This post is sponsored by The Libman Company but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I’ve had many dogs in my life since my childhood, and each one holds a special place in my heart. With each dog came new challenges on how to keep a clean home, they all have their own personalities and messy habits. This blog post is filled with all the learnings from my experiences and can help anyone smooth out the process of bringing a new furry family member home.
Establish a Cleaning Routine - One of the biggest changes you'll notice in your home after bringing home a new dog is the amount of increased cleaning you'll need to do. While our furry friends bring lots of love and good times, they all bring in a lot of dirt and hair. Your home's floors will especially take a big hit, particularly wood and tile flooring.
We have a crawling baby in the house so we have no choice but to keep on top of the mess our dog Holly makes. Every Sunday is my designated day to attend to the floors and tidy up the house. The first thing I do is sweep up all the big dog hair dust bunnies with my Libman Precision Angle Broom which allows me to reach into the corners where dog hair loves to hide. Next I get out my vacuum and pick up all the dirt and hair that the broom left behind on the wood floors and vacuum the rugs.
For the final touch, I use my Libman Tornado Twist Mop to pick up dirt particles and sanitize the floors. I mix a non-toxic cleaning solution with extra hot water into my bucket, and use the twist feature to throughly wring out the water for a clean sweep.
Install A Dog Door - Depending on the type of living situation you have, a dog door may be the perfect solution to "potty time" for your pup. If you decide to give your dog free-reign of the yard, it's super important to make sure that your yard is fully enclosed. The last thing you want is to have your new dog running away from home. If you've got a large breed dog, make sure your fences are tall and can't be jumped over or knocked down by your dog.
Backyard Clean-Up - Big backyards are great for dogs to run around and play, but they can also represent a danger if the yard hasn't been tidied up. Make sure the grass and brush haven't grown too tall, ticks and snakes love to hide in there to jump on their prey. Thoroughly search the ground for nails, broken glass and rusty metals. Make absolutely sure there's no rat traps,
Poison Control - Just like you need to "baby proof" a home for a new child, you have to do the same with a new dog. Some dogs like to get into cupboards and pull out bottles of cleaning solution and chemicals to chew them up. Make sure everything is either up high or locked away.
We had one dog who loved to find electronics and chew up the batteries, which is extremely dangerous. We had to completely re-organize the closets to make sure he couldn't reach anything hazardous. If you suspect that your dog has been in contact with a possible poisonous substance, call your vet or the ASPCA animal poison control number at (888) 426-4435.
Protect Your Furniture - A common place for dogs to chew is on the bases of furniture, especially wood furniture. If you've adopted a puppy, they will go through teething and really love to chew. We wrapped up the legs and bases of our furniture in bubble wrap and duct tape to protect them from doggie teeth.
Dog Sleep Zone - Just like us humans, dogs need a cozy place to sleep. We have a two story house and we've got two big beds for Holly on both levels. She always wants to hangout with the family and that way she can rest comfortably wherever we are. When you go to purchase your dog bed, make sure it has a removable cover that can be washed in the washing machine. Also make sure that it is thick enough so that they don't feel the floor beneath them.
Food Storage - When you purchase your big bags of dog food, make sure you have a sealed air-tight container to store it. Leaving an open bag of dog food in your house is an open invitation for ants and mice (yuck!). This container will also keep the kibble from going stale.
Food and Water Bowls - There's all kinds of bowls out there on the market and most dogs don't need anything too fancy. When shopping for food and water bowls, the important things to think about is durability and functionality. If your dog is an enthusiast eater and they end up trashing the bowls all over the kitchen, then you probably want to steer away from delicate porcelain bowls. We had a dog who chewed up his plastic food dish, so we had to switch over to thick metal bowls.
Your dog's water bowl should be extra large because dogs need to drink lots of water. On the market you'll find refilling reservoir water bowls which is ideal when your dog is alone for long periods of time. Make sure daily you dump out all the old water and refill with fresh water.
Healthy Treats - When we shop for our food, we try and opt for healthy options. The same goes for our furry friends. We want them to live long and healthy lives, so we have to provide food and snacks that are free from unwanted additives. Avoid dog treats that contain artificial flavoring, such as popular bacon flavored brands. There are dog treats on the market that double as vitamins and supplements too.
Treats can serve two purposes, positive reinforcement when training and just plain fun treats. Treats shouldn’t be a substitute for meals and should be given sparingly. You don’t want your pooch gaining too much extra weight, it’s not healthy for them.
Chew Toys - Some dogs are extra playful and need entertainment and stimulation beyond walks. There are tons of of different types of dog toys out there and it may take a few attempts before you find your dog’s favorite kind. My dog loves kong toys (you put peanut butter or treats inside and she’s entertained for a long while) and she loves toys that make a squeaky noise. We’ve had dogs in the past who favored toys made of leather and nylon chew bones.
Collars, Leashes and Harness - Dogs love their walks! And it’s great for their humans too. We have both short leashes for walking in crowded areas and long leashes to give her more freedom to roam in the park.
Collars need to have some way to contact the owner incase they escape and must also have a license and rabies tag. Holly has lost her tags in the past (this is very common with dogs) so now we have a collar that has a contact info plaque directly on the collar.
For dog walking we recommend using a harness. It’s the safest and most humane way to control their pulling. Even with large and strong dogs, a well-designed harness can keep them walking at a comfortable pace.
Dog Crate - Crate training is commonly done when you don't want your dog to have free run of the house when you're not home. If you plan on doing crate training, I highly recommend starting when your dog is a puppy. It is much harder to get them adjusted to being inside a crate if they're accustomed to having the freedom of running around the house.
Some dogs adjust to crate training well, and for others it's not a good fit. My dog Holly absolutely hated her crate when we lived in an apartment in San Francisco. She had a lot of anxiety being home alone in the daytime and she was very destructive to our rental. We ended up finding a roommate who also had a dog, which really calmed her down and we didn't need the crate anymore.
Doggie Gate - If there are areas of your house that you want to remain dog-free, a simple doogie gate can do the trick. Designating these areas early on can save you a lot of trouble down the line with reducing the amount of damage a new dog can cause.
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