All dogs are perfect, but they aren’t always the best roommates. They shed, they climb on furniture, and if they’re an American Bulldog named Gus, they drool and lick themselves incessantly. But, as the proud mother of said bulldog, I know there are few joys greater than coming home to a 60 lb slobbery mess that wants to jump on me and lick my face as soon as I walk through the door. Yes, I am that kind of dog mom. I let my dog jump on me, lay on the couch, and sleep in our bed because he has me wrapped around his little paw. But as whipped as I may be, there is no denying that a dog in the home causes some challenges, design-wise.
As I coming to find out, designing a dog-friendly home requires thoughtful consideration and those who’ve lived through it are our best resource. So I did what anyone would do. I asked my boss to ask you, the real experts, how you keep your homes dog-friendly and clean. Now I’ve gathered the results and can’t wait to share all the tips and tricks. We’re talking best and worst fabrics, best cleaning products, easy hacks, and more. Let’s get to it:
The Best (& Prettiest) Dog-Friendly Sofas
Leather: I know there are people out there who live in “no dogs on the furniture” households. These people deserve this recognition and will likely announce themselves in the comment section (please do and please give me all the advice on how to accomplish this). The rest of us need something a little more foolproof than that. I was recently in the market for a new couch and because my life revolves around my dog, I had to ask what is recommended for dogs (specifically ones that shed a TON). I was told leather is the #1 recommended for dog owners which is no surprise. Leather is easy to wipe clean and hair isn’t going to stick to it. Obviously, real leather will hold up better to scratches, but faux leather is just as easy to clean – just not as durable.
Tightly Woven Fabrics: If you aren’t into leather and want something cozier, have no fear. There are some woven fabrics out there that are very durable and stain-resistant. My research tells me the tighter the weave the better (think chenille and herringbone – fabrics with texture that will hide hair – but watch out if your dog is a digger as their nails can cause damage). Also, synthetic fabrics like microfibre are high on the pet (and kid) friendly list because they can be spot-cleaned with most carpet cleaners and pet hair is easier to remove with lint rollers and vacuums. If you are going for a woven fabric though, you might consider matching the fabric to your dog’s hair color as best you can unless you don’t mind seeing hair everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
Velvet: About half of you swear by velvet and the other half will be calling me crazy in the comments section. We actually wrote a post about this last year, and we learned that synthetic velvet is more dog and kid-friendly because it holds up better to scratching and is easier to clean and keep hair-free. So, if you are in the market for velvet furniture go for synthetic or performance velvet for best results.
The Best & Most Stain Resistant Rugs:
Cowhide: I have a white cowhide rug and even between my wine spills and my dog’s occasional throw-up spells, it somehow remains stain free. This is no exaggeration when I say it is the easiest thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of cleaning (and I hate cleaning). If you get to the accident fast enough, a rag and some water will usually get the stain right out, but if it is a more stubborn stain laundry detergent works like magic. In my experience, even faux cowhide is easy to clean simply because the hairs are spread out far enough so you can scrub the hide and you can rub back and forth without worrying about damaging it. Emily also swears by cowhide rugs for messy kids and pets.
Vintage Persian Rugs: If you’ve ever had a vintage Persian rug you know they can take a beating but what’s even better is their age and wear are a part of their charm. This makes accidents and scratches less of an issue and if it does stain, the intricate patterns do a good job of masking it. We know they are an investment but Emily and Sara vouch for the Persian rug stain-resistance and even though they are cat owners, I trust their judgment. 🙂
Ruggable Rugs – The people have spoken. The days of getting on your hands and knees and furiously scrubbing pee stains are over. Machine washable rugs are the future, my friends, and I am happy to report that we received tons of DM’s praising Ruggable. Our work here is done.
Best Cleaning Tools:
Now, for the cleaning portion, aka the dog owner’s biggest hill to climb. It is safe to say that ordinary cleaning tools do not cut it for the dog friendly home. We need heavy duty, and specifically designed tools to 1. clean up hair and 2. remove odors and pet caused stains. Here are the top picks:
Chom Chom Roller: EHD Alum Emily Bowser recommended the Chom Chom Roller a while back and it has since become a most talked about product in the office. Cat and dog owners alike agree it is the only pet hair remover that 100% removes hair from fabric surfaces.
