Living with a dog: tips for keeping your house clean

My flat used to be immaculate. We moved in when it was brand new and the walls, floors, skirting boards were all perfect and the flat smelled fresh and clean. I’ve always been a clean and tidy person so it remained that way for the first three years. Today, with our beautiful, wonderful three year old golden retriever in tow things are looking a bit rough around the edges. When Otto first arrived it completely freaked me out how much we had to change in the flat to accommodate him and how much mess he made – I suddenly lost all control!

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

I had to wake him up to try to take photos – he was not having any of it.

Over the last three years I have gradually picked up tips and methods to keep our flat looking (and smelling) pretty dog-free despite the ginormous 40kg dog that lives here and gets treated like a prince – ha! So, if you are struggling with maintaining the look and feel of your home due to too much dogginess, hopefully these tips will help you too…

1. Match your decor to the colour of the dog

You might think me mad but this is an important consideration. Our dog is white and therefore, if everything in our house was dark coloured the hair would show up really badly. Having a white floor and white bedlinen, for instance, means that the hair is far less noticeable. When my mum’s black dog used to come and stay it was the complete opposite and the floor and bed looked a state!

2. Brush your dog everyday

The best way to limit dog hair in your home is to brush them everyday, which I usually do in the park. This will really help to keep your home dog hair free as possible (with a golden retriever this is our main battle).

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

Dog bed from Kind For Dogs.

3. Dog towels

Otto is a puddle seeker and a mud lover. During the wetter months of the year the battle to keep him out of mud holes is a futile one. He’ll roll and bathe in that mud until he is completely black from head to toe. Therefore, it is essential to have a steady supply of dog towels that we store in a box in the hallway cupboard. If we don’t put him in the bath immediately after our walks, we’ve trained him to lie down on one of the towels and sleep after his walk until the mud has dried. We can then brush it out.

4. Dog bed

We think it’s a good idea to invest in a really good bed that not only looks good in your home but can be easily washed. We also don’t encourage Otto to use his bed until bedtime. It’s much better if he lies on a dog towel during the day as this way he doesn’t get his bed all mucky and it stays as fresh as possible. After all, it’s much easier to chuck a towel in the wash than the whole bed. Try to get a bed that fits with the decor in your home and won’t stand out like a sore thumb.

I love this bed that was kindly sent to us by Finnish company, Kind For Dogs, who specialise in Nordic inspired design for dogs – right up my street. The bed is made of 100% thick cotton and the Anthracite colour of the bed I chose works perfectly in our flat (they have beds made in other stylish fabrics too – I really like this one). The cover is washable and the whole bed feels extremely sturdy and well made and won’t fall apart in seconds like that last one we bought. Otto loves it! Never before have we found a bed that is big enough for him to stretch out in whilst having a bumper cushion all the way round to help make him feel snug and cosy.

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

Otto absolutely loves a big bed as he likes to stretch out completely when he sleeps.

5. Sofa

If, like us, you allow your dog on the sofa I would always recommend a wool sofa. The wool repels dirt and grease and covers up stains so well and it won’t snag if it gets caught by claws. It is the best! It’s also a good idea to have a basket of dog throws next to the sofa and bed for those times that the dog is a bit mucky so that they can still come up but you have something to protect the furniture.

6. Rubber gloves

Our wool sofa is amazing in terms of not showing up dog dirt and wear and tear but it does attract dog hair. A really simple way to get rid of it if you can’t be bothered to hoover is to use a rubber glove – it works like magic.

7. Lint roller

We have a lint roller sitting on our hallway table next to the front door. It’s always useful to be able to grab it at the last minute before you walk out of the door, especially if you are wearing black (and guests appreciate it too).


A dog bed with sides is a must for this boy as he has to have his chin propped up at all times – do other people’s dog do this too?

8. Swiffer

We have a swiffer to help keep on top of collecting dog hair off the floor. It can be more effective (and less hassle) than a hoover as it doesn’t blow hair around the room. I’m also very tempted by a cordless hoover but I have no idea whether these are worth it – anyone have one?

9. Jute rugs

Jute rugs are amazing; they are so hard wearing under big paws and long claws and they show up no dirt and don’t attract hair. You need them everywhere!

10. Toy basket

Choose a lovely basket to store dog toys so they are not strewn around the place the whole time. We have a very aesthetically pleasing fair trade basket and it does its job perfectly and isn’t an eyesore.

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

11. Neckerchief

So, you will only need one of these if your dog is a complete slobber chops like ours. It comes in very handy to wipe away slobber, especially when guests come who don’t want a big drooling chin planted on their best frock the moment they sit down. Oh, Otto.

