This Pup Parenting Guide is brought to you by Wahl Pet, the fastest-growing pet grooming brand committed to developing all-natural products for a healthy, happy dog!
Growing up, I didn’t have dogs. I had turtles, fish, and parakeets. Basically just animals whose germs my mom could keep contained to one area of our New York City apartment. When I finally moved out on my own, the first purchase I made was a leash for the pup who would be my best friend and roomie at my new place in North Carolina.
When I moved back to New York a few years later to finish college, my mom was apprehensive, though she tried to disguise it. Into a tiny room in her apartment I crammed Lady’s bed next to mine, and in the kitchen I dumped a 30-pound bag of dog food. In a corner of her living room I placed a mountain of dog toys. Her once immaculate home was now filled with 75 pounds of dog and the farts and hair that came with it.
Two years later, my mom is still living with her grandpup Lady, who is the light of her eyes.
Here are some of the ways my mom figured out how to peacefully coexist with the furry monster she never wanted but learned to love.
1. Keep your couches drool-free.
The first rule my mom set in her house was No Dogs On Couches Or Beds. Whenever I was home, Lady pretended to not know what couches are for. But whenever I was out of the house, it was a different story, because my mom and brother are suckers for puppy eyes (and my dog is a literal Bully).
To keep her sanity and avoid having to break out upholstery cleaners, my mom decided to cover all of Lady’s usual haunts with washable fabrics. This way we can periodically chuck things right into the wash (it’s how I got away with having a white couch and two dogs at my old place) to get the grime and dog smell off.
2. Scrub that booty
My mom loves dogs, but she’s from Dominican Republic, where dogs are generally kept outside to enjoy the island breeze. Every time she got home from work she’d say her house smelled like dogs, so I started washing Lady more frequently, and with specially designed odor control shampoo that had a pleasant minty smell. If I wanted to keep living with my mom, I’d have to up Lady’s hygiene game.
I didn’t mind washing her, although lifting her 75 pound booty into that tub was wearing on me. Wearing me down even more, though, was the scathing side eye she shot me every time I asked her if she wanted a bath.
To keep my mom and Lady happy, I looked into alternative methods of keeping Lady smelling less rank between baths. I found Wahl’s No-Rinse Shampoo in their oatmeal formula, which helps moisturize her skin and smells pleasant. They even have 100% Natural Doggie Deodorant, which I haven’t sprung for yet although it is the #1 Bestselling dog cologne on Amazon.
The best days are those when my mom kisses Lady’s forehead and compliments her on how nice she smells.
3. Invest in a solid grooming tool.
If you’ve got a dog who sheds, you’ve probably had to dedicate a significant part of your budget towards lint rollers. At home, we’ve got at least one in every room and a few by the door. I even carried a mini one in my purse until I started working at BarkPost, where everyone wears dog hair proudly. As a teacher, my mom would rather not get to work looking like a dog lady.
To cut down on the hair flying around the apartment, I found brushes help. Going through her hair with a Rake (not the kind for leaves, you doofus!) also cuts down on the shedding. Thankfully, Lady has short hair, so I don’t have to deal with tangles, but lightly brushing her helps me collect loads of hair that would normally end up on my mom’s bed.
If you’re not sure how to brush your pup, here’s a handy how-to that covers basic grooming for dogs of all hair types:
4. Avoid poop stains on the bed.
It’s something most people don’t talk about in polite company, but we keep it real here. Dog poo stains can strike at any moment, unless your pup likes licking their butt clean, which doesn’t make things better if they’re prone to kissing you after.
The best solution I’ve found to this is wiping Lady’s butt. I know, I know, but it’s either that or explaining to my mom why there are dookie spots on her comforter.
General baby wipes are fine for this most glamorous of duties, or you can get large-sized Wahl’s lavender and chamomile scented Refresh Wipes which are meant for wiping your pup clean between baths. I like giving Lady’s butt and paws a quick wipe with these to get all the NYC grime off her before she cuddles with Grandma.
5. Brush them teefins.
Your pup may hate it, but brushing their teeth is super important. It can help them live longer AND won’t make humans recoil in horror when they get a whiff of your dog’s breath.
6. Keep a tight toy inventory.
You know to keep your dog’s bowls clean, but what about their toys? The easiest way to keep germs at bay is to buy toys made for easy cleaning, like rubber or nylon toys that can be thrown in the washing machine or the dishwasher for sanitizing.
7. Wash yo hands!
“Duh,” you might be thinking. No, but seriously. Even if you’re not a germophobe, it would be super helpful for everyone in the family if you make frequent handwashing a habit. Just think about your dog’s leash, which doesn’t get washed often. Just like you wash your hands after using the bathroom (I hope), you should wash your hands after walking your pup, especially if your dog likes to lie down on the dirty ground like mine does:
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