Protect The Couch From Your Dog In A Few Easy Steps
Bite marks. Scratches. Stains. Stray hairs. Your couch can become a victim to it all when you have a dog at home. Although wear and tear are natural for couches to some degree, you want your couch to look fabulous for as long as possible. Luckily, you’re in the right place! I’m going to give you 15 top ideas for protecting your couch from your dog. Let’s dive in.
15 Easy Ways To Protect Your Couch From Your Dog
Now I will admit before we cover these tips that I have had middling success with some and great success with others. So to make this article easier to read, I have labelled each tip with how easy it is, how costly it is and how effective it is so you can choose the combination of tips that work for you!
1. Don’t let your dog on the couch
Let’s start with the obvious – does your dog need to have their paws on your couch? Having your dog on your couch is a personal choice that not everyone agrees with.
Some dogs become quite entitled and bossy when you let them on the couch. I’ve seen it happen though it is rare! It’s more of a case of teaching your dog good couch etiquette.
“For example, any dog that growls or snaps at you when you try to sit down should be removed from the furniture. If your dog refuses to move when you approach, he should be removed. Also, if your dog "hogs" the bed or sofa, as many dogs seem to do, he should be taught to move over and make room for you.” - Jenna Stregowski, The Spruce Pets (1)
So think about whether you want your pooch to be on the couch at all. It will certainly save your couch from a lot of damage if your dog isn’t allowed to sit there at all.
2. Invest in durable couch materials
Did you know there are fabrics out there that are scratch-proof? Well.. as scratch-proof as fabric can be. If you choose a couch made with leather (faux or real), microfibre or velvet, you’re less likely to see the damage caused by Fido’s paws.
That said, these types of couches tend to come at a premium. So this is one of the easiest but most expensive tips on this list. And still, there’s no guarantee that your couch won’t bear some visible damage over time.
For my money? I would invest in a leather couch because at least leather looks cooler the more worn it is.
3. Use throws and blankets
A way we protect our couch in my house is by using throws and blankets on the areas our dog likes to sit. This works because it adds to the beauty of the couch instead of taking away from it. You can also adapt the size and weight of the blanket for different seasons. Because who said that protection needs to be ugly?
The con is that blankets and throws can move easily. Your dog may even have the habit of taking them off the couch – either accidentally or purposefully – which defeats the purpose.
So this may not be the most effective tip on the list, but it’s cheap and easy to do. Double wins in my book.
4. Keep your dog’s nails clipped
If your couch is getting more scratches than normal, it could be a sign that your dog’s nails are snagging on the fabric. It’s time to whip out the dog clippers or nail grinder to smoothen out those edges.
This tip is tricky to rate in terms of difficulty. Some people struggle hugely to clip or grind their dog’s nails effectively. I completely understand that. Some, however, find it easy and their dogs behave well when they clip their nails.
The cost also varies depending on the tools you use. Clippers are far cheaper than nail grinders, but grinders are easier.
It comes down to this. Trimming your dog’s nails in whatever fashion suits you will make a difference to your furniture. You’ll notice fewer scratches and snags. So what this tip lacks in ease, it makes up for in effectiveness.
5. Apply a protective cover over your couch
If you’re really concerned about the future of your couch, a protective cover is the way to go. These durable couch covers can envelop your couch from all kinds of harm. That includes spills, stains, fur and scratches.
It’s important to find a cover that fits your couch perfectly so that it’s still comfortable to sit on while providing the protection you’re after.
The con? Personal taste but I find most couch covers to be quite ugly. Given the investment that a good couch is, you’ve probably bought it as a focal point in your living room. The effect is ruined when you cover the couch beyond recognition.
That being said, if you find a couch cover you love or you don’t mind the interior design aspect at all, this is the most effective way to protect your couch from your dog.
6. Get your dog their own couch (AKA a nice dog bed)
Did you wince when I suggested getting your dog a couch? Some people do! We have two couches in our living room so it would be easy to designate one for our dog. But that negates the fact that our dogs tend to be on the couch to be closer to us. You can’t banish them from one of the couches without banishing yourself from it too.
So next best thing – get your dog their own dog bed that is inviting and comfy. Orthopedic dog beds are luxurious and have a similar feel to a couch. Make it even more appealing with blankets and a prime spot in the room where your dog can still feel connected to everyone in the room.
Best of all, dog beds are never a waste of investment. It’s great to have more than one dog bed for different rooms so that your pup can lounge wherever you are.
7. Curb destructive chewing with chew toys
What if your dog is chewing everything, including your couch? It’s time to curb that habit with some gentle training techniques.
We recommend vocal correction and redirection as effective ways to stop your dog from chewing the couch.
“If you offer wonderful chews and prevent inappropriate chewing, in no time your dog will learn what they can and cannot chew. Add some positive reinforcement to the mix and you will really convince your dog that the appropriate chews are the best option. When they choose the right item, be sure to praise and reward them to increase the chance they will make that same choice in the future.” - Stephanie Gibeault, American Kennel Club (2)
Have some chew toys close to where your dog likes to gnaw on the sofa. You can quickly redirect them and save your precious furniture from harm.
