Sure, taking care of a dog is awesome, most of the time! But sometimes, all the grooming, feeding, and walking can feel like having another job. It can be a lot to handle, unless you’ve got some helpful tricks up your sleeve. If you learn these important tips, you’ll be a pro at handling messes, fixing scratches, understanding what food is best for your dog, and basically everything about being a great dog parent. These tips will make life a whole lot easier for any dog mom or dad!
How to Finally Get Rid of Urine Stains Once and for All
Okay, when you’re training a puppy or if your older dog has an accident, it can make a mess. But here’s a simple fix to clean up and stop your house from smelling like pee. Baking soda is like magic for cleaning, especially if you have a dog. First, use a paper towel to soak up as much pee as you can. Then, sprinkle about a quarter cup of baking soda evenly over the wet spot. The baking soda will soak up the stain and smell, making things fresh again.
If you can, leave the baking soda on the stain overnight, then use a vacuum or brush to remove it the next day. This method is most effective on new stains, but it could also help with older, dried stains.
Storing Kibble in an Open Bag Might Make Your Dog Sick
Lots of folks keep their dog’s food in the bag it comes in, but those bags might not close up well. That can cause problems like bugs getting in or the food going bad if it gets wet. But there’s a simple way to keep your pup’s food safe: Once you open the bag, just put the rest of the food in a clean, dry plastic container that you can seal shut. Easy fix to keep your dog’s tummy happy!
You might think it’s another thing you have to buy for your pet, but you can find a good container for under $20 online. You might even snag one for less if you check out a pet store.
Hide Your Dog’s Medicine in Strong-Smelling Food
You’d think this tip is super obvious (like the first thing you learn in Dog Care 101), but lots of dog owners either don’t realize it or just forget when it’s time for their dog’s medicine. Mixing medicine with food is great, especially if the food has a strong smell and taste, like wet food. It hides the medicine taste, so your pup won’t even notice it while eating.
Regrettably, not every medicine can be mixed with food. Before giving it a go, make sure to check with your dog’s vet to be sure that your pup’s medicine can be safely mixed with a meal.
How to Trick Your Dog Into Liking Toothpaste
The mouth is a bacteria hotspot, so we brush our teeth a bunch to keep it clean. Dogs need dental care too, but sometimes they don’t like the taste of new toothpaste. Here’s a trick: put a bit of the toothpaste on their favorite toys a few times before brushing their teeth. That way, they’ll get used to the taste without it feeling weird when you use it on their teeth.
Stick to toothpaste made for pets. If your dog swallows regular human toothpaste, it can be bad for them. But pet toothpaste is safe for them, even if they swallow it.
Your Dog Would Love This DIY Dig Pit
Digging is just part of a dog’s nature. Wild dogs used to dig holes for shelter or to hide their stuff. It might be hard to stop your pup from digging up your yard, but you can help by giving them a special spot to dig. Pick an area in your yard, border it with bricks or wood, and fill it with loose dirt or sand so your dog can dig there instead.
Let your dog know the digging area is theirs by regularly placing their toys there. Over time, your pup will understand that’s the spot for digging, keeping the rest of your yard safe from their digging adventures.
How to Towel-Test for Fleas
Dogs scratch themselves sometimes, but if your pup keeps scratching a lot for a few days, they might have fleas. Fleas are super tiny and hard to see, especially if your dog has a thick or dark fur. If that’s the case, make your dog lay on a white towel while you brush their fur. Any fleas that fall off will be easier to see on the white towel.
Keep an eye on your dog’s fur regularly because the sooner you find fleas, the better. If fleas stick around unchecked, they can make your furry buddy really sick. The longer they hang around without notice, the tougher it gets for vets to fix things up.
Rubber Gloves Are the Ultimate Fur-Collecting Hack
If your dog left hair all over and your slipcover’s in the wash, and you’re out of dryer sheets, here’s a neat trick. Put on rubber kitchen gloves and rub them over the rug, sofa, or your clothes. It’s like sweeping up the hair into one spot. The static from the gloves helps gather the hair, making clean-up easy!
