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Everything You Need to Know About Designing A Dog-Friendly Home: Advice, Easy Hacks and Tons of Decor Recommendations From Our Readers


photo by Tessa Neustadt | from: The Design Milk Family Room Reveal

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. 

Dog Friendly Sofas 1

1.  Modern Leather Sofa 2. Texada Sofa | 3. Hoxton Black Leather Sofa | 4. Leather Sofa | 5. Sven Charme Tan Sofa | 6. Brown Leather Modern Square Sofa

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.

Dog Friendly Fabric Sofa Copy

1. Shelter Sofa | 2. Sven Birch Ivory Sofa | 3. Sloan Custom 3 Seat Sofa | 4. Ever Slipcover Sofa | 5. KIVIK Sofa | 6. Amherst Cobblestone Sofa

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.

Dog Friendly Velvet Sofas Copy 1

1. Mirage 75″ Sofa | 2. Calais Channel Tufted Sofa | 3. Olsen Sofa | 4. Rivet Aiden Tufted Mid Century Velvet Sofa | 5. Shelter Sofa | 6. Shelia Velvet 80″ Sofa

The Best & Most Stain Resistant Rugs:

Emily Henderson Living Room Staged To Sell Boho Mid Century Eclectic Blue White Styled Couch Sectional Staged12
photo by: Tessa Nuestadt | from: How We Styled Our Living Room To Sell 

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.

Dog Friendly Cowhide Rugs 1

1. Palomino White/ Beige Cowhide Rug | 2. Carbon Loft Tan/White Cowhide Rug  3. Honey Cowhide Rug

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. 🙂

Dog Friendly Cowhide Rugs Copy

1. Antique Heriz Serapi Rug 2. Vintage Persian Rug 3. 1900s, Handmade Antique Persian Mahal Distressed Rug

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.

Dog Friendly Ruggable Copy

1. Hudson Stripe Black Rug | 2. Vintage Daisy Bordered Blue Rug | 3. Cambria Ruby Rug

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:

Dog Friendly Cleaning

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.

Creekwood Hill 1 152
photo by: Jennifer Kamrath/Sage Imagery | from: Tour A Stylist’s Mid-Century-Meets-Traditional “Farmhouse” Full of Thrifted Treasures 

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.

Fin Mark


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Natures miracle used to work wonderful. Now Natures miracle doesn’t do a thing. I don’t remember all the details but the original formula left with the founder so current version doesn’t do what the original did. The original formula is now marketed under new name petastic but on reddit it’s mentioned that it was rebranded again and somehow related to amazon.


Thank you! I always wondered what happened to Natures Miracle.

Erin Perkins

yes to that roller! and yes, my dog is pretty much chill. She knows her walks are in the morning. and at 3:15pm, and about 7pm – 8pm. It’s so easy when we’re all on the same page!


I have 3 large dogs so this is like a peek into our home! I am also the kind of dog mom that lets them on furniture, sleep in bed, etc. because I love having them right next to me. We use Resolve carpet cleaner for Pets and I can attest it takes out blood, pee, yellow bile vomit, etc. especially if you get it sprayed as soon as it happens. We also use it in tandem with the Bissell portable rug scrubber when tackling bile stains. I don’t have the $ for vintage Persian rugs but have found the mass-produced ones from large online retailers like RugsUSA are very easy to clean if you purchase rugs made of synthetic materials and use the Resolve spray. Other little suggestions: Buy throw pillows with removable covers so you can wash them, use a duvet cover on your bed as it is much easier to wash and dry than a king size quilt or comforter, put a beach towel down by the door the dogs use to go in/outside to the yard so you can catch muddy or wet paws. If you bathe your dog in the tub, have a hand held… Read more »


I agree with the blanket on the dog bed. I can wash her blankets weekly but only bother with the bed cover seasonally


Do you have tips for how to completely remove stains? We end up throwing rugs away because after awhile no cleaning seems to completely remove everything (you puck the rug up and can see the “water mark” or it starts to smell. We have a steam cleaner too.

