Being a pet parent certainly comes with a lot of perks - a best friend for life, a constant snuggle buddy, and all the unconditional love and affection you can handle. But these perks don’t come without a lot of responsibility, too.
Being a great dog mom or dad takes work, and it’s totally worth it. But, why not make life a little easier (or cleaner, or smelling a little more fresh, or just save a few bucks) with these 8 brilliant life hacks for dogs!
1. Swipe Pesky Pet Hair Off Upholstery with a Rubber Glove!
Anyone who’s tried using a lint roller or handheld vacuum cleaner on that dog hair sticking out of the fibers in your furniture or vehicle upholstery knows it’s a pretty futile act. Instead, put on a simple rubber glove, like the kind used for household chores, dampen the glove with a bit of water so it’s moist but not dripping, and slide it over that furry sofa cushion or car seat. The damp rubber will attract the dog hair and pull it out from between the fibers of your favorite upholstered furniture. Dog hair will simple stick to the rubber glove, where it can be rinsed away and repeated as needed.
2. Lift Pet Hair Out of Carpet Using a Squeegee!
Vacuums designed for pet parents are excellent for keeping carpets fur-free, but they don’t always work on edges and in corners where dog hair tends to collect or on extra plush or deep carpets. Instead, grab an inexpensive squeegee, just like those used for wiping car windows and simply slide it over the carpet. Because the squeegee is small, lightweight, and portable, it’s easy to get into corners and under the edges of furniture where the vacuum can’t reach. Bonus - it’s WAY easier to clean carpeted stairs of stray hairs using a squeegee than it is using a vacuum!
3. Slow Down a Fast Eater with a Ball!
If you’ve got a speedy eater, but don’t want to bother with a slow-feeder bowl, simply drop a ball into your dog’s dish to slow down dinner time. Depending on the size of your dog, a tennis ball is usually adequate (extra large dogs will require a larger ball that won’t become a choking hazard). Having a ball (or large, heavy rock; rubber Kong toy; or other like-sized object) in the bowl will force your dog to slow down as he eats around it. He’ll also have to move the ball around the dish, making mealtime more challenging and mentally stimulating as he learns to problem-solve!
4. The Carabiner - Every Dog Parent’s Must-Have Item
When it comes to life hacks for dogs, a carabiner, the metal clip used by mountain climbers and other safety systems for a firm hold, is an absolute must-have! Keep a carabiner clipped to the handle of your dog’s leash and you’ll find you use it all the time.
Taking your dog for a walk and want to stop and sit for a bit? Loop the leash around a post or park bench, use the carabiner to clip it to itself, and voila! Your dog is safe and secure while you’ve got both hands free.
Live in a multi-dog home? Clip multiple leashes together to walk all of your pups at once.
You can also use a carabiner to clip items like your keys, a collapsible water bowl, or poop bag dispenser to your belt loop for hands-free walking and playing.
5. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth Using Her Favorite Toy!
We all know how important dental health is to the life and vitality of your furriest family. But, not all dogs like having their teeth brushed. Work around this problem by smearing a bit of dog-safe toothpaste, usually flavored like bacon or mint - flavors dogs love, on a favorite rope toy or chew bone. As she gnaws and chews, the toothpaste will get worked between those teeth and on the gums and tongue. Your pup will think she’s getting an extra special treat instead of the toothbrushing that she’s resistant to. You’ll both have reason to smile!
6. They’ll Think Their Medicine is a Treat with these Easy DIY Pill Pockets!
Any pet parent that has to medicate their dogs knows there’s an art to getting the pill down. (We’ve all watched in amazement as our dogs manage to eat an entire bowl of food, leaving just their pill behind in the dish, or seen our silly pooches eat the cheese, sausage, or hot dog we’ve tried disguising a pill in, only to have the food scarfed down and the pill spat out, right?) The trick is using something that not only sticks to the pill and disguises the scent, but also masks the taste and texture. There are plenty of pill pockets, medicine maskers, and pastes that do the trick just fine, but they can be quite costly, especially for parents of pups that require daily doses.
Instead, try making your own pill pockets at home - with ingredients you’ve probably already got in the pantry!
- 1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter (Crunchy seems to work best, as the crunch helps disguise the solid pill stuffed inside)
- 1 Tablespoon Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Flour (any kind of flour will work, as long as it’s a nice, fine, powder)
Mix these 3 ingredients together, roll out into a long snake shape, and cut into 12 segments. Use the end of a clean pen cap or chopstick to create a “pocket” for the pill to be stuffed in.
Store in the refrigerator in a Ziploc baggie and use as needed! (Can also be used intermittently as a treat to keep your smart dog from becoming suspicious.) Double or triple the recipe and keep extras in the freezer.
7. Use a Shower Cap to Protect Eyes and Ears at Bath Time!
A simple shower cap will make bath time easier for you and gentler (and even more adorable!) for your pup. Soap suds and water can be irritating in your dog’s eyes and can lead to painful ear infections if allowed to enter delicate ear canals. To protect your pups eyes and ears at bath time, just top that cute fuzzy head with a shower cap, tuck the ears inside while you’re lathering him up, and pull down over his eyes (for just a second) while you rinse to keep these sensitive areas dry.
Some dogs might not be so keen on wearing a cap, so be sure to offer lots of praise and treats. Your pup will quickly learn that it’s only for a second and that she gets rewarded for wearing it - and you’ll prevent lots of potential pain and discomfort in the long run!
8. Trap Fleas With a Pan of Soapy Water and a Lamp!
You’ve got your dog and your yard protected against fleas, but somehow the little pests are finding their way inside, either by visiting doggy friends or carried in during your walks. So, how do you trap them at home, without dangerous pesticides or harsh chemical repellents? Easy! Fill a shallow pan with dish soapand water, place the pan on the floor (but away from your curious dog’s reach), and shine the lamp onto the pan. Fleas will be attracted to the heat of the lamp, but will fall into the water. The detergents in the soap break the surface tension of the water, preventing the flea from jumping out. Replace the pan and soapy water as needed and continue using until fleas disappear for good.