gloves under the tap to remove fur (and, of course, don’t forget to clean out the drain!)
- Use an electrostatic mop (instead of a normal one) because it attracts hair.
- Designate a spot for your pet. If you’d rather they not sit on the furniture or your bed, lay out the ground rules early on. Create a comfy haven for them to bunker down–ensure that their bed fits them properly and, if they’re a fairly social pet, make sure they aren’t too far away from the family.
Problem #2: Dirt, mud, and other stain-causers
- Create a mini “wash station” for your pet to deal with outside mud and dirt. Have a bucket handy by the door that you can readily fill with warm water and two towels–one for washing off dirt and one for patting dry
- Invest in a “Spotless Paw” glove
- Place a puppy/kitty mat under food and water dishes for sloppy eaters and drinkers
- If you have cats or large dogs that like to jump up, wipe down your counters before prepping any food. Keep your cutting boards, knives, and other food prep tools in drawers or away from nosy pets
- If you have a puppy or a kitten, you know all about household accidents. One of the main tricks for dealing with potential pet stains is to tackle them early. According to Martha Stewart: Blot (don’t rub!) the spot with a clean cloth. Then apply a solution of 1/4 teaspoon clear dish soap mixed with one cup warm water; blot with another clean, dry towel. Rinse by blotting with a towel dampened with warm water. Continue alternating with a soapy towel and a clean, damp towel until the stain is gone. For stale stains or persistent odor, call a professional carpet cleaner.
Problem #3: Destructive behavior
- If your cat is a scratcher, consider installing furniture guards to the arms of your couches and chairs. Another great solution is investing in some claw caps. These caps stay in place for a month or two and are a pain-free solution to stop clawing
- If your dog is scratching, it could be because of a number of things. First of all, make sure his nails are trimmed regularly. Long nails become uncomfortable quickly. Another reason your dog might scratch is to let you know it wants to go in or outside. One way to deter this behavior is to place a jingle bell on your doorknob and show your dog how to use it. Demonstrate how he can nudge it and then let him outside immediately–most dogs will catch on quickly
- Destructive behavior can also, of course, be caused by anxieties. A pet might grow anxious if she hears thunder or fireworks, if she is left alone for too long, or any number of things. Do your best to create a safe environment for your pet. Dogs often like to have a crate or other enclosed, comfortable space where they can hide when they’re frightened; cats like enclosed “cat castles” so they can safely observe the world below. Another solution for animals that fear loud noises is to use a “thunder shirt.” This jacket-like item can be placed on your pet during a storm or fireworks display and provides gentle pressure on them, like a hug. This kind of pressure is comforting and can help them through periods of fear.
- If your cat periodically goes to the bathroom outside its litter box, you might be able to solve this destructive behavior simply by cleaning the box more frequently (every day is recommended, and completely changing out the litter every 10 days). If you have multiple cats, you may want to invest in multiple litter boxes. Cats can be oddly territorial over their favorite box.
- Chewing is another destructive behavior that can take a toll on your home. One way to prevent pets from noshing on furniture is to spray the furniture with a bitter apple spray. The scent is almost invisible to people, but pets hate it. Of course, you’ll want to replace off-limits chewing areas with toys that are meant for chewing. Be sure to praise your pet when they are chewing the right thing.
Don’t forget to exercise your pet regularly, feed it properly, and show it plenty of love!
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Samantha Grose is both Associate AIA and Allied ASID. She is the lead designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO. She takes a unique approach to design creating spaces that are casually sophisticated and timeless in design, where you and your family can live comfortably. She has worked extensively throughout the TWIN CITIES area having completed many new homes and large scale whole house remodels.
Samantha received her BS from the University of Minnesota majoring in both ARCHITECTURE and ART. She is deeply committed to a creative approach giving you highly functional spaces with an aesthetic appeal for everyday living.