Every dog owner knows that contending with dog hair around your home is inevitable – unless, perhaps, you own a poodle. But every dog tracks in a multitude of other unwanted things, including invisible (and potentially harmful) bacteria and germs. It’s a constant battle to keep your floors clean as your dog goes in and out. But at least you can see the dirt and mud, grass clippings, and other debris.
Dogs and germs
North Carolina University investigated the presence of bacteria in households with dogs, compared to pet-free households. Not surprisingly, the dog homes had higher bacteria populations, representing a wider variety of bacteria. There was no evidence, however, that any particular breeds of dog were “germier” than others.
Some of the microbes the study identified include E.coli, MRSA, salmonella, listeria, and others that can cause pneumonia or gingivitis in humans. Yikes! But before you panic, note that most bacteria are actually beneficial.
For example, pregnant women who are also dog moms give birth to babies less likely to develop allergies or atopic dermatitis. Infants up through their first year who live in doggie homes benefit in the same way. Go Fido! And, besides, another study showed that dogs track in far fewer bacteria on their paws than people do on their shoes. Paws are smaller, after all. And they’re also cleaner.
The North Carolina study also revealed that TV screens and pillowcases hosted the most bacteria of all locations in the home. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Do the dogs in these homes spend an inordinate amount of time reclining on the bed, watching TV? The researchers didn’t address this question.
Experts say the bottom line here is that your entire family, two legs and four, tracks in bacteria and germs. It’s part of life, so we should learn to deal with it. They do suggest that you and your kids wash your hands after handling the dog. Especially before meals. That’s smart advice, even in dog-free homes.
You can try to clean up your dog
This can be a trying experience in more ways than one, if your dog isn’t fond of having her feet handled or the sound of spritzing. Nonetheless, products you might consider include:
- Pet spray or wipes that are similar to hand sanitizer – you can use it on paws or all over your dog, but be aware these are really designed to remove dirt, not kill bacteria
- Doggie doormats permeated with disinfectant
- A foot-washing station just outside the door, with soap, a bucket of water, and a towel
- Dog booties
In an earlier blog post about dealing with muddy paws, we noted that sometimes solutions that sound good at first turn out to be more hassle than they’re worth. Only you and your dog can decide. Perhaps the saner approach is to focus on house cleaning techniques that minimize potentially harmful germs. Well-known dog trainer and blogger Cesar Millan has pulled together a list of spring cleaning tips for dog owners. He also suggests more grass and better yard maintenance, to reduce indoor microbes and mess.
More grass? How ‘bout better grass?
We’re talking about artificial grass, the dog-friendly alternative that makes your home and yard look better. Artificial grass is safer and cleaner than the real thing. You can say good-bye to:
- Lawn clippings and other debris
- Dust and mud
- Mold, mildew, and insects that love to call natural grass home
- Toxic residues from lawn care chemicals
Plus, artificial grass makes it easy to clean up after your dog, and you can say good-bye to the hassles and expense of endless, ongoing lawn care. With artificial grass, you get a cleaner dog and a cleaner environment, indoors and out.