I’m a big fan of “life hacks.” Quick and simple tips that make life easier are basically the bread and butter of this blog! Over the years I’ve shared 25 clever hacks to make life easier, 25 car hacks, cheat codes for real life, and quite recently, my new “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” series. Since we’ve done a few posts recently that focus on dogs, it occurred to me that we’ve never done a life hacks post about our furry friends! So I set out to gather a collection of simple, usable tips that will help make taking care of your pooch a little bit easier.
Here are 12 of my best life hacks for dogs:
1. Brushing your dog’s teeth is probably an activity that you and your dog equally dread doing, but regular brushing is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. Make it less of a chore by incorporating a fun toy! Look for a rubbery toy with firm nubs or deep grooves (like this one), that will grip and clean teeth. You can also apply a bit of dog toothpaste directly to the toy for added cleaning power.
2. Some dogs are fast eaters, inhaling their food more than chewing and swallowing it. Eating too quickly can cause stomach issues and can easily result in vomiting. Slow your dog down by placing an object in their food bowl as an obstacle. They have to work around the object, forcing them to eat slower. One popular method is to place a small bowl upside down in the center of their food dish, which keeps the food around the outside of the bowl where it’s more difficult to reach.
3. Keep a carabiner on your dog’s leash. You can use it to secure your dog’s leash to a post or tree, or as something to wrap waste bags around, or use it to attach multiple leashes together for walks with multiple dogs.
4. Getting dogs to take medications can be difficult, but pill-pockets make it much easier. Pill-pockets are small dog treats with a hole in the center for pills, and most dogs eat them right up!
5. It’s easy to make your own pill-pockets at home! In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of milk, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Roll the dough out into a long tube, and cut it into 12 pieces. Use a chopstick or skewer to make a hole in one end of each piece. Store in a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to a week.
6. Soap and water can irritate your dogs sensitive ears and eyes. Keep them protected during bath time with a shower cap. If your dog doesn’t like having its eyes covered, just cover them quickly right before rinsing, and use lots of positive reinforcement!
6. Store-bought dog beds are expensive, and many dogs can shred through them, whether because of chewing or just general wear and tear. Instead, why not make an easy and inexpensive pet bed that you can customize to fit your pet? Especially since you can do it in about 15 minutes.
8. You can make an easy braided dog toy at home, too! Take a few old or thrifted t-shirts, and cut them into strips of equal length (you’ll want about 6 of each for a total of 18, give or take a few). Use one of the strips to tie all of the t-shirt strips together about 1-2 inches in from one end. Then braid the three sections together, stopping about 1-2 inches before the end of the strips, and use another t-shirt strip to tie off your braid.
9. You can also save money on pet supplies by making your own dog treats! Your dog will love them, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing exactly what ingredients went into them.
10. If used responsibly, essential oils can incredibly useful for a variety of pet-related matters, like calming your dog or eliminating odors. Get all the details from my post about homemade remedies for pets using essential oils.
11. Even for the most well-behaved, house-trained dog, accidents still happen! Eliminating pet stains and odors on carpet is easy with a little baking soda and vinegar! Get all details from my simple, effective remedy for pet stains on carpet.
12. If you have a furry friend at home, then you are already intimately familiar with the issue of pet hair. It just gets everywhere! Here are my best tips for cleaning up and preventing pet hair messes.