Pet Couch Cover and Other Ways to Dog Proof a Living Room

Recently I was asked by Diana Bocco of Pet MD / PawCulture to answer some questions about a pet couch cover and other ways to dog proof a living room. You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with productivity?” Well, my friend, if you have to spend time cleaning up after your dog or putting your living room back together, that means you’re losing out on spending time on something that’s far more fun. That’s an example of inefficiency and lower productivity.

Below are her questions and my answers.

1) Any tips on protecting (and/or keeping clean) your carpets/rugs in the living room when you have pets? 

Let’s start from the outside  of the house and work our way to the inside.

An Astroturf doormat helps remove dirt from dogs’ paws as they walk across it. The “blades” are firm enough to wipe off some of the debris that Rover may pick up while outside, but they’re soft enough to not hurt the paw pads. Keep a towel near the door to finish wiping off whatever the mat doesn’t catch.

If you have non-stainproof carpet in your living room, consider using Scotchgard ™ or a similar product. You apply by spraying, and it gives your carpet a layer of resistance to liquid. It’s not foolproof, but it’ll keep the liquid on the surface of the fibers until you can grab something to mop up the mess.

Keep your dogs well-brushed so that you have less loose fur to clean up. Don’t bathe your dog daily. That can actually dry out the skin and increase the amount of pet dander that falls into your carpet. Check with your vet about how often your dog’s skin can handle grooming.

Use a vacuum with a pet attachment. No, the pet isn’t attached! But the “pet brush” that attaches to the hose is designed to scoop up pet hair. Vacuum twice or more per week so that the fur, pet dander and dirt don’t get ground down further and further into the carpet and become harder to suck up with any kind of vacuum.

Choose a spot for a comfy dog bed. This might encourage your dog to spend most of his/her time in that one particular area – as opposed to all over the place – thereby concentrating the “puppy crumbs” in one area. It’s easier to do a deep clean in one small area than an entire room.

2) Any particular material/color of carpets/rugs you should choose for the living room if you have dogs? Anything to avoid? 

If you’re in the market for changing out your flooring, consider tile or wood floors. They’re easier to clean and slower to stain. If you go the wood or wood-look route, be sure to check on doggie nails durability. Also be prepared for the clackity-clack sound if you let your dog’s nails get long.

If you’re going to stick to carpet, invest in stainproof carpet and don’t skimp on the padding. The cheap padding doesn’t hold up to wear and tear. Keep in mind, though, that while the heavier density (and more expensive) padding will help your carpet last longer, there is no such thing as magical pet-proof padding.

Definitely avoid textured carpets and rugs that have nooks and crannies – unless you’re willing to remove said carpet and rugs a few times per year and beat out the dirt a la Laura Ingalls.

As for the color, that depends on your answer to this question: Do you want the dirt and fur to show? You might say yes to that question because you know that if you see it, you’ll want to clean it more often. If this is the case, choose colors that are the opposite of your typical doggie dirt and fur. For example, our dirt is a beige-grey. We have deep brown wood flooring, and that color of dirt stands out on it. This prompts us to sweep more often than we otherwise would. If you’re not keen on cleaning often and want to camouflage the dirt and fur, choose a color that does that. For example, we have one room with a cut loop berber carpet which hides stains because of its pattern.

3) Any tips on organizing your dog’s toys in the living room? 

Choose a smaller container that holds only five to seven toys. If you choose a larger container, you’ll end up collecting more toys in there. The more toys you have in the container, the more you’ll have to pick up. So unless you train your dog how to put his or her toys away, you’ll want to limit the number. If you are able to train your dog to put toys away, you can have a container that’s low to the ground so that your dog can reach in to grab toys – and put them back.

As for the type of container, you can choose one that is obviously a dog container. In other words, it has designs with dogs or bones on the outside. There won’t be a question about where Fido’s toys should return, but it most likely won’t go with your living room decorating.

If you can find a decorative container that matches your décor, congratulations! If you’re like most other pet owners, the “perfect looking” container for your living room may not be an effective way to hold toys. If this is the case, consider use a container-within-a-container storage. You can hide a functional container inside of your decorative container.

Ideally, whatever container you choose won’t have a lid because the lid will become a barrier. It sounds crazy, but having to lift a lid and place it back on a daily basis might cause you to just leave the toys on the floor. Also, you’ll want to choose a container that can be wiped out – unless your pooch is slobber-free and never has goop on his/her toys.

4) How can you “dog proof” your couch? 

You could train your dogs to stay off the furniture so that you don’t have to worry about this. But if you have 60-pound-dogs that like to cuddle like ours do, it can be hard to say no to that cute face and that large body leaning against you until you relent.

You can use a nice-fitting slip cover. If you can’t find a slip cover that’s “pretty enough for guests,” you can always take the slipcover off when guests come over. You can also use a decorative blanket and have your pup curl up on that. You could also use a dog cushion on the couch so that your dog knows exactly which spot is his. Or you can use a “special” pet couch cover. Some pet couch covers even come with matching pillows. Scotchgard can be used to help protect your upholstery from moisture and oils.

If you’re interested in a visual example of any of the products that I mentioned, click below:

Astroturf door mat:


Pet attachment:

Types of carpet padding:

Dog container: or

These are getting a bit deep: or

This is too large for toys, but it’s decorative. You can put a smaller, wipeable container inside:

You can hide dog toys and accessories in a decorative shelving unit as well:

Pet couch cover:

Read Diana’s full article here: How to Dog Proof Your Living Room (Note: It’s in a slide show format, so you have to advance the pictures to read each portion of the article. If it’s no longer there, try this link.)

With the December holidays just around the corner, these tips can be used to help prepare your living area for guests.

If you’re a dog owner, you probably have your own exciting discoveries about pet couch covers and how to dog proof your room. Please feel free to share those below in the comments section!

About Helene Segura

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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