Consider having a pair of rubber gloves specifically for cleaning up your dog’s hair. Keep them separate from the ones you use in the kitchen. After each clean-up, wash the gloves and keep them handy for the next time your dog’s hair piles up.
How to Remove Drool Stains With Basic Cleaning Products
When your dog leaves drool marks on your furniture, you can clean it up easily without fancy stuff. Mix a quarter cup of white vinegar with a cup of cold water in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of dish soap and a teaspoon of baking soda. Mix it all up and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray it on the drool spots on things you can wash. Easy-peasy!
Once you’ve sprayed the solution, leave it on for around 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can use a white cloth to apply the solution directly to the stained area by rubbing it in.
Muffin Trays for Endless Entertainment
Dogs are easily entertained, so you don’t always need fancy toys from the store. Use things you already have at home to keep them busy. For instance, grab a muffin tray and fill the holes with tennis balls or small stuff. Put it on the floor, and your dog will have a blast taking things out and putting them back in.
Don’t forget to wash the muffin tray really well after playtime. You might want to bake muffins in it someday, and you definitely don’t want them to taste like dog toys!
Your Dog Would Love This DIY Toy
A flirt pole is like a long stick with a toy tied to it—a must-have for dog owners. It lets your dog chase after the toy, which taps into their hunting instincts. It’s awesome for exercising your pup, especially in a small area. You can easily make one at home too! Get a four-foot PVC pipe and put a long piece of thin rope through it. Tie a tough knot at the end of the rope sticking out. Easy peasy!
Attach a basic dog toy, such as braided clothes you’re not using, to the end of the rope, and there you go! You’ve made a cheap flirt pole for your dog to chase until they’re all tuckered out.
Homemade Doggy Ice Pops Are the Best Summer Treat
Just like we enjoy cold treats in summer, dogs love icy snacks too! You can make them at home easily. Blend dog-friendly fruits like bananas and strawberries with water. Pour the mix into popsicle molds and freeze for 30 minutes. Take them out and pop in a dog biscuit as the stick. Put them back in the freezer for around six hours until they’re totally frozen. Then, let your pup enjoy their icy treat!
Greek yogurt is really good for dogs’ tummies, so to boost the nutritional value of your ice pops, swap some of the water with a tablespoon (for small dogs) or two tablespoons (for bigger dogs) of Greek yogurt.
What to Do if Your Dog Gets Stung by a Bee
Dogs are curious and love playing outside, but sometimes they might accidentally meet a bee while having fun. If your dog gets stung, first, use tweezers to take out the stinger. Then, make a paste with baking soda and water and put it on the sting. It helps calm down the bee sting, making it hurt less and reducing swelling.
Make sure to keep an eye on your dog after a sting. If the swelling keeps getting worse or if they were stung around the head, mouth, or nose and have trouble breathing, it’s time to get them to the vet.
Diversify Your Dog’s Diet With Fruits and Veggies
Dogs, like us, eat both plants and meat and like trying different foods. Give them a healthy treat once in a while! Frozen apple slices are full of vitamins and fiber, perfect for a cool summer snack. Dogs might also enjoy a bit of banana or cucumber. These snacks are great for pups trying to watch their weight because they’re low-calorie.
Certain human foods are safe and good for dogs, but not everything, especially some fruits and veggies. Always ask your vet before giving your dog new fruits or veggies they haven’t tried before.
Invest in a Good Slipcover
Some dogs shed tons of hair (cue the groans from Alaskan malamute owners). But pretty much all dogs drop some hair, and your couch can get covered in it real quick. Get a slipcover for your sofa—it’s the perfect fix! And it’s easy to clean: when it’s covered in dog hair (which can happen fast), just take it off, shake it outside, or toss it in the washing machine if it needs a wash.
