While Hickory, NC doesn’t experience harsh winters like other areas around the country, there is additional precipitation. And any dog owner will know what that means — walks through puddles, splashing even in the mud, resulting in dirty paws. And dirt never just sticks to the bottom of their pads, either, dirt and mud seep in between, dirty water splashes their bellies, and heaven forbid you have a dog who likes rolling in the mud. So when it’s time to bring the dog inside, it’s nearly impossible to not get the floors dirty on your way to the tub for a good rinse.

If you live in an apartment, it’s even more important to keep your home clean, especially carpets. This makes it especially difficult owning a dog in the winter and spring seasons. So what do you do?

At The Legends Apartments in Hickory, NC, our pet-friendly apartments have non-carpeted entryways and they are spacious enough for your dog to have a good time indoors as well as out. But you can’t keep your dog inside all winter and spring. Here are a few tips to help make sure your home is as clean as possible, even with a dirty, wet, and muddy dog.

Make Baths a Priority

There will be days when a good wipe of your dog’s paws will suffice. But after a good rain and a long walk, if your dog is covered in mud and it would take your whole linen closet to wipe him down, opt for a bath instead. You still may want to at least give each paw a wipe before he walks on the carpet, though. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use soap each time; a good rinse with regular water is usually enough to clean away any dirt and mud on his belly, chest, and paws.

After he has been thoroughly rinsed, towel-dry your dog as much as possible right away. He will, of course, shake away any excess water on his own, so make sure he’s still in the bathroom so you can easily dry the floor and potentially cabinets and walls.

You will still want to give your dog a good soap bath at least once a month. You can either do this in your apartment, or go to a professional groomer. If you use a groomer, a trimming may help keep your dog a little cleaner after walks. They’ll also give your dog a deeper clean.

Set Up a Cleaning Station

The truth is that cleaning up after a dog is not one of the biggest draws to getting a pet in the first place, but it must be done. So to make it as easy on you as possible, set up a cleaning station right at the entryway with all of the things you’ll need. A cleaning station could include a large, durable mat, a few towels that you don’t mind getting dirty, some wet wipes or a spray bottle to clean muddy paws, and a container of treats. Making it a habit of stopping and cleaning his paws will make it easier and faster. It’s also a great opportunity to teach your dog to shake!

Vacuum Often and With a Quality Vacuum

Unless you give your dog a rinse or bath after every walk, there’s just no way of preventing all dirt from being carried into your apartment. So if you don’t already, you’ll want to make sure that you vacuum the carpet and clean any solid flooring at least every week. This will ensure that your apartment’s flooring stays as clean as possible. It will also help improve your indoor air quality!

The trick is to make sure that you have a quality vacuum cleaner. Look for an extra-strong vacuum with really good suction, filter, and a good brush that will pull stubborn hairs out of the carpet. Many vacuums come with attachments as well, so look for one that can fit in between the cushions on the sofa (if you let your dog on the couch).

Consider an Upgraded Sofa

This may be an extreme move simply to help keep your apartment clean, but if it’s time for a new couch anyway, the right material on the couch can make a big difference. They may be slightly more expensive, but some upholstery products are designed to resist stains. This material will prevent muddy paws from creating a mess on the couch and any mud that does get on the couch is easier to clean off. Leather, whether it’s real or faux, is also easier to clean and has a much lower chance of staining, especially darker colors. WIth leather, though, be mindful of the length of your dog’s nails so they won’t scratch the leather.

Clean the Dog’s Things

Old dog bones that are half-eaten, other chew toys that have weeks of slobber built up, and throw blankets your dog lays on, all need regular cleaning. When toys get wet from slobber they can pick up dirt and hair and carry it around the apartment, and when they’re not regularly cleaned can eventually leave behind that familiar dog smell.

The same goes for the dog bed. Many dog beds are made with fuzzy fabrics, so while they look very comfy, they are not the easiest to clean. When shopping for a dog bed, look for one that at least has a removable slipcover that can be thrown in the washer every couple weeks. If it doesn’t have a slipcover, look for one made with a material that can be wiped down to remove dirt, hair, and any built-up odors.

Be Mindful of Odors

Speaking of dog odors, that musky, wet dog smell is not a very welcoming aroma, to say the least. So while you may have grown accustomed to it, any friends or family who visit your apartment may be turned off by the smell. Regularly cleaning the carpet and all your dog’s things will go a long way in ridding your apartment of the odor. However, you can always take it a step further and keep a few natural air fresheners around. Give the living room a good spray every week or so to help keep odors at bay.

If you don’t love the idea of using air fresheners in your apartment, the weather in Hickory typically warms up often enough in the late winter and spring so that you can open windows or patio doors to let fresh air inside. Opening windows or doors for 15 or 20 minutes every couple of weeks should be enough to freshen up your apartment.

Take Care of Accidents Quickly

If you recently got a new puppy who isn’t house trained yet, be sure to clean up accidents right away. There are dozens of pet-friendly carpet cleaning products that make it fairly easy to clean up accidents. Just be sure to follow the directions on the label in order to fully remove any liquids or solids from the area. When taken care of quickly, it will prevent stains from setting and odors will be eliminated.

The joys of owning a dog far outweigh the negatives, but trying to keep your apartment clean with a dog, especially in the wetter seasons, will always be a challenge. Following these tips will ensure that your home remains as clean as possible. The most important steps to follow include:

  • Setting up a cleaning station with towels, a durable mat, and treats at the entryway.
  • Regularly clean the dog’s toys and dog bed.
  • Take care of accidents right away.
  • Make rinsing or bathing your dog a priority after walks.
  • Use a high-quality vacuum.

At The Legends Apartments in Hickory, NC, we’re happy to offer residents pet-friendly apartments. Our apartments feature non-carpeted entryways, spacious living areas, and patios/balconies so your dog can soak up the sun. If you’re looking for a luxury apartment with high-end amenities, schedule a tour with us today!