Germ Guardian Air Purifier: It’s quite shocking how much air becomes compromised once a dog enters your home and life. The sheer amount of dust and debris that accumulates is unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced. An air purifier is essential to filter the hair and dander that accumulates so the air in your home stays fresh and breathable.
Roomba Vacuum: I am not sure if robots will be doing all our chores in the near future, but I am pretty happy the robots have taken over vacuuming. In a dog household, vacuuming hair is a DAILY chore, so thanks Roomba for taking one thing off our to-do lists.
Dyson cordless animal vacuum: Of all the products recommended to us, those who told us about this Dyson animal vacuum were by far the most enthusiastic. It is cordless and designed to pick up animal hair, so even those tricky needle-like hairs are goners.
Folex: If accidents are frequent, this will keep your carpet clean and will remove the odor completely, so your dog doesn’t mark their territory over and over.
Nature’s Miracle: Dogs can smell bad. Can we talk about this? It is awkward to say because it sort of suggests that our homes also smell, but that does not have to be true. Enter Nature’s Miracle, which eliminates pet odors from fabric surfaces like no other.
The Dos, The Don’ts, & The Easy Everyday Hacks:
1. Cover furniture. Invest in a few inexpensive yet stylish blankets or quilts that you wouldn’t mind seeing every day. Slipcovers work as well, but blankets can add more visual interest and do not need to be taken on and off all the time. With a few large blankets, you can drape them over furniture and if an accident does happen or it starts to get too dirty, you can swap with another one. I do this for my sofa and my bed, so when it’s time for the humans to relax, it’s as simple as removing the dog blanket.
2. Have throw blankets everywhere. Dogs will curl up wherever the most snuggly spot is. If you want to try and keep your pup off the furniture, arranging a throw or two over a rug will almost guarantee a snooze in that spot. One of you suggested getting an oversized IKEA sheepskin rug and cutting it up into small sections, then layering around the house. I just want to say I LOVE this idea and will be stealing.
3. Keep trash enclosed. I know you seasoned dog parents know this, but it’s worth highlighting. Covered trash cans are non-negotiable, even if your dog is the most well-behaved. No one wants to come home to yesterday’s pizza box ripped to shreds all over the carpet. If your little “angel” is a little more mischevious, keep the trash in a cabinet if possible. We’ve all seen what dogs can do when they put their minds to something, so it’s best to keep the scents as sealed off as possible to avoid any temptation.
4. Set up a paw cleaning station. Most of us don’t have mudrooms, so taking a dog for a walk on a rainy day (or any day) can be chaos – especially when they run straight towards your white sofa. Not to be dramatic, but setting up an area in your entry where you can rid paws of any dirt or mud is life. changing. This can be as simple as keeping wipes or a small rag and water bottle in a storage bench near the door.
5. Put on music when your dog is home alone. If your pup tends to get extra anxious when you leave them alone, it helps to leave relaxing music on for them. When a dog is anxious or has separation anxiety, they tend to act out in ways that might cause harm to your furniture and other belongings. Multiple dog parents that I know do this (including me) and it really does help soothe them and make them less likely to wreak havoc.
6. Keep your schedule as routined as possible. Dogs adapt to our habits and routines. It took me a while to figure this out but I have noticed my dog is 10 x more ~chill~ when he can anticipate when it is walking/playing time and when it is sleeping time. Now that he knows my schedule, he has less nervous energy which in turn keeps his behavior tamer.
7. Match your furniture and/or rugs (and flooring if you can help it) to a similar color to your dog’s hair. Some dogs shed more than others but all dogs do shed and the hair gets everywhere. The visual reminder that you haven’t done your chores in a day or two is a lot less obvious when their hair blends in.
8. Be careful with essential oil diffusers unless you’ve done your research. A ton of essential oils are toxic for dogs, and their noses are super sensitive so these concentrated oils are a lot for them to inhale. We want our homes smelling amazing but not when it might incite a panicked trip to the vet.
9. Stay away from jute rugs. Jute may seem cool and durable, but it is a monster to clean. It collects dirt and hair and if an unfortunate mess happens, getting the excess “stuff” out is nearly impossible.
10. Leave expensive or breakable items out of the “tail wagging” zone. Pretty straightforward but we’ve all been there, and we can only blame ourselves.
Okay, there you have it but now I want to hear from you. Have we scratched the surface or do you have more secrets to share? Tell me everything.