Dogs, cats, and pets in general are all family members and I think it is beneficial for them to feel loved and wanted in places where I spend my time ( bed, sofa, outdoors, carpets etc). They are amazing beings and should feel at home in our homes


Guess what? I’m one of those no pets on furniture owners. And thank goodness we did. We adopted our girl when she was 8 weeks old. Online she was listed as an estimated 45lb dog in her full grown state. She’s now 115lbs and I sure am happy we kept her off the furniture. I can’t imagine the size of couch we’d need to house her!
Trust me, it wasn’t easy when she was such a “tiny” puppy and cute and cuddly, and I often caught my husband breaking the rules. The best thing we did was crate train her as a baby and now she just does all the right things.
I do agree with all your product suggestions, however. She may stay on the floor but she’s a giant grossie and things like carpets take a beating.
I also purchased an Interior Define sofa in one of their kid/pet-proof fabrics and with two insane children, I can agree with you that as a good option with pets as well!


Where is the rug from in photo with the French bulldog ? Shag rug. Love it Great article about a dog friendly home


I’m somewhat OCD about cleanliness and yet am a huge dog lover. They sleep on the sofa, on my bed, nothing is off limits. I have a few things I do. One, I have low shedding dog breeds. They shed less than I do and the hair comes out when groomed, not all over my house. Grooming is the next part of the puzzle — I bathe and groom them regularly, at least every 4 weeks. Keep the nails short to avoid scratching furniture, especially leather. Dogs dig before they settle in for the night and the nails make a huge difference in the amount of damage. You can also have them dremeled so they’re not sharp. Third, slip covers for furniture are great, especially if washable. Lastly, I wipe feet after any walk and wash them after any wet/muddy walk. I keep a microfiber bath mat by the door for this. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!


Ahhhhh, the IKEA sheepskin hack is genius- stealing it! My contribution: drape the couch in cloth shower curtains. I bought a few (relatively cheap) textured shower curtains from Target that are long enough to cover the couch, provide decent claw protection to the velvet underneath, and are easy to wash in the washing machine. Note I am not referring to plastic shower curtains; I am referring to the more decorative cloth piece you hang in front of the plastic, outside of the bath’s edge. This is the same idea as blanket draping, obviously, I just think of curtains as being a bit more rugged than some of the cheaper blanket options out there. Hope this idea works for someone. Thanks for thinking of our four-legged friends! 🙂


Nope, IKEA sheepskin is no good, impossible to clean and retains dog odor. It also smells of animal and may bring distress to a lot of dogs. My cat used to chew and attack it, I don’t want to think what the dog will do.


I can attest to this. I bought a sheepskin rug awhile back and it lasted less than 24 hours. One of my dogs shredded it to pieces. They smell too good for most dogs to resist. Faux sheep skin would work though!


long time reader, first time commenter.

I live with a black Great Dane who runs my life. When I was shopping for a new sofa a few months ago, I really had my heart set on an off white color. My husband was terrified because… dog. I worked with The Joneses furniture here in LA and they helped guide me through performance fabrics. I took home a bunch of samples and put them through the ringer. Ended up using Revolution Performance Fabrics in the color “chalk” and the weave “Hailey.” soaking this fabric sample in wine or cleaning the floors with it and then magically making it spotless again with a bit of warm water and dish soap became my party trick. I do Chom Chom every other day & rotate different throws that I wrap around the bench seat cushion as an extra precaution.

I also recommend the Neva Sofa from Sixpenny in olive canvas! We have one up in Lake Arrowhead and this sofa is sooo comfy and durable. It looks really fresh and hides a lot of hair etc when you’re between cleanings!


I have two dogs of my own (Keeshond & Flat-Coated Retriever) and raise guide dog puppies, which means there’s a new one to civilize every year–and they’re mostly Labradors, which means heavy chewing and lots of shedding. I realize this is a more extreme situation than most people have to cope with, but it has direct impact on how my place is furnished and decorated. I have all hard floors–the only rug is a small bedside one. I’ve tried rugs in the main room, but they don’t survive serial housebreaking, chewing, and bloody drips from heat cycles (the puppies are not spayed until they return to the school). After a couple of attempts, no couch. I appreciate a more open space so that I can see what they’re up to from my favorite chair; my space is small, and I use the open area for puppy training and Obedience work with my own two. The only effective way I have found to keep unattended dogs off furniture are those ugly plastic Xs with sharp prickers on the business side, and I’ve even had those chewed. We are also required to teach the puppies to stay off furniture so it can… Read more »

Lauren S.

