Your emotional support animal is more than just a pet; they’re family. Being such an important part of your life, it’s natural that they’ll be spending a lot of time in your house and by your side. However, that doesn’t mean that your house needs to look and smell like a kennel! Cleanliness can be next to doggy-ness; it just takes a bit of love and attention. These tips will make it easier than ever to keep your ESA dog indoors while still living in a clean home.
Learn the importance of grooming
Love your emotional support dog but don’t love their hair? No matter what breed of dog you have, you can be guaranteed you’re going to end up with some dog hair on your possessions at some point. The best way to control it is to try and minimize the hair that falls off your ESA dog in the first place.
Invest in a top-quality brush for your canine companion. Their type of fur will determine what kind of brush works best. Spending even five minutes a day will make the world of difference when it comes to finding pet hairs all over your home. Even better, most dogs love to be brushed and it can be a great bonding exercise for you and your emotional therapy pet. Their coat will be healthier and they’ll love you for it, just remember to brush with the fur, not against it!
Invest in the right tools
Regardless of how well you groom your emotional service animal, hair is still bound to get into places you don’t want it to be. If your house is carpeted, look for a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter and change the nozzle to use on any furniture that may have been a place of rest for your pooch. If you have wooden or tiled floors, an electrostatic mop will help gather even the smallest of hairballs from those nooks and crannies.
For removing hair from your clothes, you can afford to be more low-tech. A simple lint roller is efficient and cost-effective. Leave one by the door so you can do a quick check on your clothing before you leave the house, ensuring your doggy friend doesn’t leave you with more than a goodbye lick to remember him by!
Banish the doggy smell
Your dog emotional support might be crucial, but their smell is not. Luckily, there are lots of nifty household tricks that will help stop your home smelling like a kennel. Sprinkling baking soda on your carpet a couple of hours before vacuuming will do wonders for the smell. Vinegar is another cheap trick; you can spray it into the air or mop your floors with a vinegar solution.
Where possible, regularly pop your ESA dog’s bedding and even toys into the laundry. For furniture and dog beds that are simply too big for the washing machine, choose an odor neutralizer specifically designed for pet smells. Remember not to use any substance with harsh chemicals as they could irritate or even harm your dog.
Pay attention to the paws
A healthy, happy ESA dog will get lots of exercise outside but unfortunately that means having dirty paws to deal with. As always, prevention is the best policy. Place washable mats outside every entrance to your home. To stop the mucky paw prints, keep a shallow container of water near the door and dip your pooch’s paws into it. Alternatively, invest in wet wipes to help get the muck off their toes. Once they learn the routine, your emotional support animal will almost be able to clean themselves!
Keep them occupied
Sometimes dogs can get anxious or bored when left alone in the house for long periods of time. When this happens, it can spell disaster for your house; you may come home to find your favorite shoes have been nibbled on or your garbage scattered on the floor! If you simply can’t avoid leaving your emotional service animal alone, you can help prevent any potential destruction.
If possible, try to tire your ESA dog out before you leave him for long periods of time. A long walk in the morning will help spend that pent-up energy. If possible, leave them off the leash to sniff and run as they please. The mental simulation coupled with the exercise means they might sleep all the way through your absence!
You should also ensure your house is filled with safe toys for them to play with. A toy that dispenses food when they play with it is ideal; your pooch will happily spend hours digging out the treats and you’ll come home to a clean house. Remember not to leave your dog unsupervised with bones as they can shatter and hurt their mouths.
Clean up messes ASAP
Even the best of us can make mistakes and your emotional support animal is no different. The sooner you act on the pet stain, the better. If the stain begins to leave a permanent smell, your ESA dog will come back and use it again, thinking it’s a bathroom spot and it may damage the color of your floor. Keep an emergency ‘clean up’ kit to hand so you can quickly make your house spotlessly clean again.