Housekeeping tips for new dog owners – 5 ways to keep your home well maintained with canine companions

Try these techniques to keep mess to a minimum and create constructive routines for your furry friend

Three image header, dog in mudroom, dog on outdoor swing, dog in kitchen
(Image credit: Neptune / The Porchswing Company / Neptune)

As a dog owner, I know that adjusting from a dog-free home to one with a new furry companion can feel like quite a drastic change, one that merits tactful consideration of how to adapt your home and maintenance routines accordingly.  

From techniques aimed at encouraging behaviors in your dog that will keep your home tidy to cleaning tips specifically designed for living with pets, these tailored methods for new dog owners can streamline this transition and make it easier to maintain and enjoy your space.

Amidst the excitement of welcoming a new dog to your household, it's essential to adapt your living space and daily routines to accommodate their needs, as well as your own. Below are the five things our experts recommend doing before your new pet arrives, as well as routine practices. 

Housekeeping tips for new dog owners

These tips are great ways to dog-proof your house and stay happy and healthy with a dog at home. For example, Marek Bowers, founder of Fluffillow recommends: 'Keep a dog-friendly entryway with mats, towels, and storage for dog-walking and play accessories. This will simplify routines to reduce your pet's stress and minimize dirt and debris being tracked into the house.'

1. Establish designated pet areas

maroon utility room with dog beds built into base cabinets

(Image credit: Neptune)

The first thing that should be set up the moment you walk into your home with your new dog for the first time is a designated 'reset' spot for your dog. You should encourage them to understand that this is their space, perhaps by placing them here regularly for designated activities or as a reward. 

'This space will serve as a familiar and safe place for your dog, helping to keep the rest of the house tidy,' explains Michael Thompson, leading veterinarian and Founder of Pets Food Safety. Establishing this area for your dog to relax, play, or eat encourages them to default to spending time in that space, reducing the likelihood of messes and disruption in other areas. 

This should be somewhere easy to clean and potentially in a social space where you and your dog will be regularly. Placing their bed, strategically selected toys, and food and water here can keep your pet drawn to this one area where you can focus your pet-related cleaning efforts.  

This approach simplifies housekeeping and provides your dog with a sense of security and belonging.

2. Invest in dog-specific cleaning supplies

A dog looking at a vacuum cleaning a carpet.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Consider upgrading your ultimate cleaning supply list in anticipation of your dog's arrival to ensure you don't get caught short when it's time to clean up the inevitable dog food spill or get rid of dog odor in your house.

There might be an occasional accident, especially if you have a new pup, so investing in stain and odor removers ensures you can take quick action to preserve materials such as rugs, sofas, mattresses, or doormats. 

Additionally, dogs are inclined to 'go' in areas that smell like their designated bathroom spots. So, if your dog has urinated somewhere you don't want them to, it is essential to remove this odor to ensure they don't feel encouraged to revisit this spot.

Choose pet-safe cleaners that leave no residue behind and are enzyme-activated. These become activated upon contact with odors and stains, targeting ammonia crystals and organic matter, persistently breaking them down until they are entirely eliminated. We recommend this Rocco & Roxie Supply Co. stain and odor eliminator spray from Amazon. You can spray it on the affected area and let it stand for up to an hour before blotting it clean. 

Cleaning experts at eMaids also recommend investing in a high-quality pet hair removal tool. This can easily remove pet hair on the bed, couches, and rugs. While many rely on vacuuming, these tools can provide a more in-depth approach to getting hairs out of every nook and cranny.'

Chom Chom Roller Pet Hair Remover | Was $31.95

Chom Chom Roller Pet Hair Remover | Was $31.95, now $27.99 from Amazon
This roller with reusable lint and fur catcher can ensure anything surfaces, from couches, pillows, rugs, and bedding, remains fur-free.

3. Create a dog grooming space

utility with dog shower and washing machines cavalier king charles spaniel

(Image credit: Dina Bandman Interiors / Photography Christopher Stark)

Having a cleaning and grooming station for your dog is key to keeping your home and your dog clean. This could be an integrated part of your home's design, such as a purpose-built doggy bath or a multipurpose zone used for cleaning your dog, like somewhere with a tap or hose extension where all grooming messes can be contained.

'Create a paw-cleaning station near the entrance of your home, such as in a mudroom or somewhere that will be easy to transfer your dog to, so instead of their dirty paws staining the house after a walk, you can clean them there,' recommend the cleaning experts at eMaids. This can be as simple as having a tray filled with water and a paw-cleaning solution.

'You should also have a set-up spot full of supplies needed to clean your dog. Many keep their doggy supplies mixed in with the other cleaning items; however, having them all in one place will make grooming speedier and reduce the risk of cross-contamination.'

Collapsible Pet Bathtub |

Collapsible Pet Bathtub | $39.99 from Amazon
If you have a tap extension hose (such as this rubber hose from Amazon) in your mudroom, you can wash your pets in this collapsible bath to keep dirt contained and easily store it away afterward.

4. Stick to a regular cleaning routine

Dark grey kitchen with green island and dog

(Image credit: Neptune)

'Regular mopping, vacuuming, and dusting are crucial to ensuring your dog-friendly house remains clean,' says Iram Gladan, writer for Breed Atlas. 'Sure, maybe all the loose hairs and stains are not yet visible and the floor isn't noticeably dirty, but once dirt and debris build-up, cleaning will become increasingly challenging, and messes may become embedded.' 

Wash dog beds, blankets, food mats, and toys (using dog-safe cleaners) to ensure they remain hygienic. If dogs regularly come into contact with upholstery, rugs, blankets, and cushion covers after being outside, you might also need to deep clean them.

Clean around their food and water areas. If you find wet food drying and getting stuck to the floor, you can soak it by leaving a damp roll of kitchen paper over it for a few minutes before wiping it away. 

'Additionally, if you have a dog that sheds, regular grooming can help you keep the hairs at bay and should be incorporated into your cleaning routine,' adds Iram Glada.

Dyson V15 Detect Complete |

Dyson V15 Detect Complete | $750 at Home Depot
When tested by the Homes & Gardens team, this vacuum was found to be the best vacuum for pet hair, topping any others in terms of cleaning power, dust detection, and ease of use.

4. Secure storage

utility with dark gray cabinets and built-in under counter dog crate with tennis balls

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam)

In most cases, dogs love eating whatever they can get a hold of, even if it is not edible. For this reason, ensuring you have tactically placed and secured storage solutions will keep your dogs from consuming what they shouldn't.

Michael Thompson advises: 'Ensure that human food is inaccessible to your dog. Keep the trash and any other chewable items away from your dog's reach. This prevents mess and the risk of them consuming harmful products.'

This may require you to use latch doors and keep certain items out of reach. You can also use air-tight containers so dogs can't sniff out certain items they may attempt to access.

5. Choose materials tactically

swing seat with dogs and accessories

(Image credit: The Porchswing Company)

Your material choices are key when ensuring your home is easy to clean and maintain. 

'Protect your furniture and floors by buying dog-friendly furniture made of materials like wood, microfiber, and leather,' advises Marek Bowers. 'Purchase a silicone dog bowl mat or a cork one if you're looking for an eco-friendly alternative.'

'It might also be a good idea to invest in washable clothes and linens to keep your furniture clean in case your dog decides to jump on the sofa with his muddy paws before you manage to bathe them,' says Iram Gladan. This ensures that cleaning is easy and thorough.

Using positive reinforcement consistently to train dogs towards behavior that contributes to a cleaner home environment will ultimately be one of the most effective ways to ensure all your dog-proofing techniques work smoothly and your home maintenance routines are kept to a minimum.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.