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How to Keep your House Clean when you Have Pets

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The Ultimate Guide to Keeping a Clean House with Dogs

chihuahua with house cleaning supplies

The statement a house is not a home without a dog is a universal truth.

Another universal truth is that house is not a home unless it is lived in, and homes that are lived in can get messy.

By following the advice in this article, it is entirely possible for you and your dog to live in your home without it becoming an epic legendary mess.

Get in a Clean Routine

Make a habit of cleaning your home regularly. If you’d rather tackle it all at once, pick a day a week to clean your whole house, or choose to do one chore per day to spread it out.

I notice for me, it’s easier to do certain tasks each day. One day is dusting, vacuuming and mopping downstairs. Another day is to do those tasks upstairs, another I clean all the bathrooms and so on.

Here is a generalized cleaning to do list for dog owners:

Daily Tasks

  • Sweep up crumbs from around your dog’s food station.
  • Pick up their toys and put them in a toy box.
  • Wipe down kitchen counters.
  • Do dishes; food bowls should be done daily, water bowls may be done every few days.

Weekly Tasks

  • Thoroughly clean bathrooms.
  • Thoroughly clean kitchen.
  • Vacuum entire house. Do consider a good vacuum geared for households with pets. I love my Dyson cordless animal. It’s not cheap but works great and is able to handle the mess my busy household (full of kids, adults and dogs) throws at it.
  • Mop non-carpeted floors.
  • Laundry; your clothing, your dog’s clothing, bedding and harness (I actually do one load of laundry every day to keep up with it-it just depends on how much laundry your household generates).
  • Dust molding, baseboards and furniture.

Monthly Tasks

  • Wash windows.
  • Change air filters.
  • Bathe and groom your dogs (bathe once a month, but they may need more often. Try not to bathe more than once per week unless necessary).
  • Clean out refrigerator and freezer.

By regularly cleaning your home, especially your dog’s areas, you will prevent an accumulation of fur and debris.

2 chihuahua dogs in pink dog bed

Mess Prevention

Preventing messes is an essential step to keeping your home clean. Let’s discuss some of the most common dog messes and ways to prevent them:

Make a nest. If your dog is allowed on furniture, you might notice that their favorite spot accumulates fur and drool and yuck.

Clean their spot very thoroughly, and lay blankets or a couch cover on the couch where they like to lay. Then put their dog bed that fits nicely in their favorite spot on top of the couch cover, and put your dog’s very favorite blanket on top of the bed.

This will attract him to sit where you want him to – in an easier to clean area. He won’t be able to stay away!

Then as you notice fur and yuck accumulating, wash the blankets and beds – it is much easier to wash them than the couch.

Be sure to vacuum your couch regularly too.

Master the Menu. Learn what foods your dog tolerates easily and what foods your dog does not tolerate to prevent messes from upset tummies.

If your dog regularly gets diarrhea, discuss adding a pro-biotic to help them have better bowel movements with your vet.

Make Meal time less messy. Canned dog food can be pretty odoriferous, and some dogs are very messy drinkers.

By purchasing a mat for your dog’s bowls to sit on and a feeder with a shield like the neater feeder, you can catch some of the mess from going onto the floor.

cute chihuahua dog by puddle of urine

Regular Potty Breaks. Make sure that your dog is taken outside to go potty regularly.

If your dog has accidents in the house frequently, take them on a potty break at least once an hour.

You could also try training your dog to ring a bell when they have to go potty; there are bells available to be rung by paw or knocked by nose.

If your dog just will not go outside, try to create an indoor bathroom to prevent accidents.

If your dog isn’t fully house trained,  keep them in a crate, playpen or a blocked off room when you are not home.

