Drowning in Dog Dirt
November 12, 2016 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Small house + "yard" full of dirt + two hairy rambunctious dogs = HELP

This situation has been ongoing for several years but I have reached my breaking point with the dirt/dust/hair/general grossness that is covering our house.

We have two large, awesome beasts, a very small house, and a yard mostly devoid of grass. The back door opens directly into our living space and we have no mudroom, laundry room, or entryway of any kind. On top of that, one of the dogs has long, constantly shedding hair, and the other takes no greater joy than rolling in the dirt (or mud). Between recent dryness and our dogs' rambunctiousness in the backyard, we don't really have much grass, and probably (?) never will. Hence, our floors are covered in a layer of dust, leaf crumbs, hair, and ick. All the time.

Things we have tried:
- Built a deck to try to create a buffer zone between dogs and dirt/mud. Now we just have a dirty, muddy deck.
- Laid grass seed and kept the dogs off of it til it grew. As soon as we let the dogs play again, the grass disappeared.
- Wiping the dogs' paws every time they come in. Doesn't make a difference when its dry dirt, if difficult with 2, and is time consuming because they love to go in and out many times a day.
- Hiring a house cleaner to come once a week. The house is disgusting again within 24 hours.
- Vacuuming. All. The. Time. Our vacuum is gross and we end up having to clean the vacuum way too often, replace the filters, etc.

Things we can't/won't do:
- Get rid of dogs.
- Never let dogs in backyard.
- Bathe dogs every time they go outside.

Things we've considered:
- Covering the yard closest to the house (where the dirt is now) with gravel, mulch, river rock, etc. The dogs would still have some grass, assuming that the existing grass wouldn't get destroyed if that became their only play spot.
- Get a Roomba - just did this, hoping it will help.

Am I missing anything obvious? Will a Roomba really help? Should I just start rolling in the dirt with them?
posted by raspberrE to Pets & Animals (18 answers total)
You could put artificial turf in the yard. I personally think it's horrid, but I know several people with multi-dog households who have given up and installed it. Dogs can still play and pee on it but it can't be killed and dogs stay clean.
posted by HotToddy at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Fake lawn!!
posted by saradarlin at 10:30 AM on November 12, 2016

Fake lawn or paving? BTW I have much love for the MIELE Complete C3 Extreme PowerLine Cylinder Vacuum - expensive but it rules at picking up the beast hairs.
posted by teststrip at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2016

I went through this with my previous dogs and small house. For me, it ended when they died.
It heavily influenced my decision to get a terrier as my next dog. I miss dog bigness though. Just not the same.

I like the fake lawn idea but would worry about it holding the pee and poo smells. If it's a smallish area I would pave it. Easy to clean. Good for keeping nails short. Lasts forever.
posted by cairnoflore at 11:01 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

How often are you bathing and brushing the dogs? That can go a long way towards managing the shedding. Occasional professional grooming might also help.
posted by radioamy at 11:13 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

If they play in dust they will cover themselves in dust and then carry it everywhere. Your best strategy to reduce this would probably be landscaping that reduces the amount of dust they play in. So yes, bark, gravel, rocks. Probably needs to be everywhere to make a difference. Whatever grass patches you have will become the new dust patches otherwise.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:22 AM on November 12, 2016

We have a mud rug positioned by the dog door that makes a surprising difference. It doesn't seem like it would do much but when I shake it out it's clear that it has captured a lot of dirt etc that would otherwise be in the house.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:24 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

A Roomba or other automated vacuum might help in the immediate entry area.
posted by kindall at 11:30 AM on November 12, 2016

Fake grass and pavers is a really good solution, especially if you're walking your dogs in addition to just letting them out in the backyard. I've found 2-3 walks a day with the dogs makes the backyard much nicer. If the backyard is the only place the dogs go, that's not so pleasant for you or the dogs.
posted by belau at 1:16 PM on November 12, 2016

You said you put grass seed down, but what about laying down some sod. It's easy enough to DIY and not too expensive. You'd have an instant lawn.
posted by wherever, whatever at 1:37 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

The local SPCA has fake grass in small outside areas and you can hose it down so there is no smell. Laying sod would be great but I think it might be pricey (though your yard is small so maybe not too bad?)

I have two dogs too and a mostly grassy backyard but with a couple of areas with no grass. I vacuum everyday and just consider it part of having dogs. Not fun - but they're worth it.
posted by mulcahy at 2:14 PM on November 12, 2016

I'm a dog-walker, with 2 (large breed) idiots of my own. I bit the bullet 3 years ago, and bought the dog-safe fake lawn. Beat. Decision. Ever.
It hoses/rains off super easily, and takes a real beating. I've had 10 dogs playing on it. It also extends your outdoor time because you get to skip mud-season!
Mine is laid on packed gravel, for an added filter layer.
My only con is it gets super hot in direct sun. A spray down with a hose fixes that, but otherwise shoes are required.
Maybe see if any places have off-cuts for you to try in situ?
posted by whowearsthepants at 2:38 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Roomba improved our life tremendously with two hairy, rowdy ones. Protip, buy from hammacher schlemmer for lifetime, no questions asked warranty coverage, it is worth the extra 50 bucks or so that you will invariably pay over Amazon.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:10 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

our doge gets a tablespoon of oil (olive or other) once a day and its cut down some of the shedding. feel you though, my next pet will probably be a bat.
posted by speakeasy at 2:27 PM on November 13, 2016

For Roomba, also Costco for their return policy is a decent idea. And then, it sounds like you get this, but you need to run the Roomba daily (at least?).
posted by freezer cake at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2016

I think sod, more regular brushing, and olive oil might be the next tips to try. And Roomba arrived today... here's hoping!

I feel sad at the fact that others also say this influences their choice of future pet. That's kind of how I feel too, and I hate it.
posted by raspberrE at 3:06 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just want to say running Roomba every day has really helped with oug dogs + dirt + fur + cats scenario. I also run a Brava mop. Between the two the floors are so much cleaner and the house feels more livable.
posted by hilaryjade at 4:20 PM on November 14, 2016

For anyone reading this in the future let me say that the Roomba 880 was a literal life changer. We are so, so happy with it, and so much less annoyed at sharing our house with two gross beasts.
posted by raspberrE at 4:07 PM on February 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

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