Brilliant life hacks and essential tips for dog owners

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog around water

Owning a dog is one of the most fun things a person can do, whether it is for a family or a single person. That being said, owning a dog also comes with some challenges that a new owner may or may not expect. Luckily, there are a lot of great life hacks that can help you get the very most out of owning a lovable pooch.

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog around water

A lot of dogs love to splash and swim in pools, lakes or the ocean, but even if your dog is a super experienced swimmer it is really important to keep an eye on them at all times. Dogs are not as great at asking for help as people, primarily because they can’t speak! In order to make sure they’re staying safe and having fun while splashing around, either be with them in the water or be close by should they need your help.

Make sure to keep an eye on your dog around water

Have a first-aid kit specifically for your pooch

Just like it is a smart idea to have a first-aid kit for the human members of your family, it is also really smart to have a kit for your dog as well. Important materials to have include a lot of gauze, non-stick bandages, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic spray or ointment, a digital thermometer, scissors, tweezers, a magnifying glass, and reserves of any prescription medication in case their medicine become unavailable for a certain amount of time due to a natural disaster or other unforeseen occurrence.

Have a first-aid kit specifically for your pooch

Make sure household toxins are out of reach at all times

A horrible thing that can happen to a dog and their family is the dog getting into cleaning supplies or other household toxins that they absolutely should not eat or drink. This almost always will necessitate a visit to the vet’s office and could lead to some very serious health concerns. The best way to avoid anything like this happening is to make sure the household toxins are always put away and out of reach.

Make sure household toxins are out of reach at all times

Get your dog microchipped ASAP

Getting your dog microchipped will give you and your family the very best possible chance of finding him or her should they ever accidentally get out or slip out of their leash and run away. Getting a dog chipped will only cost you around $45 and will automatically enter them into the pet recovery database. The percentage of both cats and dogs that are chipped being returned to their owners is much higher than those that are not chipped.

Get your dog microchipped ASAP

Get your dog on health insurance when they are young

Dog health insurance is exactly like human health insurance. It allows owners to pay a monthly premium in order to have coverage should any major health scares come up. The reason why it is so important to have your dog insured as young as possible is because it will allow you to get locked in to a much cheaper premium compared to getting a senior dog insured that already has had some health related issues in the past.

Get your dog on health insurance when they are young

A wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog

This is counter-intuitive for many, which makes it all the more important for dog owners to know. While walking your dog, you may feel compelled to allow your dog to meet and sniff every other dog you pass. That being said, even if another dog is wagging its tail, you should always ask their owner if it is friendly. A wagging tail does not necessarily mean friendly; in fact, a wag that is higher and faster than normal can actually be a sign of aggression.

A wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog

Make training fun and more impactful by switching up treats

You should of course start training your dog at a very early age to make sure that they are getting as much training as possible. In order to make the most out of that training time and get the most out of your dog, make sure to switch up treats day-to-day to get them really excited and engaged. This will not only make the training more fun for everyone involved, it will also maximize the learning opportunity to get an even better-trained pooch.

Make training fun and more impactful by switching up treats

Make sure to train your dog for reliable recall

One of the very best ways to ensure that your dog is an all-star when it comes to obedience is to work on reliable recall early and often. One of the best ways to get the results you desire is to play a game with your dog and another member in your family. What you do is have two people in two different rooms, both have treats. All you do is call your dog’s name and give them a little treat whenever they come to you as asked.

Make sure to train your dog for reliable recall

Use an elevated food bowl

Making sure you use an elevated food bowl is a great way to reduce splashing of food and water and protect your floor from scratching and damage. An elevated food bowl is also thought to improve a dog’s posture while eating and also is thought to reduce the risk of stomach issues and bloat for a dog while eating. While this is not scientifically proven, it is certainly a respected belief held amongst many health and dog professionals.

Use an elevated food bowl

Protect your dog’s paws in the winter

Protecting your dog’s paws from the cold of winter and sharp ice is really important. We often think of our dog’s paws as natural shoes, but they simply are not as sturdy as shoes are. One great way to protect your dog’s paws during the winter is to cover them in vaseline to protect them from freezing temps. Using booties is also a great way to protect your dog’s paws if you want to take them on a winter run where they may be stepping on ice.