So, there you go. These are the things I have picked up over the last few years to keep my home looking as nice as possible whilst allowing Otto every freedom – trust me, he is one spoilt dog and my decor has never come first.

Katy & Otto x

P.S. Lots of chicken was used in the taking of these photographs. However, as you can see from his face, he was not best impressed that his afternoon nap was disturbed by me and a camera.

P.P.S. Do check out Kind For Dogs for more Nordic inspired dog accessories – it’s rare to find stylish dog stuff so it’s been a real treat discovering this company.

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

And this is what happens when I stop pestering him to pose for photos!



  1. Fiona
    29th September 2016 / 9:33 am

    These are great tips, Katy, thank you! We are expecting our first puppy in two weeks time and I’m so excited but quite worried about the mess, too, so I’ll definitely bear these ideas in mind. Love the pictures of Otto, he’s so handsome and he looks very happy with his new bed (they are lovely by the way – I like the subtle colours. We may have to treat our pup when he’s a bit older and out of the crate). Thanks again 🙂

    • Katy
      29th September 2016 / 11:06 am

      Gah! A new pup – it’s the best feeling ever. I think picking up Otto that first day was the single most exciting day I have ever had. You’re going to love it xx

  2. Najette
    29th September 2016 / 9:37 am

    God I love Otto Bear so much!!! Good piece as always xxx

    • Katy
      29th September 2016 / 11:06 am

      All the Otto bear love x

  3. 29th September 2016 / 10:30 am

    Oh my, my little one’s campaign for a dog is relentless… so I read this with interest! I’m still unsure about introducing a dog into our family, it is such a commitment. And not something that Miss Ethel -the already established and much loved kit – would approve of…

    • Katy
      29th September 2016 / 11:08 am

      Oooo, so tricky introducing new pets to old pets, isn’t it? But also tricky saying no to children – what to do?! It is a massive commitment but Otto is the best thing in the whole world so totally worth it x

  4. 29th September 2016 / 10:50 am

    He is such a cutie! X

    • Katy
      29th September 2016 / 11:09 am

      He was;t playing ball yesterday when I took these pics – too comfy in his new bed, I think 🙂 x

  5. Lorna Rachel
    29th September 2016 / 10:59 am

    Ah the post I’ve been waiting for!! Some great tips thanks 🙂

    We just bought a cordless Hoover and I say it’s been game changer in terms of dog hair, it makes it to easy to quickly get rid of dog hair and keep on top of it when you don’t have time to do a full Hoover of the house. We got the Bosch athlete animal and it’s brilliant. Granted our previous vacumn was awful but this one is brilliant. My husband keeps getting it out to show guests

    • Katy
      29th September 2016 / 11:05 am

      Really?! I’ve been debating it for months! I think you’ve persuaded me – thank you xx

      • Lorna Rachel
        30th September 2016 / 9:52 am

        It’s also great with a baby, I strap my 8 week old to me and grab the vacumn and the white noise sends him to sleep. (Although its lowest setting is really quiet if you have a noise sensitive baby)

  6. Tia M.
    29th September 2016 / 3:17 pm

    I really like the Nokoset beds particularly the patterned one and I’m guessing that would disguise quite a few marks too. What a lovely online shop, thanks for mentioning it x

  7. 29th September 2016 / 10:38 pm

    Love this post. Some great tips! Otto is beautiful. My dog (a cockapoo) always has her head propped up too wherever she naps – she can’t seem to get comfortable otherwise!

    The cordless dyson is a lifesaver and we have a lot of sisal carpet in our house which is great too for dogs.

    I’m still trying to persuade Coco to wear a neckerchief… She just wants to eat it ☺️.

  8. 3rd October 2016 / 9:55 am

    He’s such a good model haha, bless his little soul. I definitely will be doing what you’ve recommended with my new puppy. We’re just getting into the swing of things so fingers crossed it’ll get easier (especially brushing) as he gets older hehe xx

  9. 5th October 2016 / 10:52 am

    I never thought of matching decors to the color of your dog. So having multiple pets (who have different colors) can be a little difficult for that tip. That dog bed though, it does look really sturdy and comfy.

  10. 9th October 2016 / 9:37 am

    Hi Katy, I’d definitely recommend a cordless vacuum. Ours is a Dyson and it comes out several times a day. Great for whizzing round hard floors but it has a powerful enough suction to do rugs and carpets too. A game changer for us.

  11. Gayle
    6th September 2017 / 1:17 am

    We have a golden retriever and yes, the hair is a real challenge. We have a Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner and it is a great tool for keeping ahead of the hair accumulation on our hardwood floors and rugs. It’s easy to use and lightweight and powerful, too. That said, a broom works really well, too, as does our Swiffer. It’s worth the trouble to have such a great doggie companion.

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