Keeping Your House Clean When You Have Dogs

Have you ever walked into a pet owner’s home and immediately knew they had pets? It’s always the smell that gives it away.


When we first got a dog I was determined to not let that be our house. I don’t want it to smell and I don’t want there to be tumbleweeds of dog hair floating about.


We have had two dogs for over 4 years now. I clean up after them daily. I now have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep the mess down and the bad smells away. Here are all of my tips for keeping your house clean when you have dogs. 


clean house with dogs

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Vacuum and Do It Often


My number one tip for keeping your house clean when you have dogs is to vacuum and do it often.  Dogs are constantly shedding and bring dirt in the house. If you let this go, your house will get dirty and it will get smelly. Keeping your house clean when you have dogs is impossible without a good vacuum. 


I recommend getting a vacuum that has a special attachment made for dog hair. I have a Shark Navigator that was designed to deal with pet hair and it works great. It even gets dog hair up off my wood floors. The attachment makes it easy to get dog hair off my couch, dog beds, etc. 


best vacuum for dogs


When we first got Thor I did a TON of research on vacuums. The one we had just wasn’t cutting it. I kept coming back to the Dyson, but could not stomach spending that kind of money on a vacuum.


Eventually, I came across the Shark Navigator, read a whole bunch of positive reviews and decided to go for it. I have been so happy with this vacuum. It has never let me down.



Also, clean out your vacuum often. Dog odor seems to get caught in the vacuum. When you run a dirty vacuum it starts putting out the dirty smell. The Shark Navigator is a canister vacuum, which makes it really easy to rinse out in the sink.


Let Dogs in the Back Door


The second biggest obstacle to keeping your house clean when you have dogs is how much dirt they track in. When it’s wet outside I do my best to let the dogs inside through the side door of our house. (We don’t actually have a back door.) This brings them through a little hallway, and into the kitchen.


Their first few steps are always the dirtiest. Bringing them in this door means their puppy paw prints will be left on the rug in that hallway and not on the wood floor/rug in the living room.


Clean Their Paws Off


Cleaning a dog’s paws when they come in the door is a common tip. Most people recommend keeping a towel by the door to make this easier. This is something I’ve always been lazy at.


I’m wondering if using a Dog Paw Washer will make this even easier?!


I came across this Dog Paw Washer and thought it seemed a bit unnecessary, but possibly genius at the same time. Is that even possible?



I’ve never used this product, but it looks pretty simple to use. Let me know if you have ever used one and what you think.


Brush Your Dog


I got this really handy dog brush for my dogs and it is crazy how much dog hair comes off of the dogs.


Thor is constantly shedding, especially in these warmer months. He is going to lose his hair no matter what. I can either let him lose it in the house and spend all of my time cleaning it up, or I can brush him outside and save myself the time and headache.


Pet deshedding brush


Have a Backup Bed Set


This is for those of us dog lovers who let the dogs get into our beds with us. We try to limit the amount of time our dogs spend in our bed, but sometimes their cuteness wins us over.


Having an extra comforter allows me some extra time to get the bedding washed if the dogs have left a mess. It’s not anything elaborate either… I just picked one up from the Walmart clearance section.


Use Throw Pillows With Covers


This goes along the same lines as having the extra bedding. My couch pillows all have covers on them. This makes it way easier to keep them clean. I even have new covers over old pillows that didn’t have covers. 


Throw Pillow Removable Covers


I just take off the covers and throw them in the wash. It can be impossible to find pillows with zip-off covers these days. I haven’t had any luck in any retail stores in a few years. I did find some great options on Amazon recently.