Protect your dog’s paws in the winter

Protect your dog’s paws in the summer

Just like it is very important to protect your dog’s paws in the winter, it is also very important to protect them during the summer. Whenever it gets really hot out, the temperature of blacktop and concrete can reach well over 100 degrees. That is not only painful for your dog, but can be downright dangerous and lead to burning and blistering. The basic rule is that if the ground is too hot to keep the back of your hand on the street, find somewhere shaded or grassy to walk your dog.

Protect your dog’s paws in the summer

Use food dispensing toys to keep them busy while you’re away

If you are leaving your dog home alone while you go to work or for a long night out, a great way to keep them relaxed, engaged and happy is to get a toy that dispenses foods or treats the longer they play with it. An easy trick is to take a toy that holds treats and make a mixture of peanut butter and treats and toss in the freezer overnight. This will ensure that it lasts for quite a long time as your pooch licks away.

Use food dispensing toys to keep them busy while you’re away

Get rid of skunk spray with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

Sadly, a lot of dogs that love to play outside will ultimately get sprayed by a skunk. That musty and horrible smell that a lot of people are familiar with can make it practically impossible to let your dog come inside and be cozy. Luckily, mixing soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda as a wash will get rid of the nasty smell in a jiff. This will allow you to get back to cuddling as quickly as possible.

Get rid of skunk spray with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

Put toothpaste on your dog’s favorite chew toy

Brushing your dog’s teeth is really important to make sure they are healthy and have good breath. Only problem is, it’s pretty hard to get your dog to actually allow you to brush his or her teeth. One great way to avoid the trouble of brushing their teeth while getting all the benefits of it is to simply cover a chew rope toy with toothpaste and have them gnaw and chew it off. One message of warning, have them do this outside or on tiled floors for easy and stain-free cleanup.

Put toothpaste on your dog’s favorite chew toy

Soften up food with warmer water

If your dog is getting up there in years, it might start to get hard for them to chomp down and chew on the kibble that they know and love. One great way to keep your dog on the same food and keep it easy to eat despite more sensitive teeth is to add a quarter or half of a cup of warm water to their bowl. This will soften down the food and make it easier for your dog to eat and enjoy.

Soften up food with warmer water

Check for fleas with the easy wet paper towel trick

If your dog is showing some of the signs of having fleas, one great way to find out for sure whether or not they have those pesky pests hopping around and biting them is to take a comb and gather what could be normal dirt or flea eggs. To make sure that they are in fact flea eggs, dampen a paper towel and pour the dirt on it. Wait a few moments, and if it starts to bleed out red, you’ll know for sure that your dog has fleas.

Check for fleas with the easy wet paper towel trick

Alternate toys to keep them interested and save money

It can get pretty expensive to keep buying your dog new toys to keep them excited and engaged. That being said, buying new toy after new toy can get pretty expensive. One great way to avoid having to head to the pet store every other week is to rotate toys and hide ones for a week or two before bringing them back out. This will get your dog really excited about them as if they are new, even though they have played with them before.

Alternate toys to keep them interested and save money

Play tug with your dog when they ask you

There was once a highly believed notion that playing a game of tug of war with your dog will encourage and increase their aggression towards people and other dogs. This is highly untrue, as tug of war is a simple game that many dogs play with each other and themselves in order to expel energy and strengthen their teeth and jaws. It is also a great bonding experience for you and your dog, as they see you as someone who is always up for play and fun.

Play tug with your dog when they ask you

Use old clothes to make a great, braided tug toy

On the topic of saving money on dog toys, one great way to get extra use out of old clothes is to cut them into strips and braid them all together to make a sturdy toy for your pooch. Not only will this toy smell of you, making your dog love it even more than he or she probably already would, it also will be made of pretty high quality fabric that is likely to stand up even better to the wear and tear that your dog puts it under.

Use old clothes to make a great, braided tug toy

Put large rocks in an eating bowl to slow down fast eaters

One very unhealthy thing that some dogs do is scarf down their food like there is no tomorrow. One good way to keep them from doing this is to place a couple fairly large stones in their bowl. They should be large enough that they will not try to mouth or swallow them. These blocks will make it so that your dog has to use his or her tongue to get the food as opposed to taking large bites. This will slow down their eating and improve their health.

Put large rocks in an eating bowl to slow down fast eaters

Create a barrier to keep them out of the litter box

It’s really fun to be the owner of both cats and dogs, but one thing to keep in mind is that one thing dogs are known to do is get into the cat’s litter box. It is not only super nasty to think about the dog licking you after chowing down on some of your cat’s litter, but it is also potentially very unhealthy for your dog. In order to ensure that your dog is not getting into your cat’s litter, make sure to create a barrier that the dog cannot break through.

