Thursday, March 1, 2012

DoggyStyle: On Dogs and Cleanliness

It seems like I've been talking to a lot of people lately who are hesitant to get bigger dogs because they assume it means bigger cleaning time. Since we've been getting asked this question a lot, here are some simple things we do, so it's never really been an issue:

Less Shedding:
The biggest problem I had with Miss M was that she would shed like crazy; I thought I could have built a second dog out of the 'tumbleweed' I found across the floor. Then we discovered fish oil for dogs. Miss M had a really dry coat, and by adding a couple of squirts of fish oil to her meals it keeps her skin and coat healthier which means it's less dry and prone to shed. We've also heard fish oil can be good for allergies, and it helps cushion the joints for older dogs.
We also use this Kong Zoom Groom Brush which looks deceptively ineffective. The nubs actually really grab the undercoat, and I like how it has a larger surface area than the other deshedding brush I tried, which means less time brushing. Every so often I will take the pooches outside for a quick brush-out. The extra benefit: in a bind, it doubles as a durable dog toy.

Less Mud in the House:
Just like a person who takes off their shoes at the door, we wipe our pooches feet each time they come back from a walk. It may seem a bit time-consuming to wipe each paw for each journey out, but when I realized all the mud, dog feces, uneaten food, and worms found on Chicago sidewalks, it seemed worth it to make sure none of that was being tracked into our home. Plus, the pooches have gotten used to it. Check out how Miss M actually waits and gives us each of her paws before she can come inside.

Less Dust:
Since Chicago doesn't really have 'lawns', it does tend to get a bit dusty especially in the summer. Plus, fostering a dog like SuperLevi who loved rolling around, even in the streets, did make them a bit dusty in-between baths.We use these wipes for dogs in-between baths, and we also like a waterless shampoo to wipe them down and keep them smelling good and not getting dust allover the furniture.

Behavioral Accomodations:
 A lot of people ask whether we let our dogs on the furniture, and our decision to not allow dogs on the furniture was actually a behavioral decision rather than a cleanliness decision. We have all seen how stubborn and bossy Miss M can be, so I always kept strict rules with her to make sure she remembers she has to be respectful and listen to me; imagine how much more arrogant she would be if she were allowed to become queen of the couch. So we don't let our dogs on the furniture, but we do have some comfortable accommodations all around the house where we can lounge with them. We do know a lot of dogs who can go on the furniture without letting it go to their head or being an issue.

Of course, we do know the benefits of having our dogs far out-weigh any time spent cleaning. Anyone else have any cleaning tips to offer?

22 comments:

In Black and White said...

I'm the same after walks, or even just trips to the yard, I wipe down Bill's paws (and even his rear end, since it's allowed on furniture!). I did switch to bulk-buying baby wipes instead of the fancy dog wipes I was using because it just became prohibitively expensive, especially when you add fosters to the mix.
I also have a steam mop for the floors which I'd highly recommend! It's a one time purchase as the cloths are washable and there are no chemicals involved, and it does a great job of getting any slobber/food/stray muck off the wood floors.

HoundDogMom said...

Amiee has dry skin but we just found out she has a low thyroid so hopeuflly meds will help her skin. But we are going to try the Fish Oil to help with their skin. Having a doggie door they access 24/7 makes cleaning feet hard so we have decided to come up with a kitchen floor design that has doggie paws on it. That way I will never have to worry about wiping up doggie paws. BOL I just love all the things you do with your fur-babies. I have thought about sending Winston to you for training, but the more I think about it I think it is ME that needs to come to your house for training. :) Sniffs, The HoundDogs

RuthieJ said...

These tips are much appreciated. Being a new pibble owner, I've learned so much from reading your blog. Thank you.

Rebelwerewolf said...

Great ideas! I'll give baby wipes a try to reduce the amount of dog-smears on our walls.

pittiefullove said...

We do baby wipes too! (for paws, and a general rub down). Some dogs accidentally pee on themselves (not mentioning any names...) so we keep them by the door just in case. I wish we were better at doing it every time! PS we LOVE the zoom groom too (even when its bath time!)
PPS- im so siked blogger has been letting me comment lately :)

Lindsay said...

My dog Ace is a bigger dog who drools a ton. So, I have a designated drool towel for him :)

Getting all dogs to reliably obey a down/stay command is also a big help. It is an easy way to calm them down when they're getting extra playful. They can't knock anything over when they are lying down.

I've also learned to keep our trash in the bathroom with the bathroom door shut. It's actually not my dog who gets into the trash, it is my cat! But I know a lot of bigger dogs have the tendency to get into the garbage. Just keeping it out of sight is a good idea.

SherBear said...

I have the same dog brush, works wonder for Miss Nala!! (although she is not much of a shedder to begin with). That is the brush that Anti-Cruelty recommends for short-haired dogs, cheap and effective!! (and yes, Nala would love to use it as a toy)

Kerri said...

I use the doggy wipes as well, and I find they do a good job. We got some that have a soothing oatmeal formula for sensitive skin, and it does help with skin dryness.

