Let’s face it, sometimes being a pet parent can be stressful. While it’s always rewarding to care for your dog, having a little extra help never hurt. Whether it’s bathing your dog, keeping them healthy, or learning new tricks, we’re here to help! Here are 10 simple life hacks that will make raising your furry friend that much easier and hopefully help fill your days with more tail wags and less stress.
1. Frozen Pup-sicles
Summer is coming on fast, and on those hot, muggy days it’s important to keep your pup cool. Luckily, there’s an easy way to create homemade pup-sicles that will help your dog to beat the heat while also keeping them entertained and happy. Simply hide a couple nuggets of your dog’s favorite treats in an ice-cube tray filled with chicken broth or water and then freeze for a couple hours. Your dog will love to lick the cold popsicles until they’re melted to reveal the tasty treat inside!
2. Trick Toothbrush
Many dogs don’t like to have their teeth brushed. It’s very important, however, that we keep their teeth clean and healthy. If you have a pup who struggles with this particular task, try rubbing doggy toothpaste on their favorite tug-toy or chew bone and then spend some time playing with them. The toys should scrape against their teeth as they tug or chew and work just like a toothbrush. Plus, most dogs like the taste of the toothpaste and don’t even realize they’re being fooled!
3. Stress Free Tubby Time
Similar to tooth brushing, bath time can be a stressful chore for a lot of dogs. If you have a pup who shakes, whines, or attempts to flee from the tub, try rubbing some peanut butter on the wall of your shower and let them go to town. Most dogs will become distracted trying to lick the sticky stuff off the wall which will allow you enough time to bathe them. Then when you’re done, clean-up is a breeze as most bathroom tiles simply wipe clean!
4. Calming Clothing
Some dogs are overly anxious and struggle with social interactions or new experiences. Lavender has been proven to have a calming effect on most canines as it centers the nervous system and soothes overactive nerves. If you have an anxious pup, trying dabbing some of their everyday accessories like their collar, leash, or a bandana in lavender oil. Then, when you’re out and about, the lavender will always be close to your dog’s nose and will hopefully help to calm them when they come in contact with anxiety triggers. Plus, they’ll always smell nice!
5. Go Fetch!
If you have a high-energy dog and are constantly working to try and tire them out, we recommend a nice game of fetch… but with a twist! To really get a good workout for your dog, trying playing fetch at the top of the hill or incline. That way, when you throw their toy down the hill for them to retrieve, they are forced to climb back up to the top to give it back. It’s an easy but clever way to tire your dog out faster, and they will love the challenge of having to work more muscle. If it’s a bad weather day, you can also use this trick in the house by throwing the ball down some stairs (safely of course!)
6. Protect Those Paws
Cold weather can have a bad effect on your dog’s feet as snow, ice, and salt can build up around their toes and paw pads causing painful sores or split skin. An easy, home remedy to this problem is to rub a generous amount of Vaseline on their paws before heading outside. The Vaseline acts as a barrier against the hazards of cold weather while also trapping moisture inside to soothe the skin. Just make sure to wipe off any remaining jelly once inside so your pup doesn’t slip all over the wood floors or tile. We don’t want Bambi on the ice!
7. A Little Lemon Water
We all know what stinky dog breath smells like… and it’s not good. As bacteria builds up in your dog’s mouth from leftover food particles, body oils and dirt, and whatever else they get their nose into, the microscopic organisms leave waste behind, causing damage and bad breath. However, simply adding a few drops of lemon juice to your dog’s water can help combat the bacteria and stop bad breath. This is because the high acidity in citrus fruits kills most germs while also leaving behind a pleasant scent. It’s a win-win!
8. Slow Feeder Fun
We all love dinner time, but it’s important to make sure that our dogs don’t eat too fast during it. Many eager beavers will scarf down their dinner in a matter of seconds which can upset their stomach and cause vomiting, stomach-aches, or even bloat. To help slow your pup down, try putting a tennis ball or two into their food bowl so that your dog is forced to work around the nuisance to get to their kibble. Alternatively, you can use a muffin tray as a homemade puzzle bowl by sprinkling your dog’s food into all the openings so they’re forced to stop in between bites. Manners are important, and they can also be a lifesaver!
9. Comb with Cornstarch
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to comb out your dog’s matted fur. Most pups don’t like their tangled mats to be touched or fiddled with and if you have a long-haired breed, fingering through all that fur can take a while. However, sprinkling some cornstarch on the mats can be an effective way to help untangle them. Just work a generous amount of the cornstarch into the mat and then let it sit for a couple minutes. The starch from the corn will help to lubricate the mat with natural oils and make it easier to comb out. Your dog will thank you! (Psst… this also works on cats!)
10. Remove Storm Static
Many dogs don’t like thunderstorms, supposedly because of how loud the thunder and rain can be. What many pet parents don’t know, however, is that there could be an additional reason for your pup’s fear— static! During a storm, static electricity builds up in the air and can cling to your dog’s fur, making them uncomfortable and prone to getting zapped. An easy solution to this problem is to gently rub your dog down with a dryer sheet to eliminate the electricity and calm your dog’s nerves. You might be surprised to learn that this is all it takes to ease their fear of thunderstorms!
While not every solution on this list might work for you or your dog, having extra tricks and tips up your sleeve will help to relieve some of the stress and confusion of being a pet parent. After all, it takes a village!