Create a barrier to keep them out of the litter box

Use old clothes to make a DIY dog bed

Another great use of old clothes that you are no longer wearing is to sew them together and stuff them with bedding to create a great DIY dog bed. The reason why this is such a great thing is because it is proven that the smell of a dog’s owner physically calms the dog and relieves anxiety. This means that even when you have to leave your dog at home, they will have a piece of you to enjoy until your return.

Use old clothes to make a DIY dog bed

Use a magic eraser to get rid of ugly drool marks

It is a nuisance when your dog gets too excited and drools all over your new pants or a favorite shirt. One great way to get rid of drool marks is to rub the drooled-on area with a magic eraser. A magic eraser can be used on clothes, but is especially useful if you have drool marks on floors, appliances, or other similar things around the house. It definitely pays to have one around the house for when the drool monster attacks.

Use a magic eraser to get rid of ugly drool marks

Use a window squeegee to pick up dog fur off of furniture

One of the few bad things about owning a dog is that you are going to have to deal with shedding. That means having fur basically everywhere all around your home. This can be a major nuisance when it comes to clothes getting covered in fur and is even worse when it comes to furniture. One great way to get rid of fur off of furniture is to use a window squeegee. The rubber will wipe it right up.

Use a window squeegee to pick up dog fur off of furniture

Use baking soda to clean up pet urine

A dog urinating on your carpet or floor can easily become a more than one-time problem. That’s because once a dog pees in an area, the smell that is left from that incident can ultimately alert them to use that place as a bathroom in the future. This can turn into a pretty gross and unwelcome cycle. A great way to clean the area and lift the scent for good is to pour baking soda on it. Simply let the urine soak into the soda and then vacuum up in about 25 minutes.

Use baking soda to clean up pet urine

Make sure to restrain your dog when you put them in the car

Taking your dog on car trips is a fun and great way to explore the great outdoors together. That being said, it is not a good idea to let your dog roam free in the car. Think about it, just like everyone else in your car is using a seat belt to stay as safe as possible, so too should every dog in the car. There are special restraints for dogs to keep them safe and comfortable for every time they join you on the open road.

Make sure to restrain your dog when you put them in the car

Socialize your dog early in life

Having a dog that cannot play with other dogs is a drag. First off, it means you have to train them extra well during walks. In order to avoid a dog that is scared of aggressive dogs later in life, make sure to socialize them with other dogs at an early age. The best way to do this is to have a friend or family member with a dog leave their older dog over for playdates with your younger pup.

Socialize your dog early in life

Allow your dog to lead the way on longer walks

One of the best parts of owning a dog is getting to go on long and peaceful walks with your dog. That being said, it is sometimes easy to forget who the walk is actually for. A dog walk should not simply be treated as a way for your dog to go to the bathroom, but also a way for them to get active and stay engaged. Often, letting dogs lead the way by smell or interest is a great way to get the most out of a dog walk.

Allow your dog to lead the way on longer walks

Find a food they like and stick to it

As your dog grows into adulthood, it is important that you find a brand and style of food that your dog likes. It is also important that you stick to that food. The reasons are quite simple. Dog’s stomachs are far less versatile than ours, and a quick change in protein or other food can lead to upset stomachs, diarrhea, or even more serious health issues. If you are unclear on how to set up a healthy diet for your dog, consult your vet.

Find a food they like and stick to it

Make a simple and healthy cake to celebrate birthdays

It is fun and super cute to celebrate birthdays or adoptiversaries with your dog. The only problem is, dog cakes can be pretty darn expensive. A great way to avoid the high prices of a made-to-order dog cake, while also giving your pooch a hearty celebration, is to make your own. Simply mix shredded apple, peanut butter, an egg and some flour, and bake it. Then cover it in a delicious plain greek yogurt frosting for the full effect.

Make a simple and healthy cake to celebrate birthdays

When getting a second dog, make sure to introduce them before you adopt

For a lot of people, one dog is great and two dogs are even better. That being said, if you are thinking about getting a second dog, make sure that you are able to introduce the two dogs in some location prior to bringing that second dog home with you. Chances are good they will get on like gangbusters from the moment they meet, but it is important that you take this extra step to be as careful as possible.