Of course, getting a slipcover for your sofa is way easier and cheaper than, well, getting a new dog just because of shedding. But hey, I’m just kidding!
Make Your Own Dog Bed
Creating a dog bed yourself is super simple and saves money too. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to try sewing, this is a great way to start. Grab a cozy old sweater you don’t use anymore and stuff it with affordable wadding or cotton filling from a craft store. After stuffing it, sew up the neck and sleeves to keep everything inside. Easy peasy!
Not only are these DIY dog beds budget-friendly, but they’re also eco-friendly since they give new life to old clothes you might toss out. It’s a win-win situation!
Prevent Clogged Drains
Giving your dog a bath is important, but keeping your pipes hair-free matters too. Here’s a trick: cover your tub’s drain with a baby wipe, then put the stopper over it. Fill the tub with water for your pup’s bath. When you’re done, pull out the stopper while holding down the wipe. The water goes through the wipe, catching most of the dog hair. Easy way to keep the pipes clean!
Remember, if your dog is extra hairy, you might need to remove the hair from the wipe once or twice while the water is draining.
Ease Into Brushing Teeth
Lots of dogs don’t like getting their teeth brushed, especially at first. But apart from helping them get used to toothpaste, there are other things you can do before the brushing begins. Begin by softly massaging your dog’s cheeks (not near the gums) to help them relax. Instead of jumping straight to a toothbrush, use some medical gauze around your finger to gently clean their gums and teeth.
After doing this a few times, your dog will get used to having their mouth touched, and then you can move on to the next step: brushing their teeth using a toothbrush made for dogs and dog toothpaste.
Fix Some Quick Stew
Dogs enjoy yummy food too, just like us! Even though your pup might already like their dry food, try adding some warm water before giving it to them. The water makes the food thicker and more satisfying for your pet. Plus, the warmth brings out the yummy smells, turning a regular meal into a fancy feast for your furry friend!
Keep in mind to offer this treat occasionally because dry food helps keep a dog’s teeth healthy. Also, don’t let the mix of warm water and food sit out too long because it could go bad.
Turn a Grocery Bag Into a Walking Sling
As dogs get older or if they have certain conditions, their back legs might get wobbly, making walking tricky. Just like people use canes for support, there are simple tools to help dogs move around too. You can create a walking sling to lift some weight off their hind legs. Cut the sides of a cloth grocery bag and wrap it under your dog’s stomach to help them move more comfortably.
While walking, you can hold onto the handles of the grocery bag or sling to help support your dog’s weight.
Play With Homemade Bubbles
Dogs have a blast chasing bubbles, just like kids! No need to spend cash on a fancy bubble maker. Grab a plastic cup and poke a hole in the bottom with scissors. Stick a plastic straw through the hole. Mix three cups of water with half a cup of dish soap in a bowl to make the bubble mix. Dip the cup’s mouth in the solution, then blow through the straw to make bubbles. It’s bubble fun on a budget!
For families with kids and a dog, this activity is a winner! Kids can make the bubble maker and blow bubbles, while the dog has a blast chasing them. Just keep an eye on your pup so they don’t gobble up the bubbles. The soap in them might upset their tummy and cause diarrhea.
Rock the Right Bandana
Putting a bandana on your dog isn’t just about style—it’s a safety boost too! A bright or reflective bandana makes your dog easier to spot at night, especially for drivers. It also helps you keep an eye on your pup in a busy dog park.
To help your dog stay cool during hot walks, wet the bandana with cold water before placing it around their neck.
Reuse the Kids Pool
If you’ve got older kids, chances are there’s an inflatable kiddie pool sitting unused in your garage. Why not clean it up, fill it with water, and give your dog a surprise new pool? When summer hits, your pup might really enjoy cooling off in their own pool, especially if they have long fur and struggle in the heat.
This trick is extra helpful if you live far from lakes or rivers where your dog can splash around. Bring a little piece of a lake to your backyard!
