Cleaning Up After Your Dog

Probably the biggest downside to having a dog in the house is cleaning up after him or her. According to our Saturday Survey, many of you hate to deal with clean-up chores like getting the fur your dog loses off of your floors, furniture, and clothing, and cleaning up after your dog vomits or has a potty accident indoors. Which products work the best?


Most, if not all dogs, shed at least a little, and some of them shed copiously, especially as the seasons change. There are a couple of different approaches to dealing with all of this fur. The first method involves getting rid of the fur at its source. You can shave your dog's fur, leaving a short coat with less bulk. While this will indeed reduce the amount of fur that can be shed, it may also introduce other problems if you cut too much fur off. Your dog needs his or her fur to protect from sunburn and to regulate body temperature. Air gets trapped between the layers of the fur to insulate the dog's body, protecting him or her from extreme cold and extreme heat.

The next best solution at the source is to groom your dog frequently, especially during shedding season. Use a shampoo or conditioner that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to condition your dog's coat and skin which can reduce coat breakage and loss.

The Furminator is a great de-shedding tool, removing tons of fur every time you use it. See The Dog Lady's review on the blog.

According to the FAQ on the Furminator site, use of this product once or twice a week for about 20 minutes each time will reduce the amount of fur your dog leaves around the house by as much as 90%. The Furminator can be purchased directly from the manufacturer via their web site, and is also available at many retail outlets. However, it can be purchased at a much lower price on e-Bay.

Another tool you might want to use is the ShedVac. This product has rubberized bristles that massage your dog while removing loose fur, then the vacuum motor sucks the fur into a dust cup which can be emptied into the garbage can. This tool can also be used to clean up the fur around your home and on your clothing.

Once you have reduced the amount of fur your dog sheds by frequently grooming the animal, you should need to deal with only a small amount on your floors, furniture, and clothing. You might consider the Eureka Pet Pal vacuum for clean up. This product was also reviewed by The Dog Lady.

This 12-amp bagless upright features a lint brush with rubberized edges that can be used to grab hair from hard-to-reach places in your home. The brush is automatically cleaned when you place it back in the holster on the vacuum, and the fur is vacuumed away into the dust cup from the holster. The vacuum also has a Pet Power Paw hand tool that can be used for upholstery, curtains, and shades.

Scotch brands offers the Fur Fighter, fur removal tools for upholstery or for car interiors. Both products feature a disposable sheet of soft rubber fingers designed to pick up embedded fur. The care interior tool also has a tough bristled tip to remove stubborn fur from car carpets and seats.

Pet Stains

Whether your dog has a hard time waiting until time to go outdoors, or if he or she gets into the trash and later vomits it back up, at some point you will likely have to deal with stains on your carpets, as well as with their accompanying odors.

To soak up liquid stains, you can't beat the ShamWow. See the review on To Buy or Not to Buy. These bright orange towels can soak up as much as 12 times their weight, leaving virtually no trace of urine in your carpet or its padding, if used as soon as possible after the dog leaves it. You might want to rinse the spot with clear, cool water after soaking up the urine, then blot the spot again with a clean ShamWow.

If you can't get to the stain right away, you may have to do more than simply soak it up. Do NOT use ammonia as it will make the carpet smell more like urine, and encourage your dog to continue to go in the same spot. If you're going to use a common household cleaner, the best options are baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Be aware that hydrogen peroxide can bleach out colors, so you might want to try it on a small hidden spot before using it out in the open.

Some of the most effective commercial products for pet stains are

  • Resolve Pet Stain Instant Eraser. It has a bubbling action that penetrates the carpet to remove pet stains & odors.
  • Resolve Pet Deep Clean Powder. This dry powder is sprinkled over the spot, then brushed into the carpet using a soft bristle brush. After about 20 minutes, the powder is vacuumed up, including the stain it absorbed. You can sign up to receive coupons from the makers of Resolve.
  • Bissell Pawsitively Clean Products. In particular, the Crikey Foaming Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner penetrates deeply and removes stains with its foaming brush canister.
  • Bissell Spot Bot actually allows you to walk away and let the machine do the cleaning for you. It automatically shuts off when it's done! This little 3-amp deep carpet cleaner is perfect when you want to clean just a small spot on an otherwise clean carpet.
Using a few of these products can help you deal with the downside of having your best friend indoors.

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