This is a pretty comprehensive article! I have 2 Great Danes, and while they shed a ton, we recently purchased the shark IQ robot vacuum over the Roomba. It’s life changing! It goes in straight lines, so when I come home, my thicker carpets have those pretty vacuum lines in them 🙂 until the big girls are let loose… best dog purchase we’ve made.


Chenille is HORRIBLE for a couch in a dog home. Please remove that recommendation immediately. We had a chenille couch with our 2 dogs, and within 3 years the fabric was so torn, pilled, and wrecked we had to get rid of the couch completely and swap for faux leather.


Emily and team ….. You know what would be so great (as part of your new site design)? To have the function that they have over at Cup of Jo … that is, when you comment and post your comment, the page is taken back to where you were when you commented.
This is especially helpful when replying to someone’s comment or question.
Otherwise, it’s necessary to scroll all the way through the comments again, to find where we were at.
That’s frustrating and tends to encourage readers opting out.
Just a thought to make things more user-friendly. ?




IKEA has inexpensive runners (we’re talking like $14.99), and small woven rugs for less than $10. I keep a door sized one to catch foot and paw debris and the longer runner for the continued path through the room (for me, entry to house is usually through the backyard to the kitchen). They fit in the washing machine! And they are clearly not precious but they somehow last for years. I keep a couple of each size for washing periods and they really catch so much of the stuff that pets bring in with them.


Ha, I have a white Frenchie Who sleeps on couch, bed, etc. And sheds like crazy. I agree with the matching everything to dogs fir, my blue couch now has a white slipcover on it, and I keep a white duvet cover on the bed. I just wish I could now change my car interior to white too! Note on rugs, never buy a rug with viscose in it! Impossible to get stains out of.

Antiochia Home Linens

Washable textiles are a must! We just launched a new line of Washable Cotton Area Rugs that are perfect for homes with pets because you can just throw them in the washing machine if they get dirty!

Check them out at

Oh, and our Cotton Throw Blankets are washable too! 😉


This post only has TWO photos of dogs and cute interiors. Very disappointed. ?


You are so right about jute (and sisal) rugs! They are cheap and seem sturdy but really do show the dirt and essentially cannot be cleaned. When we had one dog liked to scratch at the little loops and leave drool puddle stains where he chewed on his bones. A leather couch and vintage Persian rugs are great for us.


This is great! Now one for us cat people? 🙂


Yes! I second that we need a post for cat owners. I know that leather and cats aren’t a good mix because of my personal experience. I had leather sofas for so long, because they were great when I had a dog and remain durable with kids, but not for cats. I have many of the cleaning supplies they mention. That roller is the best tool for removing cat hair from furniture. I love our Roombas running daily to pick up hair (we have them upstairs and downstairs). We have a Dyson cordless (don’t remember which model) for spot cleaning and area rugs (the Roomba doesn’t do a great job on ours). I love the Folex upholstery and rug cleaner. And instead of an air purifier, we run the fan on on our HVAC system 10 minutes of every hour during the day. We have a HEPA filtration system on it (previous owners installed it and I’m thankful they did). I plan to try out performance velvet on some dining chairs that need the seat cushions redone. I’ve repeatedly seen it recommended for cats. And we got a microfiber futon for our teen’s room, and the cats don’t mess with… Read more »


Interesting you say leather isn’t good for cats because in my experience it’s been the ONLY piece of furniture they don’t try to scratch, which is great! They don’t seem to like to lay on it though unless there’s a throw blanket under them.


We have a leather chair and my cat doesn’t scratch it but she leaves marks when she jumps up and down and from her happy paws. I don’t mind it but it’s definitely not ideal. We just ordered a sofa from Interior Define in performance velvet, fingers crossed it works for us!


I’ve heard others have success with leather, but I have several thousands of dollars worth of scratched up leather furniture that prove my cats love to scratch leather. It’s a total bummer. And I have 4-6 scratching posts/areas (sisal rope, sisal woven, cardboard) available at all times. I tried a lot to keep them from scratching, but at a certain point it was too late. At some point I’ll reupholster, but for now I live with scratched leather.