Deal with Marking. If you have a male dog who marks his territory regularly, there are a few options for dealing with this unpleasant habit:

  • Belly Bands are a rectangular piece of fabric that is worn across your dog’s “red rocket”, so if he tries to pee, he pees into the belly band instead of in your home.
  • Use gates to block your dog’s access to his favorite places to mark.
  • Another solution to marking is neutering your dog if he is not neutered. Neutered males tend to want to mark less than unaltered males. It doesn’t always work, but if marking is an issue, it’s worth a try. Plus, as male dogs get older, being neutered prevents certain cancers.

Engage in Chemical Warfare. Use a strong cleaning solution like Nature’s Miracle Advanced to effectively remove vomit, diarrhea, blood, urine and the scent of urine.

This formula even works on old urine stains, making marking in the same spot less appealing.

Easy to clean Flooring. If you have the opportunity to pick the flooring of your home, be sure to pick easy to clean flooring, such as tile or laminated wood.

If you have an easier to clean flooring in one part of your home, try to make that space your dog’s area.

Be Road Trip Ready. If your dog does not travel well, use a crate in the car for him to ride in.

A plastic crate is easier to clean than the interior of your car. If he gets sick the mess will be contained and it will be easy to transport him to a bathroom to clean up without getting yourself or your car messy.

Be ready to tackle messes. If it’s raining, or if there is snow and ice outside, you know your dog will get messy on a walk from the moisture and the sidewalk salts.

Train your dog to wear boots, or if he will not wear boots, make a paw cleaning station by the door. Have a utility mat on the floor inside your door, and have a towel and paw cleaning wipes ready.

Don’t play with pests. Fleas are attracted to wherever dogs are; they will go into clean or dirty homes.

Should you discover a flea infestation, take care of it before it gets out of control. You need to treat your dog, your home and your yard at the same time. Here are several articles on fleas:

Fleas, Ticks and Other Nasties

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Best Natural Flea Treatments for Dogs

I’d love to know what your biggest issues are with keeping your house clean when you have pets. And also if you have any tips, please share them with us!








chihuahua dog on edge of couch

Mariam Rojas

Monday 18th of November 2019

Hi! I am Mariam from Costa Rica. I adopted a beautiful adult deer head Chi past July, we named her Chloe. She is so clean and easy going but, our biggest issue with her is the pee time. We live in a second floor house with no access to backyard or grass space, so we need her to do her "things" in the laundry room on the old newspapers. The thing is that she does not have a particular spot where to go. She does sometimes in the kitchen and the next day in the living room and the next day in the hall. I bought a sandbox for cats, and I really want to train her to use that box but, I would like to know if someone else has experience with the sandbox training and their Chi's. Thanks for the heads up on my comments. Regards!


Monday 18th of November 2019

I have heard of some people having success with a sandbox but have never tried it myself. You might have more luck if you get a strip of grass to put in the box. Here's a link to what I mean: Whatever you use, when you find she has gone where you don't want her to go, clean the area with a paper towel (if it's pee) and put the paper towel where you want her to go. If it's poop, just put that in the spot where you want her to go. Be sure to thoroughly clean the area where you don't want her to go with an enzyme cleaner (or white vinegar) to get it all up. Until you have her trained, you may want to keep her on a leash and keep her with you all the time while you are home so you can keep an eye on her. Any sign of wanting to go potty, immediately take her to the sandbox and tell her to "go potty" (or whatever phrase you want to use). If she does go in the proper place, praise her and you can even give her a tiny treat. When you aren't home, keep her in the utility room so she isn't free to potty anywhere she wants. It takes time and consistency.


Friday 15th of November 2019

Hi Cathy: have you tried getting a very large, oversized umbrella and holding it over you and Lucy when it rains. My Pokita hates to go out too when it rains too. But I find if I put her leash on and carry her out then put her down on the grass with the umbrella over us she goes quickly and we run back in. Just a thought! But of course our back up is always potty pads which my Pokita uses too! Pokita is 15 so we have pretty much got our routines down! Love your beautiful Lucy, ❤️?


Friday 15th of November 2019

No I haven't tried an umbrella Irene but I will now! It's supposed to rain on and off for the next 3 days so I'll plenty of chances to give it a try.