The best ways to help you keep your home clean when owning pets

If you have a pet, there are steps you can take to keep your home clean and odor-free. (Fotolia/TNS)

If you have a pet, there are steps you can take to keep your home clean and odor-free. (Fotolia/TNS)

The benefits of having pets are huge, plentiful and well-known. They enrich our lives, improve our health and offer a unique sort of companionship and unconditional love. They also represent a serious responsibility, and the best pet owners are absolutely clear about what this responsibility entails. First and foremost, it means maintaining a healthy, safe and pleasant environment for both you and your pet, and achieving this with an animal in the house is no mean feat.

These are some of the most common challenges faced by pet owners when it comes to keeping a clean home, and some ideas for how to deal with them:

  • Fleas and ticks. This is a major worry for many pet owners, particularly those with dogs, as it is an actual health concern that can be passed on, and not just about appearances. Keep a close eye out for symptoms such as excessive scratching. Flea-tablets for dogs are safe and effective and can help you catch a potential flea problem before it gets out of control.
  • Moulting fur. The rule here is little and often as neglecting the issue causes a big build up, which can be harder to handle in the long term. Regularly groom your pets to minimise moulting as this will help to control the actual shedding, and make sure you clean up thoroughly afterwards. If appropriate, in warmer months, consider getting your dog’s coat trimmed as this will also benefit them.
  • Muddy paw prints. These may be endearing on a Christmas card, but they are not so cute in real life. The key here is to be prepared and get into good habits. Keep a towel in your car or by your door and give paws a quick rub before coming inside. Your dogs will also come to recognise this as part of their own routine. Cats are harder to manage in this way, so make sure you have a good-quality mat by all entrances.
  • Animals, and dogs in particular, are not always the tidiest eaters, so invest in good-quality bowls for food and water. There are some innovative designs on the market that reduce the risk of movement and spillages. When they do occur, and sadly this is pretty inevitable, clean them up as quickly as possible to prevent staining, bad odours or permanent damage to your floor.
  • Damaged furniture. The best, and perhaps only, way to protect your furniture from animal hair, scratch marks and other damage is to make it a pet-free zone. From day one, train your pets to understand that this is out of bounds for them. It takes time, and a lot of patience, but the results are worth the effort.

It is true that there is a lot to think about, but anyone who genuinely wants an animal companion should not be put off by the extra housework that comes with it. All it takes is a bit of thought and some tried and tested techniques, and the few extra chores pale into insignificance against the pleasure that comes from having a pet in your home.