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Make your home pet-friendly

Posted: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Whether your pets are kept indoors all the time or outdoors all the time, or come and go as they please, there are a number of things you can do to make both your life and theirs easier.

With a few simple fix-ups and the right decor, your home will be a low-maintenance, comfort-inducing refuge for everyone.

With a nod to Leanne Potts’ article on making your home pet-friendly (, we’ll offer some tips. And, along with that, Certified Professional Dog Trainer Mark Tipton, of AngelDogs Training, adds his insights.

Vacuum regularly

You should vacuum pet hair off furniture at least twice a week. And, possibly daily when your pet is shedding.

“Dog hair and dander will need to be vacuumed up two to three times a week, and brushing daily for a few minutes will help also,” Tipton said. When your pet is shedding, vacuum more often and brush a couple times a day, he added. “You can teach your pets where it is acceptable to sleep to reduce the amount of hair on the furniture,” he said.

Bathe/groom often

“I recommend a bath for your dog once a week, with a shampoo that is made for dogs or cats,” Tipton said. “Human products are not good for your pet’s fur or coat. Also, have your pets teeth cleaned twice a year, or ask your vet for  his or her recommendation.” Keep their nails short, he added.

Keeping your pets clean will help your house stay clean. Well-trimmed nails won’t scratch floors or upholstery, and regularly brushing and bathing your pets removes loose hair before it ends up on the furniture or floor. Your furniture and rugs will last longer if they don’t need to be washed as often.  


Stain-resistant fabrics

Choose fabric for your furniture that does not collect pet hair. Velvet for example, is particularly bad. You might consider Crypton, which is a synthetic fabric that’s resistant to stains, smells and bacteria.

Leather is always a good choice on furniture. It’s rugged and easy to clean. And Ultrasuede is a machine-washable microfiber that feels like real suede.

Washables on the bed 

People love to have pets on their beds, but there are drawbacks. Dogs and cats bring in dirt from outdoors and cats cough up fur balls. Cover your mattress with a thick pad and use cotton bedsheets, preferably in a medium color or a pattern that can hide the pet hair and stains between washings. Duvet covers can be washed.

Skip the carpet 

Carpet may feel soft, warm and wonderful, but it absorbs odors, traps pet hair and stains. If you do put in carpet, choose a low pile. It’s easier to clean and less likely to get snagged by your dog’s toenails.

Hard-surface floors

Bare floors are best when you have pets. This can include hardwood, painted concrete and brick. Hardwood floors are simple to mop or vacuum and add a warm glow to a room, but the toenails of large dogs can scratch them.

Ceramic tile is easy to clean and ultra-resistant to pet stains. It won’t be scratched by pet toenails and pets like to chill on it in hot weather. Even if they are sealed, marble and natural stone can be damaged by pet stains.

Tipton added, “If you have senior dogs, have some carpeted runners and some areas with rugs for your pet to lie down on. It’s hard for older and larger breeds to get up on smooth surfaces. Give them a bed in a quiet area to rest and get away.”  

Animal room

If your dog goes in and out of the house, ensure the entryway can stand up to it. For example, if the doggie door is in the breakfast room, you might consider putting in tile there, along with mats to soak up wet paw prints and such. Keep towels handy to wipe the dirt off the dog (and the floor).   

“For a cheaper way, you can have a large outside-area placemat outside the doggie door, and on the inside, a runner for the dog to clean its paws,” Tipton said.

Treats and toys

Pig ears and rawhide chew toys are smelly and can leave greasy stains on floors and furniture. “And these should only be given if you are there to make sure the dog doesn’t choke on them,” Tipton said.

Instead you might use rubber toys such as the Kong — which Tipton said can be stuffed with peanut butter, cheese whiz or kibbles soaked in water, then add honey wrap and freeze. “You can also get a machine that will dispense Kongs on a time-delay,” he said. 

You can also use the Super-Tuff Rhino, and Tipton said the Buster Cube with Charlie Bear treats inside is also good.

Colors match pet 

If you have the opportunity, you might try to match your color scheme to your pet. For example, you could paint a concrete floor the same shade of gray as your cat, or cover your sofa in a microfiber that matches your golden retriever. Their hair will be less visible this way.

Mark Tipton, CPDT-KA at (661) 803-8461,



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