Wiping feet at the door is a must in our house, since the dog is allowed up on furniture. We also put down a fleece throw on the couch so he tends to only curl up in one spot, and then we just wash the blanket regularly.

danielle said...

Unfortunately, some dogs are allergic to fish oil. I started giving it to my sensitive skin, allergy prone pittie thinking it would help and her allergies got much worse before I pegged it to the fish oil. She now gets flax oil and so far we haven't had any issues.

Daisy Dog said...

I have a question, I have allowed my dogs on the furniture and since any pillows or dog beds on the floor end up being destroyed, other than the "Kong" dog bed I found. I would like to stop that practice. I think for Daisy it might be easier, she only is allowed on a specific chair, not the couch. Its Roscoe (17 lb) Jack Russel/Corgi that jumps on everything. He is very food motivated. Is it "mean" to change this up now after so long?

Daisy Dog said...

I have a question, I have allowed my dogs on the furniture and since any pillows or dog beds on the floor end up being destroyed, other than the "Kong" dog bed I found. I would like to stop that practice. I think for Daisy it might be easier, she only is allowed on a specific chair, not the couch. Its Roscoe (17 lb) Jack Russel/Corgi that jumps on everything. He is very food motivated. Is it "mean" to change this up now after so long?

Skinny Fat Kid said...

Izzy is allowed on the furniture, but she typically lays in one spot on the corner. She has her blanket there to snuggle with.

We should start wiping her paws too. We do it when she goes out in the rain, but should make it any every day thing.

And how did I not know Mr. B work a dapper purple easy walk harness?? So fancy.

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

Those are great tips! We also always wipe Zoe's paws each time she goes outside... she now knows to expect it. We also use the anti-fungal wipes on her paws daily, which help keep her clean. The weekly baths also help (but before we knew she had such bad allergies, we used to use doggie wipes!). I really want a steam mop and am saving up for that! We also have a Dyson vacuum, which is a miracle-worker. We're obsessed. Also, for our cats, we use this brush called a "Furminator" and it works incredibly well.

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

I'd be hardly the one to offer tips...I'm afraid our place doesn't stay as clean as I might like it to. I do love how the pit bulls, in contrast to the shepherd, shed so little--but there's still a lot of dust/dander!

aliceeverydaypets said...

When I had a dog (amstaff mix) I would always, always wipe his paws with a wet cloth. I live in a "4 seasons" climate, so there's a lot of mud during spring and autumn... besides the obvious dirt on the streets. So cleaning the paws before entering the house is definitely a good thing. :)

Emily said...

It's not my house being clean I worry about, it's my car! I swear my car smells like dogs all the time and is totally covered in hair. I want to know what works to get hair out of car seats. We usually throw a big blanket down, but I need to invest in a seat cover. I know ryanspet.com sells them cheap as well as other travel accessories. But with doing volunteer transport I have had so many dogs throw up in my car, get mud and dirt, drool and grime all over it almost seems like a lost cause! Other people with large vehicles can crate for transport, but I drive a Cobalt so I am without that luxury.

Blonda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blonda said...

I use a brush on my upholstery and carpets in my car. I have a Newfoundland and loads of fur to deal with. I alternate brushing and vacuuming the fur up. It is truly amazing how clean it gets. A sprinkle of Carpet Fresh or baking soda left over night then vacuum and it controls dog smell.
We just started wiping Moose's paws. He is not thrilled with this new routine. I keep a spray bottle by the door with Tea Tree oil diluted in water. We use it for paws and general tidiness. Moose smells clean and it is quicker than getting to the wipes. I show him how cooperative Miss M is and he is not amused.

Kimberly said...

My comment is about dogs on furniture. When my dog was less than a year old, he was not allowed on the furniture. This was his training period, and it was not until he had demonstrated consistent good manners that I began to allow him up on furniture. And the privilege of being on furniture was only when he was "invited". Now that my dog is 3 he is allowed on the furniture without an invitation. But, he must obey the "off" command when/if given. When our dog gets too rambunctious or needs a refresher in his manners, then we revert back to the "not allowed" on furniture requirements.

To Daisy Dog's question as to if it is mean to change the rules: For me, I think it's fine to change the rules. The key is to be consistent when the rules change. --It may sound like I contradicted by self above, but when we revert to no furniture then it is 24/7. We ease back into more relaxed "rules".

Pibble said...

Let's see. Five dogs... clean? I'm not qualified to answer!

As for Daisy's question, no it's not mean. Just switch out the couch for a comfy bed on the floor, and be consistent, as Kimberly says. Now, Roscoe will work it for all it's worth, but you have to be strong! :)

ForPetsSake said...

Great post with some great suggestions. We're big advocates of fish oil, too. It's great for the heart, along with skin and joints. I hadn't considered wiping the paws each time out - now I'm thinking of all the nasty little things that get dragged in on their paws. Ugh.

skreidle said...

Our AmStaffs don't shed much, but they definitely get muddy! Our ZoomGroom is in the bathtub, be have a Bamboo (brand) microfiber glove/mitt by the door for paw/leg-wiping, and we've been thinking about this Paw Plunger that's currently on sale via DoggyLoot: https://doggyloot.com/deals/363/

:)

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