House rules: living with dogs

How to ensure mucky paws don’t ruin your pad

So you have your perfect pad in this season’s palette of muted shades of taupe and ochre (just like last season). Your hard surfaces of polished wood and marble are offset by overstuffed velvet sofas, and there’s a nice pale-cream wingback chair for himself. It would all be perfect if it wasn’t for the dark stains of dog clouding the lower walls, and leaving reminders, like little hairy ghosts, on Fido’s favourite spot, which happens to be on your favourite chair. Even the most beautiful of breeds can be a mucky pup.

Bo, the Portuguese water dog owned by the Obamas, is famously non-shed and hypoallergenic, but even the Bos of this world have to be house trained.

Dogs can also mark your paintwork, and shyer types, particularly rescue dogs, like to hug the walls until they get confident. Painting the lower part of your walls in a darker colour is a stylish solve. And all dogs will jump on sofas when you’re not looking.

Own spot

While they do love to stretch out on your seats, dogs are at their happiest when they have their own spot. Check out for luxury dog armchairs and chaises longues from €129.99, or go lower-key with a suede-effect dog cushion by Chanelle Pet from €21.50 from TK Maxx also does a great and eclectic range.


Apart from that, it’s all about the fabrics: velvet and chintz are the least forgiving, but washable slip covers and throws can be your best friends. Washable rugs are also good.

One of the great things about owning a dog is that they get you out for walks. So plan your return on rainy days and keep a towel in the porch or hall to rub your dog down. If you don’t fancy the idea of a dog sitting on your favourite chair, pick up a dog chair to sit on yourself. The Magis Puppy Chair comes in a range of brightly coloured plastics and costs from £49.30 at