Having a dog is a richly rewarding experience, but one that can easily drain your bank account. One area where your dog’s adorableness and antics don’t have to strain your budget is in your cleaning routine. By making a few small investments up front, you can eliminate many of the messes your dog could cause. Messes like knocked over trash cans, a couch full of fur, and muddy paw prints in places paws have no place.

Keep away

Your home may be your castle but it’s your dog’s domain as well, though that doesn’t mean he should have free reign of every room. Certain spaces, such as a formal dining room, home office, or craft room, may be best left out of reach to avoid messes or wayward chewing. Train your dog to stop before he enters these areas or keep them blocked off completely. The latter option can lead to crying and whining when you walk away and your pup has to stay. Or he may use his claws to scratch the walls and carpet at an entryway he’s not allowed to cross. The best option here is through training. If your dog is stubborn or you don’t have hours each day to devote to his “education,” invest in a training collar, which can be adjusted to give your dog a gentle reminder when he breaks the rules. It will help keep those off-limits areas safe and dog-free.

Along the same lines as blocking your dog’s ability to enter certain rooms is buying a trash can that he can’t open. A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times that of a human, and the remnants of last night’s dinner wafting out from an open trash can is a temptation they’re not likely to overlook.

Budget-friendly bicarbonate

For the mess that you can’t prevent, you’ll want to keep a supply of bicarbonate in the house. Cleanipedia explains that bicarbonate, which in layman terms is simply baking soda, is a powerful cleaner and odor eliminator. You can use baking soda on your carpets and fabric surfaces to pull embedded odors out. It can also be mixed with vinegar to clean stains from hard, nonporous surfaces and is especially effective at cleaning tile grout. Canadian-based environmental conservancy David Suzuki Foundation explains that vinegar is also a potent disinfectant. It’s a safe way to kill germs without using harsh chemicals that could potentially harm your pet or children. Some stains may be just too difficult to remove on your own. In this case, you’re best off bringing in a professional carpet cleaner; these services average $163 in San Diego.

Vac hack

If you find that your pet’s shedding has gotten out of control, there are several ways to tackle the fur. The first is to choose a vacuum designed for pet hair (solid models are available for around $120). According to Floor Critics, this means buying a unit with lots of suction and attachments that will help you pull hair and dander from the carpet and upholstery. If a new vacuum isn’t in your current budget, try brushing and bathing your dog regularly, which can also cut down on the amount of hair you have to clean up. Use a quality shampoo that won’t dry out your pet’s skin; otherwise, your dog may scratch and bite himself.

Manage the mud

A muddy puppy is a happy puppy, but the inevitable trail he leaves behind in your home can leave you anything but jolly. An inexpensive way to manage the amount of mud that makes its way to your floors is to place a runner at the entrance your dog uses most. This will catch debris and also help dry their paws before they make their way to your main living area.

There are few greater joys in life than having a dog to share it with. But if you’re not careful, your hound can cost you more than you bargained for. So remember, teach them to avoid off-limits areas, invest in tools that are rugged enough to clean up after them, and spend a little quality time on grooming.

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