Funny enough, leather is fine with our cats, but for some reason they like to pee on faux leather. They’re 10 years old and pretty much never have issues with going outside the litter box unless it’s a health problem, but over the years the few times we’ve had faux leather, that’s the ONE THING they will pee on. You would think “no biggie, it can just wipe up!” But in reality it soaks through every seam and stitch and gets into the cushion, and even if it’s something that isnt cushioned (a pool table cover was one example) that scent just never comes out of the faux leather itself. Things I look for when picking a couch – a zipper on the cushions to take the cover off and wash separately while I soak and dry the insert (this has also saved me the couple of times I’ve spilled something on the couch), durable canvas or some other fabric that either wont scratch or will hide the scratches (a distressed leather works great), and something in a medium color that won’t show our cats hair too much since they’re long haired cats and the hair they shed is a… Read more »


I know Emily has done at least one post (maybe more) about cat friendly homes and products. Search the blog and you should be able to find it 🙂




A friend of mine owns an upscale rug shop-her advice to keep accidents off rugs/carpets (but keep them nice) is to sprinkle pepper on it. Dogs smell before they go so it deters them. I tried it and it works! (White pepper for lighter rugs.)

Carly C

Do you know of any throw blankets that can handle regular washings in the washing machine? Mine always look beat up in a few months! Thanks for the help!

patricia blaettler

Flat quilts. Large enough to cover sofa/bed. Fit in washing machine. Look good for years.


We love the quilted throws from Utility Canvas for our dog!


We have a 110 lb lab, 65 lb boxer and a long hair cat. Pet hair galore in our house. Many of the tips you recommended are exactly what we use. We have a leather sofa, which is easy to wipe down and doesn’t hold onto the stinky dog smell like fabric sofas do. I have had a Roomba for six years now, which runs daily. This is a must for my sanity. I also have the Dyson Pet stick vac, and it is amazing for quick cleanups. The paw cleaning pet station is a wonderful idea and one I need to implement. We also have solid surface floors throughout out entire house. If you are a pet household, in my opinion, carpet is pretty impossible to keep clean and non-smelly unless you love shampooing your carpets all the time. Love this type of post – very helpful and practical.

the next full moon

Yes your rgiht


Re: carpet pet odors – I bought a variety pack of those charcoal odor pouches and stuffed a couple under couch and near dog bed (anywhere hidden that’s near where she rests). I think it’s been a success!


I love the charcoal bags, but unfortunately so does my dog – he got ahold of one and tore it open. So, if you have a dog that tears up stuffed animals or things like that, you may want to keep charcoal bags out of their reach.

Honestly the best thing for odors we cant seem to kick is just 5 minutes with the windows open and some fans running. Yeah, it lets the heat out in the winter and then the furnace has to kick on to heat it back up, but I try to think of it in terms of “how much would I pay for some fresh air right now?” And then I’m usually good with the extra cost.


Lorena Canals has nice washable wool or cotton rugs.


Ha! Great topic! I got my first dog, ever, just 9 years ago. She’s an Irish Terrier and supposedly doesn’t shed much…..w r o n g! She sheds heaps!!! It literally killour Electrolux vacuum. Enter the Dyson Animal BIG BARREL corded vacuum – the stick version sucks (easy pun!) because it doesn’t go the distance and the barrel that collects the dirt, hair, etc, just isn’t big enough. Now, finally, our house is clean again. And the HEPA filter means our house smells unlike anything doggy. Interesting that you mentioned the essential oils, Ryann. We bought a zooty diffuser this week and having used oils for years, I googled the blended ones I chose along with the diffuser and unfortunately, one had an oil that’s baaad for dogs, so that’ll be a spinkle one for our bedroom, where she doesn’t spend much time (Juniper isn’t good for dogs). She can’t get on our bed, because it’s REALLY high…as in Emily’s English Eccentric Grandma’s bed! Ha! We wash her @every 3/4 weeks and when we go for walks, I wipe her feet one-by-one with a warm, wet cloth…in between her toes, the works (I’ve found some hidden away prickles, grass seeds… Read more »

alison holcomb

my 8 month old goldendoodle runs my house as well. i never thought i’d have her on the furniture or bed with me, but here we are. i put a flat sheet over my bed every night over my comforter and that’s what she sleeps on. its super easy to throw in the washer every week, and then my bedding still looks nice.