Try Out Dog Puzzles
Sometimes, as a dog owner, you can’t always play with your pup. That’s where dog puzzles come in! They’re like games where treats are hidden under covers. Your dog has to figure out how to uncover them using their paws, nose, or teeth. They come in easy or hard versions, and they’re awesome for giving your dog a workout for both their body and brain.
Instead of getting a puzzle toy, you can make treat time exciting by hiding snacks around your house or yard. Your dog will enjoy sniffing around to find their favorite treats!
Gather Hair With a Squeegee
If you don’t have a vacuum or it’s not working, try a squeegee! You know, that thing with a flat rubber blade used for cleaning windows or showers. Clean it up and let it dry for a bit, then use it to gather up your dog’s hair into clumps. Easy peasy hair cleanup!
After using the squeegee to gather the hair into piles, grab some gloves and pick up the clumps to throw them away. No need for a vacuum!
DIY Dog Manicure
Long nails on dogs can cause discomfort when they walk and might get accidentally ripped off while playing, which can lead to costly vet visits. But don’t worry, giving your dog a nail trim, like a doggy manicure, isn’t too hard. Most dog owners can do it at home with patience. Doing it yourself saves money in the long run. A nail grinder kit costs $25-$60, but getting a groomer to do it can be $15-$20 each time.
Starting to trim your dog’s nails when they’re young makes it easier for them to get used to relaxing during a manicure. As they grow older, they’ll become so used to it that they won’t fidget much during the process.
Be on the Watch for Ticks
Dogs who hang outside a lot can easily get ticks, which can cause joint issues and other health problems. To check for ticks, run your hands all over your dog, feeling for bumps, especially in the coat, ears, toes, face, and neck. If you find a tick, wear gloves, disinfect tweezers, and carefully remove it. Drop the tick in rubbing alcohol and clean your dog’s skin where it was attached.
It might seem strange, but it’s smart to keep the tick for a few days if your dog shows signs like difficulty moving, unusual tiredness, or loss of appetite. Then, you can take the tick to the vet to check if it might have transmitted any diseases to your dog.
Use Popcorn to Teach the Game of Fetch
Playing catch and fetch might not come naturally to every dog. Some need a bit of training, and your dog might not get it right away. To teach your dog to run after things you throw, start with something it loves, like popcorn. Then, you can move on to balls and other toys for your dog to catch and bring back to you.
Ensure the popcorn you toss for your dog is plain without butter, seasoning, or sugar. Those additions aren’t healthy for dogs to eat.
Elevate Food and Water Bowls
Putting your dog’s food bowl up a bit instead of leaving it on the ground has some perks. It can be easier for your dog to eat without straining their neck or legs, which is super helpful for bigger or older dogs that might find it hard to move around. Also, raised bowls that are steady can stop your dog from making a mess by pushing the bowl all over the floor while they eat.
You have two choices: you can either buy a raised feeding bowl stand made for this purpose, or you can lift your bowls by using boxes you don’t use.
Make Your Own Dog Hair Remover
You might not expect it, but duct tape can help clean up after your dog. If your dog’s hair gets everywhere, use duct tape! Stick it on a rolling pin or wrap it around your hands, sticky side out. Then, roll it over your furniture to pick up all that pesky hair.
Instead of spending on lint rollers, why not use things you already have to tackle dog hair easily? Try using dryer sheets, rubber gloves, and slipcovers alongside other household items to make cleaning up your dog’s hair super simple every time.
Repurpose Old Clothes Into Dog Toys
Don’t toss out your old shirts or sweaters if you have a dog! You can turn them into awesome dog toys. Just cut them into long strips, braid them together, and tie the ends in knots. It’s like making ropes or toys from the store, but it’s better for the environment and just as fun for your pup!
If you love sewing, you might think about making toys from old clothes by stuffing them with cotton and sewing them shut. But when your dog tears these toys apart, it can create a big mess.