(PETS) Dogs are warm, fluffy creatures full of love and exuberance. They’re kind of like kids, in a sense that, while they’re an absolute joy to have around, they don’t always have the same attitude towards messiness that we typically do.

They’ll tread happily over your new carpet and leave muddy paw prints behind. There’s going to be fur all over your furniture. And on a few occasions, it’s likely you’ll come home to them digging through the trashcan because they smelled something interesting.

To live with a dog means you’ll deal with a bit of mess from time to time, but luckily this doesn’t have to affect the overall cleanliness of your home. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure your living space is fresh and tidy every day.

Clean your pup

While dogs don’t need to be bathed nearly as often as humans, they still benefit from a monthly wash that will get rid of dirt, stickiness, and odors. Use a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for canines to avoid irritating their skin, be gentle and encourage them with treats during the process, and be careful to never get water in their ears.

We’d also recommend that you brush their coat regularly to reduce shedding, and to keep an old towel next to the entrance door of your home. That way, when your dog comes back from a walk with dirty paws, you can gently wipe them off before allowing them to go inside.

Train them from an early age

If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, you need to let them know early on. Establishing good habits goes a long way in making it easier to avoid big messes, so start while they’re young, use only positive reinforcement, give them treats, and be patient.

Vacuum more often

Hands down, vacuuming is the number one way to control shedding. Rather than waiting a month for the hairs to pile up and become unmanageable, it’s much easier to simply give your carpets and furniture a quick once-over once or twice a week.

Lint rollers

Getting dressed for work and realizing that your pants are completely covered with hair is no fun at all. Keep a lint roller nearby, or if you’re in a pinch, grab a pair of rubber gloves, wet them under the tap, and use that to remove fur from clothes and surfaces.

Use air purifiers

One of the best ways to control odors are air purifiers, especially if you have someone with asthma or allergies in your household. Find a device that has HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Absorption) filtration, and use it to get pet dander, dust, mold, and light odors under control.

Unlike fresheners that merely mask bad scents, a quality HEPA air purifier actually neutralizes them and and keeps the area fresh. It’s a good idea to keep one in the room where your pet sleeps and plays, especially if you get a model that can operate quietly.

Make your own cheap cleansers

Some household items are surprisingly good at keeping your home clean, and if you want to save a few bucks and make a non-toxic cleaning solution, use a mixture of water and vinegar to clean your floors from dirty paw prints.

You can also use baking soda to get rid of odors – simply spread a thin coat over your carpet, let it sit for a while, and then vacuum it to draw out the nasty stench.

Give them nutrient-rich food

How your pet smells is also dependent on what you feed them. If they eat poor-quality food, they might end up with a stronger odor. The same goes for feeding them human food, especially if it’s something spicy.

It’s better to stick to organic, quality food if you can, and to never make a habit of feeding them table scraps.

Get professional carpet cleaning

An annual carpet cleaning can be really helpful. Hire professionals to give all your carpets and rugs a thorough cleaning, and you’ll remove all the odors and the bacteria that might be breeding in the threads. Removing rugs for cleaning will also give you the chance to scrub the floors thoroughly and make everything spic and span.

The love our pets offer us is worth every stray hair and dirty paw print, so in the end, an occasional mess is no big deal at all. Simply stick to these tips and you’ll have a very neat, clean home.

— Zara Lewis, exclusive to Global Animal

Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Highstylife.com magazine and a full-time animal lover. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members.