Are you in the doghouse? Well, maybe it’s not such a bad place. Around half of all British households have pets, and our furry friends have never been so pampered.
But one thing that all owners howl about (sorry) is the mess that four-legged friends often bring with them.
So what can you do to keep your couches from falling apart and your carpets from getting covered in dirt?
Build a shower room
Refresher: Victorian Plumbing has a dog shower tube with 3 sprays for £96.24 (victorianplumbing.co.uk)
According to interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch, “A pet shower will never be out of place in a family with dogs.
“They are often found in the trunk or utility room and are a must-have item for anyone who wants to keep the house clean and tidy, especially after long walks in the mud.
“The shower can be integrated into the design of the room by using the same tiles on the floor and walls of the shower. It not only looks great, but also makes the shower practical and easy to clean.’
You want a dog-height shower, with a strong waterproof barrier around it and preferably a good sized towel rail.
Install the shower at waist level so that you don’t have to kneel down to wash your dog, and a small step is convenient for them to enter instead of lifting them (and this can also be used for dirty wells).
Victorian Plumbing has a dog shower tube with 3 sprays for £96.24.
If you don’t want to build a doggie spa, you can buy a ready-made, enclosed wash booth to store in your garage or basement. It is only necessary to connect it to water supply and sewage.
Vevor has a range of stainless steel products such as the 50in Pet Bath Tub, big enough for a large dog, which comes with a shower head, straps to keep your dog in place and steps so they can climb in (£917.99) .
Try a pet wash
Not enough room for a shower room? Consider creating an outdoor washing area with a shower connected to hot water.
To make the job easier, try the Woof Washer 360, a hoop-shaped handheld hose that you run your dog through, a bit like a car wash (£22, amazon.co.uk).
House and Hound: The right fabrics can keep your sofa hair-free – choose smooth materials like leather or hard-wearing short synthetic fibers
Choose your furniture wisely
Ask a dog or cat owner where Rover or Fluffy makes the most messes, and nine times out of ten the answer will be “the couch.”
You might be able to keep your canine friend out of the fabric couch (try telling your cat where he can and can’t sleep…), but those hairs will still end up on the pillows somehow. And good luck trying to vacuum them.
So choose smooth materials like leather or durable, short synthetic fibers, and stay away from anything that traps dirt or fur or can be scratched (intentionally or unintentionally) by sharp claws. That means velvet and velor are definitely out.
Wooden or cane legs are also attractive for dogs who like to chew or cats who want to sharpen their claws. Stick to metal frames if you can. A special scratching post is a must for cats.
“Choosing the floor covering is key,” says Emma Sims-Hilditch. “We recommend avoiding loop pile carpets, which can be easily damaged by your pet’s claws.
“Instead, we suggest laying a natural stone floor. Not only do they look great in the garden room, kitchen or trunk, but they are also incredibly durable.”
Zone your home
Your canine friend sometimes needs a separate space. You can also store all their toys so they don’t invade every corner of the house.
A play pen will do the trick, such as the Lords & Labradors wooden puppy pen in white or gray (£129.99).
One of the reasons that dogs often climb on sofas is because they like to sleep in elevated places. If you buy them a nice bed, they will be less tempted to climb on the soft furniture. The Dog Bed Company makes an attractive large handmade oak bed with Queen Anne legs for £299.
Watch the walls
Cats often walk on walls, and dogs get overexcited and crash into them. In any case, if you have expensive textured wallpaper, it can take the brunt of it and end up dirty or torn. So stick to a washable paint such as Dulux Easycare (glossy white emulsion, £50 for 10 liters from B&Q).
Banish that hair!
Pet hair can get everywhere. Solve the problem with the Dyson Groom nozzle, which allows you to vacuum your pet free of hair. You’ll find out what he or she thinks about it all when you try it (£65).
Savings of the week! Shelves for drying
Black & Decker 3-Tier Rack reduced by £50 from £199.99 to £149.99 (robertdyas.co.uk)
A tumble dryer can be a convenient appliance, but it can also be an energy guzzler.
Despite the freeze on energy prices, most households will still be looking for ways to reduce their fuel bills this winter, making an electric fan well worth considering.
These racks dry laundry efficiently and cost about a third of the cost of a tumble dryer. Devotees also love that they are gentler on clothes than dryers and are much kinder to the planet.
With a wide range of models, Robert Dyas offers the Status 220W dryer in silver, which is suitable for a single person or a student.
It’s reduced from £69.99 to £49.99. Robert Dyas also stocks a Black & Decker three-tiered rack (left) that would suit a larger family. Its price has been reduced by £50 from £199.99 to £149.99 (robertdyas.co.uk).
At Lakeland you can get £15 off a pack of Dry:Soon 3-Tier Shelving. This includes a cover that helps retain heat and converts into a storage bag. Now priced at £177.98 (lakeland.co.uk).