I have always loved animals. When I turned 16, I volunteered to work for a vet clinic as a kennel girl. My job was to walk the dogs and clean the kennels. Occasionally the technicians would ask me to help restrain patients with toe nail trims and blood draws too. Eventually I was trained to be a technician myself and then with a lot of hard work and determination I climbed my way up to the positions of head technician and, simultaneously, the office manager. Over those 10+ years I worked in the veterinary field I learned quite a bit about dogs. Not just medical information but tricks and tips on how to make life easier with your four-legged family members! Here are 35 Life hacks that are perfect for anyone who has a dog in their life:
1. Keep a carabiner attached to your dog’s leash to easily tie him up when needed.
2. Taking your dog for a jog but have no pockets for your keys? Have your dog carry them for you by clipping them onto the leash.
3. If you are hosting a party, or just like to drink a lot of beer, put a can opener on your dog’s collar so your dog can bring it to you whenever he is called!
4. I really don’t think this is a hack, but it is interesting nonetheless. Personally, I like cats just as much as I like dogs which is why I have two of each!
5. If you have a dog that tends to scarf down his food then put a ball in the dish so he has to eat around it. A rock works just as well, if not better since it’s harder for fido to remove from the bowl.
6. Wear a rubber glove that has been dampened with water to remove dog hair from furniture!
7. Use a pitcher to make feeding time a breeze! (works best for smaller dogs)
8. When using a retractable leash (which I don’t recommend because you have virtually zero control) attach a collar to the handle to allow you to free up your hands by slipping your arm through the collar to hold the leash with your elbow. You might use this technique if you were checking your mail while walking your dog.
9. If your dog is a runner and takes off, don’t chase him/her because odds are they’ll just run faster. Instead lie down and act like your hurt. Your dog’s curiosity will bring him back to check on you which will allow you to catch him much faster.
10. It’s always a good idea to know what to do in emergency situations! I recommend reading up on this at least once a month.
11. Have a dog with endless energy? Play fetch but make him run uphill to return the ball to tire him out much quicker!
12. Turn a drawer into a designated feeding station. This will not only help prevent your dog from spilling the food dishes, but it also helps to elevate the food bowls (highly recommended for large breed dogs especially if deep-chested) and it allows for easy cleanup if guest come over.
13. An old pair of jeans can be turned into a great dog rope toy!
14. Use a squeegee to collect hair from carpet.
15. Dogs will almost always warn you that they might bite. Learn to read body language so you can give them space and prevent a bite
16. For your convenience, store your dog’s food in a kitchen cupboard!
17. Pill pockets are great for getting dogs to easily take treats! Make your own with this easy recipe!
18. Keep your dog cool and busy on a hot day by freezing toys and treats into a block of ice! Dogs are less destructive when they are entertained!
19. Diluting dog shampoo is a great way to make it last, a little goes a long way! Remember to always use shampoo specifically made for a dog because human shampoo has a different pH balance and can burn your dog’s skin!
20. Use baking soda and vinegar with a little dawn dish soap to remove pet urine stains and smells from your carpet!
21. People don’t realize that dog’s can’t eat everything we eat so make sure you are familiar with what you should or should not feed your dog! Also NEVER give your dog Advil or Tylenol, which is also deadly to dogs.
22. If your dog fights you too hard to brush his teeth then you can put some doggy toothpaste on a rope toy and he will do the work for you! (of course it’s easier to prevent plaque buildup than it is to remove it so you might have to get your dog’s teeth cleaned at the vet first and then maintain a clean mouth after they have been professionally cleaned)
23. Instead of spending money on stuffing specifically made for kong, use peanut butter instead. You can also freeze the kong after filling it so it can entertain your dog even longer.
24. If your dog has bad breath put some fresh parsley in their food!
25. Chicken broth is great for dogs who won’t drink. Also, if your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea feeding bland food like boiled chicken and rice, may help the symptoms, although that is not an alternative to seeking veterinary care.
26. If you lose your dog while camping the best way to get him back is to leave a t-shirt that smells like you in the area you lost him, along with some food and water. Chances are good that your dog will be waiting for you the next morning at that spot.
27. People think they have more control of their dog if they are wearing a harness but the truth is harnesses encourage your dog to pull ensuring that you have very little control over your dog and they are also quite easy for your dog to slip out of. For the best control and to easily train your dog not to pull on the leash use a slip lead when walking your dog, and make sure it is high on the neck.
28. If your dog is wearing an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) because of a recent surgery you can help your dog learn to keep his head up while walking by putting the leash on from inside the collar. That way the leash can help keep the collar from dragging on the ground while your dog grows accustomed to the e-collar.
29. Lots of people say they can’t cut their dog’s nails because they are black. Well, it’s just as easy to clip black nails as it is white because you don’t look for the quick from the side of the nail, but from the underside. As long as the nail looks dry you can keep clipping, but once the center looks fleshy you don’t want to clip more because that is the quick. The more you trim the shorter you can get the nails by working the quick back! And if you do accidentally nick one, simply stop the bleeding with quick stop- I’ve never seen a dog die from a bleeding toe nail (assuming you don’t have a Doberman with Von Willebrand Disease)! Practice makes perfect!
30. Crate training is one of the easiest ways to potty train a puppy. The crate needs to be small enough so that your puppy can’t simply pick a corner and go anyway. Most dogs won’t potty where they sleep! Just make sure you take him outside frequently and reward him for going where he is supposed to go and when you aren’t watching him or when you leave the house put him in the crate! Plus if you have a barking dog you can put him in the crate and cover it with a blanket, much like birds most dogs quiet down when covered!
31. Not all dogs are friendly towards other dogs or humans. If you see a yellow ribbon tied on the leash it is a warning to you (and your children) to give the dog space because he might bite.
32. Puppies are cute but they sure do have sharp needle like puppy teeth! Never let your puppy bite while playing because it makes it harder to teach them not to bite. To teach your puppy not to bite, simply roll their lip over their teeth so they bite themselves when they bite down. Your puppy will quickly learn that biting hurts!
33. Putting your dog’s ID tag on their collar can kill your fingernails and be nearly impossible! But you can make it easy with the use of the jaws of life (aka a staple remover).
34. Dog beds can be super expensive, especially if you have a big dog. use a crib mattress with a fitted crib sheet cover instead! This also allows you to easily wash the cover as well!
35. Dogs don’t generally have a choice on where or when they go for walks. It is up to us as their owners to watch out for their well-being. Always test the temperature of the road before making you dog walk on it. I have seen too many dogs with blisters and their pads burnt off because of such a mindless mistake.
Dogs can bring such incredible joy and happiness into our lives. Anytime we can make dog ownership easier it’s worth learning. If you don’t have a dog, but would like to put some of these life hacks to work in your life, then I would highly recommend adopting a new family member from your local shelter today!