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Anyone who says a dog isn’t a member of the family either doesn’t own a pet or has never experienced the amazing bond humans can have with dogs. These animals aren’t just pets, they’re fur-bearing children that are a constant source of love and support on our worst days. A wagging tail and happy face is a powerful therapy no matter what ails you. But as happy as dogs make us, there’s no getting around the messiness factor.

Our furry friends are fur-shedding, drooling, urinating, vomiting machines on four legs, and just when you think you’re on top of it, something happens that leaves you scratching your head and trolling Pinterest for cleaning remedies. Over time, cleaning up after a dog can be a pretty expensive undertaking, but there are ways to do it affordably, and in an eco-friendly way.

Floor fluency

Your floor gets most of the doggie wear and tear so it makes sense to focus most of your cleaning attention there. It doesn’t matter what kind of surface material you have – carpeting, hardwood, laminate — because dog hair will accumulate and create an omnipresent health threat, especially for people with respiratory issues. Fur contains allergens like mites and dander, so arm yourself with a high-powered vacuum cleaner that comes with plenty of attachments and be prepared to get plenty of use out of it. If you prefer a more down-and-dirty approach, consider the utility of the squeegee, a low-tech, easy-to-use piece of equipment that does an admirable job of collecting fur, especially on hard surfaces.

If you’re not into vacuuming the upholstery, invest in a couple of large lint rollers, a few swatches of which will pick up most of the hair on your couches and armchairs if your pup is accustomed to sacking out on the furniture. Baby wipes are another multitasking miracle of home cleaning with many uses, including getting up dog fur that’s collected along your baseboards and they’re pretty useful in getting stains out of rugs and carpeting. Of course, you can always attack the problem at the source with a good dog brush, especially if you get into the habit of brushing your pet every couple of days. Not only does it minimize shedding, but it can also help their coat.

Bear in mind that cleaning supplies don’t have to cost a fortune if you watch for online deals from the bigger retail stores. Keep an eye out for cashback and instore offers from sites like Walmart or Amazon or find extra savings using Target promo codes to help defray the cost of staying well-stocked with cleaning supplies.

That doggie smell

It doesn’t matter how many scented candles you fire up or how much potpourri you set out. If you are a dog owner, visitors to your home will know the minute they pass through the front door that a dog lives here. However, you can mitigate the severity of the odor with some low-impact, budget-friendly measures. There’s no substitute for a durable, high-performance carpet cleaner if you own a dog, because carpeting is the ideal home for dog smell and the allergens dog fur carries.

If you prefer a more cost-conscious, environmentally friendly option, sprinkle some baking soda, a natural and effective cleaning substance, before giving the carpet a good onceover with the vacuum cleaner (for maximum effect, let the baking soda sit overnight). Baking soda is a powerful smell-absorber that will leave your carpet looking and feeling fresh and clean.

You’ll also need to do plenty of laundry if your pet loves to recline on blankets and sheets. Add some baking soda in with each load to make sure you get rid of those deeply embedded odors. If you’re not really into baking soda, try limiting pet odors with a mixture of vinegar and water (don’t forget to give the furniture a light spraying as well).

Keeping a house clean when you have a dog is a day-in, day-out battle. You have to stay on top of the fur accumulation, the stains and the smell if you intend to maintain a living environment that’s sanitary and healthy for your family. The good news is you can do it without spending a ton of money.

by guest writer Brandon Butler

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