These 5 Steps Will Prevent Your Dog from Destroying Your Home

Floppy ears, wet noses, and puppy dog eyes come paw-in-paw with muddy paws, pee stains, and pet hair everywhere. Some days it feels like maintaining a clean home with dogs is an impossible task. However, by taking steps to prevent messes before they happen, you can avoid most doggie disasters at home. Here’s what you need to do.

Dog Proof Your Home

Does your dog get into trouble every time you turn your back? Pet proofing keeps puppies and dogs with destructive streaks from ruining your home while you’re away. It also prevents life-threatening situations, such as your dog gobbling up a non-food item and getting a gastrointestinal obstruction.

Most dog-proofing steps involve good cleanliness habits, regardless of pets. Keep laundry off the floor, store food in cupboards or up high when not in immediate use, and secure kitchen and bathroom trash cans. If your dog seems to find something to destroy no matter how tidy your home is, limit his range while you’re away by blocking staircases with baby gates and closing doors to rooms you don’t want your dog to go in.

Stock Up on Cleaning Supplies

Messes are much easier to deal with if you clean them immediately rather than waiting. But if you don’t have the right supplies on hand, you won’t be able to clean stains before they set. Make sure you have a vacuum designed to handle pet hair, an enzymatic stain cleaner, and paper towels to pick up pet messes as they happen. It’s also a good idea to stash a towel by the front door so you can wipe down muddy paws and wet coats before letting your dog inside.

Schedule Baths and Grooming

Your dog doesn’t need to wash up as often as you do, but that doesn’t mean you can skip bathing completely. If your dog goes too long without a bath, his coat will develop a funk that gives your home the dreaded “dog smell.” Schedule a bath with a gentle dog shampoo about once a month; after a bath is a good time to apply monthly flea and tick preventative and trim nails too. If you’re not sure how to trim your dog’s nails, use Caring Hands Vet’s Visual Guide for instruction.

Brush your dog before giving him a bath, but don’t make that the only time you brush his coat. Brush your dog about once a week, more often for long-haired and double-coated breeds, to minimize shedding.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Living with an unaltered dog is not fun. Intact male dogs have an intense urge to roam, which means they’ll dedicate an inordinate amount of energy toward finding an escape route from your home and yard. Female dogs in heat emit bloody discharge, which is not a mess you want to find on your carpet. Both male and female dogs may take to urine-marking their territory if they’re not spayed or neutered. While opinions differ on the best time to have your dog spayed or neutered, nearly everyone agrees that it’s a smart idea — especially if six new mouths to feed is your idea of a doggie disaster.

Hang Out with Your Dog

If your dog seems to have an insatiable thirst for trouble, no matter how many preventative measures you put in place, ask yourself if he’s getting enough exercise. As the ASPCA explains, destructive behavior is often a byproduct of a lack of exercise and mental stimulation. By giving your dog better outlets for his energy, you can curb misbehavior at home. Hire a dog walker to get more daily exercise for your pooch, but also mix it up with nature hikes, trail running, trips to the dog park, puzzle toys, scent work, and other forms of canine fun.

When you live with dogs, some level of chaos is inevitable. You’re cohabiting with another species, after all! As dog owners, it’s up to us to make sure our dogs’ needs are met and to remember that the occasional mess is a small price to pay for a dog’s companionship.


While you’re away:

Right supplies:

Schedule a bath:

Visual guide:

Opinions differ:

New mouths:

Destructive behavior:

Puzzle toys:

About the Author

Cindy Aldridge is a freelance writer who started as a fun side project through which to share her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner."I'm originally from Phoenix, Arizona but I travel a lot with my dog."

Cindy wrote this article specifically for We thank her for her generosity in sharing her knowledge with our readers. You can google Cindy Aldridge @ to read other article by her.

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