How to Protect Floors from Dirty Dog Paws
Your dog is likely a really important part of your life. However, your dog also probably makes a variety of messes, like tracking mud onto your floors after a rain storm. With a little work, though, you can protect your floors from dirty dog paws. By using doormats, applying chemical protectants, and training your dog, you’ll be better able to control the mess it brings in from outside.
Using Doormats, Rugs, and More
1. Place doormats in front of outside doors. Purchase doormats for all the doors your dog goes in and out of. Use large doormats that have bristles that stick up. That way, they will collect dirt off your dog’s paws as it is walking inside.
- Replace your doormats as they age and become less effective.
2. Put rugs on the inside of your doors. Rugs will help pick up any dirt that the doormats didn’t get. They will also protect high traffic areas from scratches or stains.
3. Place rugs in high traffic areas. Identify the areas that your dog dirties up most frequently. These will likely be hallways, the family room, and even the kitchen. Then, purchase rugs to fit those areas. By doing this, you’ll provide extra protection for your floors in those areas.
- If you have a long hallway your dog frequently runs through, put down a runner.
- Place rugs in your kitchen. If you don't want to use a rug in your kitchen, use a plastic mat or similar item.
- Buy a large area rug for your living room or TV room.
4. Use towels during times when your dog tends to bring in more dirt. If your dog is extra dirty at some point (like during or after a rainstorm), you can put down some towels to provide another layer of protection for your floors. While they may not look the best, you can pick them up and wash them when the weather outside improves.
- Keep a few towels by your door so you’ll have easy access to them on rainy days when your dog might track mud into the house.
5. Put up a pet gate. You can use the gate to keep your dog from entering certain rooms and dirtying the floor.
6. Seal or wax your hardwood floors. If you have hardwood floors, hire someone to wax, seal, or reseal them to add an extra layer of protection against your pup’s dirty paws. Sealing or waxing may help prevent minor scratches and lessen the chance that mud and other grime stains your floors. You’ll find that your floors are easier to clean after your dog tracks mud and other grime all over.
- Make sure the type of floors you have can be waxed or sealed. Hardwood laminate floors cannot be waxed or sealed. Also, don't apply wax to a polyurethane-finished wood floor.
7. Apply a protectant to your carpet. Purchase a carpet protectant product at a home improvement store. Follow the directions on the product. Most often, directions will instruct you to spray the product on your carpet liberally (until soaked).
- Properly ventilate your home before using chemical protectants. Open windows, doors, and turn on ceiling fans. Use a mask to ensure you don’t inhale dangerous chemical fumes.
- If you don’t want to do it yourself, hire someone to apply a protectant to your carpet.
Training Your Dog
1. Command your dog to sit at the door when it comes into your home. Hold a treat and kneel in front of your dog. Say “sit” while you raise the treat above its head. It will probably sit down as you do this. If it doesn’t, place your hand on the back of its body and gently push down. If your dog doesn’t sit at first, try this until it works. When your dog does sit, say “good dog” and give it the treat.
- Having your dog sit at the door will give you time to clean its feet.
2. Show your dog what paths to take through your home. Lead your dog through areas of the house you want it to walk through. It will likely use those paths on its own. Otherwise, your dog will use whatever walkway it wants, and will probably make a mess that is harder to clean up.
- If your dog walks through a room where you don’t want it to walk, tell it “no” and show it another route.
- Reward your dog for walking through certain rooms with a treat.
3. Limit your dog to one entrance. Designate one door, like the front door or a back door, as the door your dog enters and exits the house through. This way, you can do everything possible to ensure that its paws are clean before it goes into other areas of your home. In addition, any damage it does to your floors will be limited to a small area.
Keeping Your Dog Clean
1. Create a paw cleaning station. Put a bucket of water and some towels next to the door your dog uses the most. Then, when your dog enters the house you can wash and dry its feet. This will not only keep your floors clean, but you’ll make sure your dog’s feet stay clean.
- Change the water every day or as needed.
2. Trim your dog’s nails every two weeks. This will help reduce the amount of dirt and grime that sticks to your dog’s feet. Trimming will also lower the chance of your pup scratching hardwood or laminate floors.
- When trimming your dog’s nails, avoid cutting the quick. The quick is the part of the nail that is pink or has flesh inside of it.
3. Wash your dog every week or as needed. If your dog tends to get dirty quickly, wash it. You can bathe your dog once a week without hurting its skin or coat. However, only wash your dog if it needs to be washed. If you can go longer, do so. In the end, by bathing your dog often, you’ll reduce the amount of dirt and hair it leaves on your floor.
4. Use dog booties. Dog booties are shoes you can purchase online or at a pet store near you. They’ll cover your dog’s feet when it goes outside. To put them on, calmly place them on your dog’s feet before it goes outside. Then, lace up the booties or secure them with Velcro. When your dog is ready to come in, remove them. Dog booties will not only protect your floors, but they’ll keep your dog’s feet dry and warm.