When getting a second dog, make sure to introduce them before you adopt

Crate train your dog at a young age

Dogs that are not crate trained at a young age will always be very stressed if you have to put them in a crate to either transport them or keep them from getting into trouble when you leave for a trip. A great way to avoid this type of anxiety is to crate train a dog. This means setting up a crate and having them sleep in it from a young age. In fact, many crates come with a moveable wall so that the crate itself can grow with the dog.

Crate train your dog at a young age

Know how to identify a potential fight before it happens

Taking your dog to a dog park is a super fun way for them to meet other dogs and for you to meet other owners in your town or city. That being said, all the activity and excitement caused by dogs barking and running around can lead to fights breaking out. Before you take your dog to a dog park, make sure to do some research on the tell-tale signs of a potential fight. Of course, once at the park, make sure to keep a careful eye on your pooch.

Know how to identify a potential fight before it happens

Use easy techniques to make your dog love baths

Some dogs just love to get down and dirty in mud, freshly mowed grass, or anything else they might find while exploring the great outdoors. Unfortunately, a lot of dogs are scared of the bath and do not like getting washed off after getting dirty. A great way to train them to love baths is to give them treats early and often while bathing them as puppies. Another good way is just by slathering a wall of your bath with peanut butter to keep them busy while you shampoo and rinse them.

Use easy techniques to make your dog love baths

Use bright colored bandanas for your dog, especially during hunting season

If you live in a part of the country or world that has a lot of hunters in it, be sure to keep your dog safe throughout every hunting season by trying a brightly colored bandana around their neck whenever you are taking your dog on a walk through the woods or some kind of hike. While the chances that a hunter mistakes your dog for a deer or some other game is quite rare, there is no reason to take any unnecessary risks.

Use bright colored bandanas for your dog, especially during hunting season

Teach your dog to catch by starting out with popcorn

One of the coolest tricks a dog can show off at the park is an ability to catch balls or frisbees right out of the air with ease. That being said, don’t expect your dog to be able to catch big and fast things like a ball or a frisbee from day one. Instead, start them out with smaller things to catch at a closer distance. One great treat to train them with is unsalted and unbuttered popcorn.

Teach your dog to catch by starting out with popcorn

Treat every puppy potty like a very big deal

When you are potty training your puppy, the best way to ensure that they start to figure out the deal early on is to treat every single successful potty trip like a very big deal. Of course, you will want to congratulate them every time they make a potty outside, but you will also want to bring out treats to give them as well. That being said, if mistakes are made inside, negative reinforcement is proven not to work with dogs no matter the age or breed.

Treat every puppy potty like a very big deal

Use a front clip harness to reduce pulling

No matter how well-trained your dog is, he or she might have a habit of pulling quite hard at certain times during a walk outside. That’s especially true if they see a squirrel, another dog, or something else interesting on the street or sidewalk. While some owners try to use choke collars to keep dogs from barking, those can be unsafe and unhealthy for the dog. Instead, getting a front clip harness is the best and most effective way to reduce pulling.

Use a front clip harness to reduce pulling

Use flour, baking soda or cornstarch to stop bleeding fingernails

Cutting a dog’s nails can be a really difficult and downright scary task when it comes to trying to groom your dog at home. The reason for this is because dogs actually have fairly big veins that pump blood right up to the edge of their nail. That means that if you cut too closely, you can nick the vein and cause quite a bit of bleeding for your dog. Luckily, a good way to help your dog heal and reduce bleeding is to plug the wound with flour, baking soda or cornstarch.

Use flour, baking soda or cornstarch to stop bleeding fingernails

Feed them boiled chicken and rice for an upset stomach

Dogs’ stomachs can get upset pretty quickly and it can be a pretty scary thing if your dog continues to throw up with no clear reason why. The same can be said for diarrhea. Obviously, if vomiting or diarrhea continue for over a day or two, you will want to contact your vet. That being said, if you think it might just be an upset stomach, switching out their normal diet for plain cooked rice and boiled chicken breast is a great way to help them get over their illness.

Feed them boiled chicken and rice for an upset stomach

Research plants that are potentially toxic before bringing new plants into your home

A great way to fill out your home or apartment with more life and good energy is to get a few different plants. That being said, if you own a dog, it is a really good idea to make sure that you are buying plants that are not going to make them sick should they ever get curious and take a bite. It’s really simple to do: either do some research to find animal-safe plants, or talk to someone at your local nursery.

Research plants that are potentially toxic before bringing new plants into your home

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