Dogs are not among the cleanest of domestic pets to keep, and when you factor in shed hair, muddy paws, cleaning up poop, scraps of food and the natural bacteria that dogs, like all animals, carry, it is easy to see why some people view dogs as walking germ factories! It is important to implement good hygiene protocols and boundaries within your home when you share it with a dog, in order to keep the place looking clean and tidy, and to minimise the spread of germs.
While the housekeeping involved for a home with a dog is likely to be rather harder work than for a home without pets, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Read on for some tips and advice on how to keep your home clean and hygienic with a dog around.
You should keep your dog’s things separate to your own, and wash their bowls on their own and not with your general washing up. Keep leads, crates, toys, spare bowls and bedding for your dog in their own cupboard, and try to keep just one or two areas of the home for your dog’s things, rather than having them spread all over the place.
It is common sense to stop your dog from licking your face, as the mouths of dogs harbour all sorts of bacteria, including but not limited to those found in faeces! Stopping your dog from licking you as a common behaviour is wise to prevent or minimise the spread of germs, and to reduce the risk of illness or infection.
Similarly, if your dog sleeps on your bed, all of their shed hair, bacteria, possibly fleas and the muck and detritus that gets into their coats will also migrate into your beds, making them dirty and probably uncomfortable too!
Always remember to wash your hands after you have cleaned up after your dog, particularly if you have handled bags of pooh. Always wash your hands before you eat, and after you have done anything messy with your dog.
Turn it into a matter of routine with a nice moisturising hand wash, and it will soon become second nature.
Even if your dog has very short, fine hair, it is important to groom them a couple of times a week, and some other dogs with more prolific fur will need grooming as often as daily! If you keep your dog groomed and looking neat, their skin will be in good condition and you will also reduce the amount of hair and dead skin that is shed around the home, making for easier clean ups.
If you have hard flooring, this is much easier to keep hair-free than carpets, but if you do have carpets, you will need to invest in a good pet-suitable vacuum cleaner that is up to the task!
Hoover both carpets and hard flooring regularly to avoid a build-up of shed hair, and sweep and mop hard floors regularly too. Don’t forget to launder your throws, curtains and soft furnishings regularly too!
Even if your dog is way lower down than your tables and counters, shed skin, hair and general muck will likely end up on your hard surfaces anyway. Clean and wipe these down regularly with a cleaning spray or hot water and washing up liquid, and disinfect your surfaces regularly. Always give food prep surfaces a quick spray over and wipe down before you start cooking your meal.
When you come back from a walk, your dog will likely have mucky paws and generally have picked up dirt, dust and grass fragments from outside on their coat. Before you take your dog back into the main part of the house, dedicate an area such as the hallway or utility room to cleaning up your dog, wiping off their paws and brushing any muck out of their coats.
It is important that you do not wash your dog so frequently that they begin to lose the natural oils in their coats and develop irritations, but nevertheless, you should not be shy about bathing your dog! If your dog is visibly dirty, or if your hand smells when you pat them, it is time to get them into the tub! Whenever you bathe your dog, take the opportunity to put their bedding and any washable toys through a wash cycle at the same time, so that when your dog is clean, their things are also clean and fresh as well.