8. Exercise your dog so they are calmer inside
Does your dog tend to do the most damage when they are hyperactive? More scratches have happened on my couch in that daily crazy half hour than at any other time. How do you curb your dog’s enthusiasm? Exercise dear reader!
Related: The Best Dog Chew Toys Australia.
Exercise is the cure for many of your dog’s ills including boredom and lack of mental stimulation. If your dog is sufficiently exercised, they are less likely to have issues with hyperactivity and destructive chewing. Best of all, it’s free!
9. Groom your pup often
We spoke about nails but this time, I’m talking about fur. Does your pooch leave an appealing spray of their hair all over your couch whenever they walk away? You can help lessen the shedding by brushing your dog’s fur often. By brushing, you remove the dead hair from your dog directly so it doesn’t end up in a ball on your couch.
If you have the funds, you can also invest in a professional dog grooming service once a month. However, I’ll caution that if your dog is a heavy shedder, they’ll need a daily or bi-weekly brush anyway to lessen the spread of hair on your furniture.
10. Use lint rollers
If your pooch is already shedding all over the place, lint rollers are your best friend. I feel that every person who adopts a dog should be gifted a lint roller as part of their canine starter pack. It’s one of the most essential tools you can have as a dog owner.
If you don’t have any lint rollers at home and the fur is starting to annoy you, masking tape also works well, but it does take longer.
Note: use masking tape and not duct tape. Duck tape will leave a sticky residue on your couch.
11. Try fabric fresheners
Let’s say it’s the signature doggy smell that is stressing your senses. It’s seeped into the fabric of your couch and you’re embarrassed to invite guests over. Enter fabric fresheners.
There are plenty of fabric fresheners fit for the hard task of refreshing your couch post dog adoption.
If you can’t find a specific fabric freshener that you like or want to save your pennies, there are some home remedies that work well for lifting dog smell out of your furniture. Baking soda is a staple. You can also use a heavy sprinkle of dry laundry detergent to lift smells from your couch.
12. Choose a couch with removable seats
A great tip if your couch has already taken a beating is to replace the seats! Sometimes you don’t even have to replace the whole seat pads. Flipping them over once a year will prevent any damage from accumulating on any one side.
If your couch doesn’t have replaceable seats, you can also reupholster it to maintain its good looks. However, this will likely cost you some money.
13. Only allow your dog in the living room when supervised
If your dog is a chewer, this one is for you! Many dogs do their naughtiest deeds when their owners are out of sight. So to protect your couch from the gnashing of unruly teeth, keep your living room off limits to your dog when you are out of the house or otherwise occupied. This is easy if you have a door to your living room. If you have an open-plan space, try dog gates or playpens.
14. Spray your couch with a citrus scent
Keeping your dog off your couch completely can be tough. You can use gentle training techniques. You can also reinforce the habit by making the couch unappealing.
How do you make your comfy, warm, snuggly couch unappealing to your dog? Smell! Try spritzing your couch with a smell your dog doesn’t like. Citrus is a scent that most canines avoid. Give it a try if you enjoy the fresh scent yourself.
15. Invest in a dog-proof couch
Finally, let’s talk about the mysterious dog-proof couch. We discussed fabrics that can make your couch more durable, but I’m talking about the big guns here.
They are called weather-proof couches. These are hailed as the best types of couches for homes with children and pets. Weatherproof couches have a “bring the outside in” vibe to them but if that fits your aesthetic, it’s a great way of maintaining style and protecting your furniture.
One caveat is that no couch is truly chew-proof. So you’ll need to train your dog not to chew your couch regardless of the material it’s made out of. That said, this is one of the most effective ways of preventing any wear and tear from your dog if you feel like switching up your interior design!
Final Thoughts: Can You Protect Your Couch From Your Dog?
Absolutely! I hope this article has helped you discover new ways of protecting your couch from your dog. Remember, prevention is always the best medicine, so use training techniques to improve your dog’s treatment of your furniture, whether that be stopping destructive chewing or steering them away from sitting on the couch altogether.
Let us know in the comments your tips for protecting your furniture from your dog.
This is a contentious topic! Some say yes and some say no. Having your dog sit on the couch with you – or not – is a personal choice. Regardless of what you choose, you should always have clear boundaries in place that everyone in the household is aware of. Think about these factors:
Is your dog allowed to be on the couch when you aren’t in the room?
Is your dog allowed to be on the couch when you aren’t in the house?
Is your dog allowed on the couch when guests are present?
Is your dog allowed to sleep on the couch?
What vocal or hand signal will you teach your dog so they know when they can and can’t be on the couch?
Answer these questions with what you feel comfortable doing and share the new rules with your household members.
- Stregowski, J. February 23, 2022. “Should Dogs Be Allowed on Furniture?”. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved January 30, 2023. https://www.thesprucepets.com/allowing-dog-on-the-furniture-1118283
- Gibeault, S. July 29, 2020. “Why Does My Dog Chew My Furniture and Baseboards?”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved January 30, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/why-does-my-dog-chew-my-furniture-and-baseboards/