Fellow dog owner here! A few thoughts: even a tightly woven fabgroc will eventually get fur stuck, and it may be harder to get it out because of that tight weave. We don’t let our dog on the furniture but her fur still gets on – some just from being in the air, but mostly because it gets tracked on via other surfaces like socks and our kids’ clothes because they roll around with her a lot. Our current sofa is nearing the end of its life and we plan to replace it with a leather one for easier cleaning. Our dog hates the crate but is generally not destructive so we let her roam the house while we are out. We close bedroom doors so she doesn’t take a nap on the beds, and use a clear plastic runner, pointy side up, on the couch to keep her from jumping on. She doesn’t try to get on the furniture when we are home, just when we are out, so we roll up the plastic when we’re home and just roll it out before we leave. You can get rolls pretty cheap and they tend to be just around the… Read more »

Hannah Gokie

We got (nice, woven) wall-to-wall carpet in our basement that exactly matches our golden retriever’s hair color and it has been *chef’s kiss*. I still vacuum like a madwoman but not being able to see it in between vacuuming has been awesome. We also recently got a mod velvet couch from Interior Define in green which I LOVE but you can see our dog’s hair on it super easily — luckily a lint roller works just fine, so I keep one in the coffee table right next to the couch and just wipe it down every so often, it doesn’t bother me. (Oh and this is just hair on the couch from general dog presence, she’s not allowed *on* the couch.) When our Shark dies at some point in the future, I’m investing in a Dyson because I’ve heard so many loves for it.


I will say that I own both a shark and a Dyson and I wouldn’t recommend wasting the money on the dyson. I have the pet roller ball full size vacuum and it CONSTANTLY gets clogged with dog hair. I almost exclusively use my shark stick vacuum because it does not get clogged with the hair.


I highly recommend (inexpensive) Seagrass area rugs for accidents etc. We have a Boxer with a sensitive stomach who will sometimes throw up after eating. If he can’t make it outside, he always runs to the Seagrass area rug…maybe because its the closest thing to being outside? I just clean up the mess, blot it with a white cloth and then its gone. It’s indestructible!

Roberta Davis

Unless I missed it, you didn’t mention Crypton fabric? I don’t have pets, but it’s good for grandkids and messy husbands, too!


We have Chihuahuas and they’re a great dog for cleanliness. They don’t shed much (really only at the vet or other times when they’re nervous). If they have accidents (super rare), it’s a tiny amount. They’re great. They are total couch dogs though. So when we don’t have company, we cover the furniture from head to toe in blankets. (With extra blankets because Chihuahuas like to burrow..) Then when we have company, off come the blankets and underneath are completely clean sofas and chairs. It works well for us.


Secret to no dogs on furniture: big dogs. Mine are 100lbs and 70lbs, and they are tall enough to get pets from me when I’m on my couch, so they don’t feel any need to climb up. I have no idea what the owners of small dogs do, though.


I bought the Chom Chom and LOVE it!!

Also, if you crate train, having a crate that is a quality piece of furniture looks SO much nicer in your home than the big ugly metal crate! My husband makes these on our art and woodworking Etsy site –
We don’t normally ship because it’s so pricey but you can likely find a local carpenter that can custom build a kennel to match your decor.

Shannon Weisblatt

OMG Kate, the crates you linked are amazing! What a cool idea, thanks for sharing!


I second the throw blankets everywhere! This also works even better if you have scratchy cats: A “casually draped” throw or sheepskin over the back of a chair really saves it from being shredded.

Rachel S

I am a cat owner but I can 100% attest to leather, velvet, that article fabric, and vintage rugs. I have one cat who is prone to the old “scarf and barf” and our rugs are holding up beautifully to periodic scrubbing.

Let me just say though, the scent of Nature’s Miracle is unbearable for both my husband and me. We had a cat pee incident and used NM on it and we ended up having to put the seat cover in the washing machine, we couldn’t handle the smell. My MIL has an elderly cat and dog and she recommends a product called “My Pet Peed”. I haven’t tried it yet but she swears by it.


We use Severe Urine Neutralizer concentrate that I found on Amazon. You might not like the smell, but it works wonder on hardwood floors and per beds. I can’t vouch for using it on furniture, though.


I am a dog owner and have been looking at the Article sofa! Does anyone have it? Is it something you would want to watch TV on? I have a small area, and it is hard to find small, comfortable and good looking couches!


