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5 Must-Have Items for a Multi-Dog House

I've learned a lot living in my extreme dog-filled environment. Here's how to make life easier -- and cleaner -- for dog owners.

Wendy Newell  |  Jan 12th 2016


As a dog sitter, I live in an extreme dog-filled environment. I don’t sleep alone or eat alone, and I never, ever go to the bathroom alone! A pack of pups follows me from room to room and settles down around me when I dare take a load off. I just realized that the hoodie I’m wearing is covered in slobber and that I’m typing with my back to a pile of torn-up gift bags that have been that way all day. Although my situation is extreme, I’m sure that you, as a dog owner, can relate.

As much as I adore my darling temporary wards, I am constantly searching for ways to make my life easier and less hairy. Here are five everyday items that help me in my attempt at a normal life. I hope they can help you, too!

1. In-shower lotion

Woman drinking coffee on the sofa with her dog licking her toes. By Shutterstock

Dog licking woman’s toes by Shutterstock.

My dog, Riggins, is a lover, not a licker. Imagine my dismay when I started dog sitting and realized some dogs enjoy the taste of lotion. Blah! Can you imagine? It sounds so disgusting to me, and yet if I lotion up, my limbs are quickly attacked by canine tongues. I don’t understand this, but it’s a thing. A real slobbery thing. If dog spit had moisturizing properties, I’d have the skin of a newborn. Alas, it does not.

The problem is that I need lotion. If I don’t use it, I get all scaly, flaky, and itchy. Not attractive! Recently I discovered in-shower lotion. A number of brands have their version of this magic goop, but it is all used in the same way. While in the shower, you spread it all over your body and then rinse it off. Sure, it’s not as good as regular lotion, but it’s better than nothing. A LOT better. The best thing about it is the dogs aren’t obsessed with it and leave my exposed flesh alone!

2. Hydrogen peroxide spray

The mist of a spray bottle spraying water into the air. by Shutterstock

Spray bottle by Shutterstock.

Hydrogen peroxide is a suggested item in any dog first aid kit. Since the dogs and I go on daily hikes, during which I often get pushed or pulled past bushes and tree limbs, I go through a lot of the bubbly elixir. The dogs use their fair share, too. Thank goodness hydrogen peroxide is inexpensive!

It’s a pain to get on a wound, though, especially a scratch on a wiggly puppy. To make my first aid more effective, I put a spray nozzle on my hydrogen peroxide bottle. Now when someone needs it, they get a squirt of the stuff. Not only is it more effective at hitting the spot, it is easier, which means I’m more likely to use it — even on the smaller scratches like the one on my hand I’m starring at right now! Excuse me — I’ll be right back.

See! Fast and effective. One thing to note if you start doing this: Make sure to put a spray nozzle on the actual hydrogen peroxide bottle vs. pouring it into a spray bottle. Light will decrease the effectiveness and lifespan of the active ingredient, which is why the bottle is dark.

3. Key hook

Old cast iron key holder rack over white background. by Shutterstock

Key holder by Shutterstock.

If you don’t already have a key hook, you should run to the hardware store and get one immediately. When I lived in a dog-free home, I had a hook by the back door for my keys. Once Riggins came into my life, it became a hook for his leash and walking harness.

Now with multiple dogs hanging out at my home, I have two really big hooks by the back door. When not in use, leashes, harnesses, dog seatbelts, and my purse all live on those hooks (or below them if things get really crowded). It’s an amazing time-saver to have those items handy when you need them. It’s also great in an emergency not to have to think where a dog’s lead has gone.

4. Pet gates

dogs behind metal fence by Shutterstock

Dog behind gate by Shutterstock.

I realize this is a no-brainer for most people. Most people but me! I just recently invested in some high-quality doggie gates, and I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Even with one dog they can be incredibly useful. I’ve isolated a couple of rooms in my house and designated them “no dog zones.” OK, I admit it, my own baby boy, Riggins, is the exception to the rule! HE is allowed in the “no dog zones.”

Still, you would be amazed at how much cleaner those rooms are compared to the others in my tiny little house. Once again, I realize my house is an extreme case, but I’m telling you that walking down my hall, through the doggie gate, and into the dogs-allowed living room is like going from the black-and-white Kansas farm to the colorful Land of Oz. Everything has to be vacuumed, dusted, and Lysol-ed far less in the dog-free rooms than anywhere else in the house. They are my happy places.

Also, these gates are extremely useful in isolating a pup when you have guests at home or are cooking brownies that your always-hungry pup wants to steal.

I suggest going all in if you decide to invest in one or two pet gates, such as those we recently reviewed by Fusion Gates.

5. Air filters

Do portable air filters work? Some say yes, some say no, but I say who cares! They make me feel better, and that’s enough for me to use them. The air in my house has less dander when they are running. I usually turn mine on for a 12-hour cycle after dusting and vacuuming.

Those are my tips! Do you have any to share? Please do so in the comments. I’m always open for things that will make my life easier!

Read more about Wendy and Riggins:

About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.