A few weeks ago, we published a piece on shoe etiquette in which we briefly mentioned what to do if you have dogs in your home, but want to enforce a “no shoe” policy with guests. It can seem like a contradiction — a clean home… with dogs?! So we wanted to follow up and write more on this topic, since many of our readers probably love their furry friends as much as we do — yet also want to maintain a clean, sanitary home for their families.
How Dirty Is a Doglover’s Home?
This year, North Carolina University published research asserting that homes with dogs have a greater number of bacteria and greater variety of bacteria than households without dogs. While the findings were far from “revolutionary,” it was interesting to learn that pillowcases and TV screens had the most detectable dog-related microbes.
Certain classes of microbes dogs brought in have been known to cause gingivitis and pneumonia, researchers said, but other types may be beneficial to humans as long as “we keep a good hygienic environment.” For instance, veterinarian Andy Roark of Greenville, South Carolina told NBC News, “Research has actually shown that mothers who live with dogs while pregnant are less likely to have children with conditions like atopic dermatitis or to develop allergies.”
Also, keep in mind that your shoes are probably filthier than a dog’s paws any day of the week. An ABC News study ranked dog paws #5 and #9 out of 10 “dirtiest feet.” Researchers found that, not only did dogs step in fewer different places than people, but rain water often rinsed the dogs’ paws off. Also, the surface area of dog paws is smaller than what our feet typically contact.
How Can We Keep Our Home Sanitary, Despite Owning Dogs?
To keep germs out of the home, the news outlet recommends taking your shoes off at the door, carrying them to the closet, and then washing your hands. Footwear should be sanitized — inside and out — regularly, as well. But what about dogs? How do we keep them fr0m tracking in fecal matter and all sorts of other microbes into the home?
There are a few different dog paw products to consider:
– PAWtizer: This pet spray also comes in wipe format and uses Benzalkonium chloride (which is used in many hand sanitizers) to quickly prevent transmission of dangerous germs, without over-drying the paws.
– Earth Bath Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Wipes: This grooming product can be used on your pet’s paws or coat to remove dirt, odor, and toxins. They are not specially formulated to kill bacteria, fungus, and microbes, but you can wipe away most of what’s coming in at least.
– Disinfecting Paw Mats: Canines and human guests alike can have their feet disinfected with antimicrobial mats.
– Paw Plunger: Put any type of soap and water into the Paw Plunger for a thorough cleansing at the door.
– Pawz Dog Boots: If your dog will tolerate it, you may try dog boots. Most dogs will kick these off in a fit of joy as soon as they get outside, but you may be able to get your dog used to the idea of wearing them so you can say “goodbye” to filthy paws once and for all.
The Bottom Line On Keeping a Sanitary Home:
The trickiest part of the equation may be teaching your dog to sit and give paw at the door. It’s easier starting with a puppy, but any dog can learn that good, patient behavior leads to delicious treats! Having supplies (along with a good absorbent floor mat) handy at the door and using your body to block the dog’s quick entry into the home can go a long way. You can never get rid of ALL the germs that weasel their way into your home, but at least you can keep the house sanitary enough to make your family comfortable and limit the spread of harmful bacteria. For the people in your home, don’t forget about the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer, which will keep their “paws” free from microbes lurking in the shoes.