As the mom of a 65 lb goldendoodle, and 60 pound lab, I can commiserate with everyone on the messes they create. My 2 are not furniture dogs. Started with the off command as a puppy. But they are both smart, and knew I meant business with “off” the furniture. But I used to have a 25 pound cockapoo, and he ruled the roost. For him, there were no rules. Couch lounging was a way of life for him. So I can totally understand this way of living. I am probably crazy, but I have a white slipcovered couch. Easily thrown in the washing machine for cleaning. I do cover mine with a white flat bed sheet though. They don’t get on the couch, but have recently begun to use it as back support. This helps keep the bottom clean, and I just fold it up if I have company coming over. I think I will always have a slipcovered couch. But I wouldn’t mind a leather couch in the future, but finding one is not a task I am up for yet. I need to buy that roller, though! One of my favorite must haves is the Furminator. Cannot… Read more »


We have the Furminator too… with 2 Labs I could brush them all day! Good thing they enjoy it. Bonus, if you put the fur tumbleweeds in an accessible place outside the birds will use the fur to make nests in spring. I usually stuff a few handfuls in an empty suet feeder and hang it outside on dry early spring days.


CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS, please! I just moved in with a very adorable, very snooty Russian Blue named Dennis. He looooves my Persian rugs and tweedy sectional. I’ve heard that they’re less interest in scratching velvet — any other tips for decorating around feline friends?


Hey! I love this! Thank you for posting.

Most of the girls on my team are cat ladies, and we’re wracking our minds attempting to think up some kitty proof couches. It would be amazing if you could do a little highlight on some durable furniture that could stand up to kitty claws.


Velvet (or at the very least synthetic velvet)! It’s great for all pets really, but I’ve found it especially helpful for cat claws. I have a dark blue velvet chair (+ a white cat) with synthetic velvet – since it doesn’t have any “loops”, her claws don’t get stuck in it (and I find the little paw imprints she leaves when she walks on it adorable), and you can always “brush” (stroke? pet? I don’t know the best word!) the look back to pristine – the other benefit is the fur – you just sweep your hand over where any pet fuzz it and it comes up super easy in your hand – no need for a lint roller!


I have a polypropylene “sisal” rug that has held up wonderfully to dogs and to our “entryway” which is part of the living room and I think looks pretty convincing. I believe it’s called “four seasons” or something. Easy to order online in a custom size.


I agree with the Dyson Animal cordless – since getting this, our lives living with a furry semi-feral Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever mutt mix are so much better. The dog makes so much hair but the Dyson is so light and easy that I just vacuum every day like it’s no big deal. We have all tile floors and for a rug, we used Interface Flor carpet squares. For less than $500 we have a rug that is bigger than a 9’x12′ and it’s individual squares held to each other with a sticker/tape. When an accident happens, we just take the stained squares outside and hose them off. A few were so gross that I didn’t want to scrub too much and just tossed them and replaced with new. Another trick I use is buying cute fleece for pennies at the fabric store and then using it to wrap around the seat of the sofa. It is super washable and the edges don’t fray so there isn’t any sewing required. They make way more stylish fleece options now and you can change them out based on the season. I have a few right now that I rotate so the couch is… Read more »


Can definitely vouch for velvet couches! My lovely pit mastiff mix Lola soaked herself in mud and then laid on our vintage, gold velvet couch (from my grandmother!) while I worked in the yard unaware…

I let the enormous mud puddle dry completely before dry brushing it all off and it looks absolutely as good as new.

(well, good as new except for the cat claw marks, but that’s another issue entirely…)


Hahaha. “wipes or a small rag and water bottle”. Right. Maybe for a little jaunt on a drizzly day. I need a (big) bowl of water and a heavy duty towel. And that’s just to get it so that they don’t leave dirt clods trailing behind them on their way to my bed. Sigh. Granted, we don’t have grass in the yard yet, so when it warms up enough, we have some sticky mud, but still.

I second Folex. It’s like magic. When we get a dog vomit situation (and my husband’s helpful paper towel tents over the piles (???) don’t address the problem), I steam clean and then use Folex to get rid of the inevitable yellow stain on our light colored carpet. It’s amazing stuff.

Also, we JUST got our new Interior Define couch (in performance velvet!) two days ago. And so far, the dog hair situation isn’t too bad, even though the couch is light grey (almost powder blue) and we have brown, black, and white dog hair. The dogs have been very happy to test it out. So far so good!


Our dogs are both couch surfers as were our dogs before them. When it came time to reupolster the sectional and I was browsing fabric, here is what I did…I used the prong sides of my wedding ring to see if it could snag the fabric. If it couldn’t and I couldn’t even get it to remotely try and catch, that fabric was a strong contender. We chose a fabric that after nearly 5 years has not snagged at all anywhere. Success!!!


