I rent an apartment in New York City, and once a month an anxiety more powerful than not being able to afford Starbucks takes hold. This cloud of dread hovers over me on the first of the month, a unlikely but prominent fear that my landlord will want to come in when he drops off my rent receipt. This hasn’t happened yet, but I still always put makeshift rugs and dog blankets down on the floors just in case.
Why do I do this? Because I have not been a diligent dog owner who protects her floors from her dogs’ indiscretions.
Of course, the biggest possible consequence to me, a renter, is that I could lose my deposit plus some. But home owners, too, will have to pay later on if they sell their house. So, whether renting or owning, this is one of the most important questions in household upkeep.
If you’ve just moved in or just adopted a dog and are doing this from the start, good for you! But it’s never too late to protect your floors. So start today! Tomorrow’s okay, too.
I have wood floors and a tile floor in the bathroom. Other folks may have wall-to-wall carpet or area rugs, laminated flooring, or even concrete. Depending on what type you have, you may need a lot of protection or a minimal amount.
So, you probably know what type of floor you’re working with. You also have an idea of the type of messes your pet leaves behind. Every pet is capable of having a mishap, I don’t care how well-trained they are. A pet may get ill or frightened or jealous (yes, they can get jealous) or any number of things. Or you may bring home that cute puppy in the rescue window. Or, surprise, your pet may get old.
Most of the messes in my home occur because Hudson is old. Old dogs have a remarkable capacity for not hearing when you scold them and for hearing well when it’s dinner time. I’m pretty sure Hudson decided a couple of year’s ago that, because of his age, he no longer needed to do what I say and that it’s easier to go to the bathroom inside, especially when it’s hot outside. Hudson also throws up several times a day and night. Sometimes he eats it back up (ew, gross!) and sometimes I step into it when I get up to go to the bathroom at 2 a.m.
The most common messes your dog may leave for you are urine; poopie; mud, water and other natural substances; ice melters, oil and other chemical stuff; and vomit.
Cleaning up the mess is, of course, essential (unless it’s Hudson and vomit). And even really good floor protection solutions may let something seep through, so be sure to check under that protection if you see a mess.
It’s more economical and just easier to use only one or two cleaners for any type of mess based on your floor type. Leave a few spray bottles with the cleaner in them around the place (up high, of course). One product that can be used on any type of flooring and speeds up the cleaning of liquid messes is Nature Miracle’s Pet Mess Easy Clean Up, which has sawdust that absorbs the liquid. In fact, Nature’s Miracle is what I use and I think is the best brand for cleaning any type of floor.
Okay. The floors are clean. Fido has done every possible bodily function and you’re cleaned his paws and any other necessary region. Now, to get down to the point of this piece: How to protect your floors!
I wish I had loads of money to put tile floors in my apartment. But then, I could probably afford that New York City penthouse with the cool concrete floors. The following solutions are either temporary, which are mostly economical and quick to execute but may crunch under your feet, or permanent, which makes them more work up front and more expense but less obvious in the end.
Carpet or large area rugs:
In addition, use a spray such as Scotchguard for your carpet, which creates a barrier. It’s usually claimed that this is only needed once but you’ll probably have to apply it every month or so.
You can’t permanently protect a laminate floor, so you’ve got to put something on top of it that can continually be replaced. The polyurethane coating on laminated flooring offers little help and cannot be covered with any kind of coating or sealant.
Tile floors are easy to keep up if they’re installed correctly. A sealant can be applied, which will create a barrier between the tile and messes. Look for DuPont Stone and Tile Sealer (you want to seal the tile as well as the grout).
There are some general solutions to protect your floors as well. Crating your dog when you’re out or blocking off areas of flooring are effective. You can also put booties on your dog when you go out and socks on when they’re inside, such as Power Paws Dog Socks. Pee-pee pads will work on any type of floor as long as your dog is trained to use them. Area rugs with a rubber backings can provide a moderate amount of protection, but wash them or replace them frequently.
It’s easy to protect your floor from your dogs whether you rent or own. So, take my advice and don’t put it off as I did — start protecting your floors as soon as you move in and be diligent about cleaning up messes quickly. You’ll be happier with your home and more likely to get that deposit back.
Do you protect your floors? How do you do it? Let us know in the comments!
Top photo: Labrador Retriever puppy on a wood floor by Shutterstock.
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