Throw Pillow Removable Covers

Additional Quick Tips for Keeping Your House Clean When You Have Dogs:


  • Wash their dog beds often
  • Put an old blanket where they often lay down
  • Have a basket where you keep their toys/bones
  • Use Dishwasher safe dog bowls


Cleaning Up Urine and Vomit


To keep your house from having that “we own a dog smell.” You have to clean up messes right away. I use the same 4 steps when cleaning up their most disgusting messes. (Only use steps 1 and 2 for hard surfaces. )


  1. Soak up the mess and get the spot as dry as possible
  2. Clean up with vinegar – Spray and wipe away on hard surfaces, dab onto cloth, rugs, etc.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and let it dry for several hours.
  4. Vacuum up the dry baking soda


I hope keeping your house clean when you have dogs will be easier now that you have read these tips. No one will ever know you have a dog… until they get attacked with puppy kisses. 🙂

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best vacuum for dog hair


  1. Janae

    February 1, 2024 at 2:13 pm

    Growing up, my mother would spray the dog with Febreze 😂 looking back, probably not the best idea. My carpet cleaner suggested using baking soda before vacuuming to help with my home’s pet odor. Works great!

  2. Barbara Mack

    October 21, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for the tips. There are two products I cannot live without as my Lab/Retriever mix sheds too much hair to my liking. The one is an Evercare Extreme Roller Stick and the other is a Swiffer extension mop with the fluffy pads meant especially for dog hair. Both are amazing and found on Amazon. I have a cover over the entirety of my sofa but I still have to “roll” it before I put it in the washing machine because my dogs hair sticks to it. I then soak my cover for an extended period, then wash. My sofa has four foam cushions which I’ve encased in black plastic bags which are then inserted back into the washable zippered covers. I have also purchased painters disposal plastic which I cover the sofa with before replacing the cover. This way I feel safe that my dog and grandchildren can healthily share my sofa. 😂

  3. Samantha

    May 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    I have shorthaired dogs and it is still a struggle to keep the house clean! My least favorite time of year is Winter, because our backyard turns into a huge pile of mud. Good tips!

    1. KatiesKottage

      June 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Yes winter is the worst for those muddy paws! Thanks. 🙂

  4. Nikki

    May 29, 2018 at 1:56 am

    I can relate to all of this! Constantly vacuuming dog fur, lint rolling our couch, washing blankets and sheets weekly, and lighting candles to get rid of that wet, muddy dog smell on rainy days. I embrace it though, I love my baby too much!

    1. KatiesKottage

      June 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Same! I love the fur balls… I do however wonder how I ever let my husband talk me into two large dogs. Oh well. 🙂

  5. Denise Riehle

    May 28, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    As my German Shepherd is sitting here next to me (even though I told her “I’m working” lol) I appreciate your words of advice. That magic pro comb looks like something I need to investigate.

    1. KatiesKottage

      June 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      My dog that sheds the most is part German Shepherd. The Magic pro has been a huge help!

  6. Kelly

    May 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    We have three dogs and I am vacuuming all the time! And we keep a clean bath towel next to the back slider to clean feet! It is possible, but it is a lot of work!

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 28, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Yep, it is extra work. They always remind me that it is worth it when they are giving me puppy kisses and cuddles. 🙂

  7. Mimi

    May 28, 2018 at 11:39 am

    This is so helpful, I have two fur babies that shed a lot! It’s so hard to keep the house clean

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 28, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      It’s definitely a challenge. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  8. Julie

    May 28, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Thanks for the tips. We will be needing a vacuum in the future and I will definitely keep the Shark in mind. I haven’t seen that paw washer before but that is genius! I hate trying to stop our dog from running in the house and wiping her paws when it is muddy outside. This seems like it would be a quicker solution.

  9. Danielle

    May 28, 2018 at 6:43 am

    You are like me – I am always aware of doggy smells in other peoples houses and did not want the same for our house either.
    The right vacuum makes a huge difference – The pet hair head looks awesome and we also wash a lot of the covers often to keep things clean and fresh.
    The place I struggled with is the car….Trying to keep the car clean with a dog is hard!!

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Yes the car! I didn’t even think of that. We try to keep them in our old truck as much as possible, but there are times when I’ve had to use my car and it’s still dirty from them. I use to use a seat cover in the back seat, but now we have a car seat so that doesn’t work as well.

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