I just tried your ring snag test on some sofa fabric samples we’re looking at, and it helped rule out a few options. Thanks for sharing this tip!


Oh, and also, I have this for paw cleaning. Very effective especially when they are muddy!!


Hi, I’m the oversized IKEA sheepskin gal! My pup LOVES them and he has a snuggly place in almost every room (that isn’t my navy velvet couch). Love your work!


We have a dark brown leather sofa, and we found a fitted cover that’s almost the same color. With all the blankies, it’s hardly noticeable! Our dachshund is very comfortable. ?

We also got a ramp for him. Being a dachshund, he always takes a couple of attempts at jumping up on the couch. We’re concerned about his back — especially when he gets older. We got a Doggo ramp, and it’s great. Really well made and stable. It comes in different stains, and the dark walnut nearly matches our couch. Max doesn’t always use it now, but when he came home groggy from his most recent dental work, he didn’t even attempt to jump. He just went to the ramp and walked up it. That’s a good sign that when he’s older and feebler, he’ll use the ramp all the time.


I have two larger dogs so here are a couple of my tips to offer: 1. Keep their toenails trimmed. Long toenails will wreak havoc on hardwood as well as leather sofas. 2. No to the leather sofa. Ours was destroyed by scratches within a couple of years. 3. I know it sounds crazy, but white everything. I have white slipcovered sofas that can be washed (I also use white throws on them so they can be quickly thrown in as well), and I have a white coverlet on my bed that I can quickly wash. Because they are white, you can throw a little bleach in there for more stubborn stains. 4. Keep your dogs well-groomed. They will shed less and they will be less stinky. 5. Lighten up a little. Getting a dog (and then another) really cured my quest for perfection. In a good way. I got my first dog at a time in my life when I really needed some therapy. He has saved me from myself, really. Best decision ever to get a dog. But make sure you have time for it. Which brings me to advice point 6: Keep your dog well exercised. A… Read more »


I love the Ikea sheepskin hack I’m stealing that one! My dog has taken over the chaises on both of our sofas so I keep old quilts on them and wash them weekly. We bought a Joy Bird sofa wI researched the fabric extensively and ended up going with the Lucky Turquoise and it has held up extremely well (Blu likes to sneak off of the quilt) and take over the whole sofa when we’re not home.


Loved reading this post and all the comments. Our black lab commandeered our pink velvet Designers Guild sofa and, apart from the shedding, it has held up really well so agree with the velvet recommendation. We also have white sofa and I pull all the seats and backs out at night and stand them up so she can’t get up on it. I agree with avoiding jute rugs – I think I our dog thought it was grass. I had a go at cleaning up the mess a few times but one day I was out and husband at home. He smelled a mess and rang me and said he wasn’t going to deal with and chucked out the rug. No rugs anywhere just hard floors. We put up baby stair gate on our landing to stop dog coming into any of the bedrooms. It was a pain at first but we are completely used to it and really nice to have dog free zone. Thanks for all the advice.


I’ve heard you can get an indoor sofa in Sunbrella fabric, does anyone have any experience with this? I can’t really think of a more durable fabric! I have 2 medium sized dogs and we try our best to keep them off the furniture, but sadly they aren’t always the best at listening 🙂


You’ve caught a lot of it! – floorboards and oriental rugs. Although if your dogs regularly rampage through the house (ie high speed cornering), keep the rugs out of the race track… – bicarb soda and vinegar, hot water and eucalyptus oil (ALWAYS dilute this). – when I saw cleaning, my mind went straight to grooming aids (rake for the Wolfhound, soft brush for the Great Dane, and listerine on facewashers for a quick clean in winter). NB – if your dog slobbers and you have french polished furniture, you need to get the slobber off as soon as possible. Keep drool towels in each room. – dog beds. A child’s cot mattress with a throw or sheet tucked over is brilliant, especially if you have large or giant breeds. Vaguely related – crates are a good thing when used correctly, but rather ugly. Covering with a rug or throw makes it easier visually, and enhances the safe “cave” aspect for the dog. – chewing. Divert to appropriate pigs ear or toy. Use bitter apple (or similar – can take a while to find what works for individual dogs) for furniture that can’t be moved out of reach during the… Read more »

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