By Eugenia Vlasova

Helping Paw

Every pet owner knows that pets are cute but messy. Though keeping a pet-free house clean is probably much easier, pet owners know that a bit (or sometimes a lot) of extra work is not a big price for all the fun and love we receive in return from our furry, four-pawed friends. Let’s scratch the topic a bit and talk about how to keep our houses clean with cats and dogs.


Most cats and dogs have fur. That means you should expect their hair flying all around your house as soon as you bring them home. You can not make your home free of pet hair, but you can make this problem manageable. Here are a few tips and tricks on that:

  • Brush and groom your cat or dog regularly, preferably every day. That alone will cut down on all that hair floating around your home.
  • Keep lint rollers ready around your house, particularly, on the places where your pets like to lie. Lint rollers are not for your clothes only – you can remove pet hair from the furniture, and even roll them over the fur of your pet. My cats really enjoy it.
  • Vacuum the heavy traffic areas in your house a few times a week. Carpet cleaners who did my basement last year recommended daily vacuuming for carpets and rugs in any house with pets, but let’s be realistic. Having small cordless vacs handy in the areas where pet hair accumulates is very convenient. Also, robotic vacuum cleaners like Roomba are life savers because you can program them for any time, even when you are not at home.
  • Many pet owners I talked to spoke very highly about Swiffer Sweepers for hard floors. The swiffer cloths attract and trap dust and hair, and, unlike vacuum cleaners, they don’t blow the hair around.

Keep Those Paws Clean

Winter and spring, with all those puddles and mud outside, are particularly dirty seasons. The trick is to keep the dirt outside. Place two door mats at the entry – one outside and one inside. They really help cut the dirt down. Train your dogs to wait on the mat until you wipe their paws after a walk. Some dog owners suggest to keep a shallow water container ready and wash the paws, if they are really muddy or if your dog has to step on salty ice melters. Most dogs seem to be fine with the paw-wiping routine, and, while taking just a few minutes, it saves a lot of time and efforts later on.

Treat Accidents As An Emergency

When an accident happens, clean the mess ASAP. We shouldn’t even have to mention that, but really, the easiest way to prevent the mess from spreading around is to clean it as it happens, be it a hairball, pieces of litter, or a puppy puddle.

If you don’t react fast enough, the stains may persist, and the odor would make your dog or cat think that it is the right place to do that. This is definitely not what you want in your house.
A bit of dishwashing liquid should do the job, but if you still smell the odor, try products made specifically for pets – they are designed to destroy that smell. Don’t use any cleaners containing ammonia – it smells like urine for pets.

Get Your Family Involved

Pets are family members, and everyone in the family should maintain the cleaning routine to keep a house homey. Wiping paws, cleaning up litter boxes, quickly vacuuming dust bunnies on the stairs when noticing them, wiping up the floor if the mess happens – it doesn‘t take much time, and everybody can do that, even children. Those small efforts add up, and, when the time of the “big cleaning comes”, you may be surprised how little is left to do.

Everything is Cleanable

While all pets can definitely be messy at times, the joys and benefits that you and your family will experience from adopting a pet will far surpass those less enjoyable moments. Margaret McCauley Martin from MotorCity Greyhound Rescue, who has three wonderful greyhound dogs, says, “We do the best we can, but no matter how hard you try, they still make a mess. You pretty much have to realize that you will be cleaning the house a lot. It’s almost like when you are married…there is a lot of compromise. Same with pets, it’s not always perfect but it’s so worth it to be loved by your four legged friends. My motto is “Everything is cleanable”.

Photo by Chris Pirillo

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