21 Genius Life Hacks for Dog Owners
Living with a dog doesn’t have to be so hard. There are lots of creative ways to solve your everyday dog challenges. Try out these 21 genius dog hacks and tell us what you think!
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1. Use fruit and vegetable bags as poop bags
As much as I try to be eco-friendly with my grocery shopping – I bring my own canvas bags! I buy organic! – there’s still the issue of fruits and veggies. If my CSA is on a break, or I need eight tomatoes for my latest recipe score, then I find myself face to face with plastic produce bags.
You know the ones I’m talking about. The plastic bags you pull and tear to set free and fill with some delicious fruit or vegetable.
The bags are a bit flimsy and don’t have handles, so they’re not great garbage bags. But save them, and be sure not to rip them when you’re removing your precious produce, because they can definitely be reused.
Keep them at home to use as poop bags!
If you’re nervous about getting poop on your fingers, just double bag it to scoop your poop. Problem solved.
2. Use a top entry litter box to stop your dog from eating poop nuggets
Boogie thinks the best thing about having a cat sibling is getting to snack on little cat turds. He used to love digging through the litter box to find Kitty’s Hershey’s kisses. Gross. This was a problem!
I tried to elevate the litter box, but that just meant there’d be litter sprinkled all over the floor after use. So instead, I raced to the litter box on the heals of my cat to scoop poop before Boogie got to it. Not exactly a practical solution.
Enter, the top entry litter box.
It makes it impossible for my small dog to snack on cat treats, aka poop nuggets. It also prevents litter scatter and contains bad smells, so your house doesn’t stink.
This is the one we use. If you’re on a budget, check out this one.
3. Make your own dog games
Play time and exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. You can entertain your dog easily at home.
- Freeze toys, bones or chicken broth into a cake mold for your dog to lick. It’ll keep them entertained and hydrated!
- Hide treats around the house for your dog to find.
- Use a sock and an empty water bottle to make a crinkle toy.
- Make a puzzle toy using a muffin tin, treats and a few tennis balls – put a treat in each tin and place a tennis ball on top.
4. Create your own dog first aid kit
Every dog household needs a dog first aid kit to use in case of emergency.
While there are plenty for sale online, save money and make your own with a few things around the house.
Grab a container (a ziplock, drawstring bag or Tupperware works) and throw in the following:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic ointment
- Rubber Gloves
- Wet or Grooming Wipes
It’s perfect for hikes, trips to the dog park or while traveling.
5. Play fetch downhill to tire your dog out
Slopes aren’t just for sledding. This is a great way to tire a high energy dog out. Find a hill and sit at the top. Then play fetch! All of the back and forth, uphill and downhill, will tire your dog out in no time.
6. Make icy treats to cool down in the summer
Frozen treats are a great way to help your dog cool down in the summer time.
- DIY Frozen 3 Ingredient Dog Treats – with Video!
- Super Simple Pumpkin Spice Dog Treats
- Banana Yogurt Homemade Dog Treats (pictured above)
If you don’t have the time to do a whole recipe, grab some dog treats or kibble and freeze them in ice cube trays with water or broth.
7. Use peanut butter or a hanging bag to trim nails
If you’re unable to hit up a groomer (hello, social distancing!) you’ll have to take matters into your own hands and clip your dog’s nails at home.
Cutting your dog’s nails can be tricky, especially if they’re not fans of having their paws touched.
One popular method is to distract your dog. Get a dog lick pad and smear it with peanut butter. Stick it to the wall and clip your pup’s toenails while they’re busy chowing down.
Make sure the peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol – it’s poisonous to dogs!
You can get your own dog lick pad here.
If distraction doesn’t work, try the hanging method.
Your pup will be restrained and stabilized while you clip away.
If your dog is small enough, try the grooming cat bag.
Get the cat bag or the dog lift.
If you’re on a budget and your dog is small enough, make one at home using a sturdy plastic bag from a department store.
8. For pesky wanderers, use an escape prevention dog harness
Escape prevention harnesses will keep escape artist pups from slipping through gates and fence cracks. They’re great for smaller breeds. Get one here.
If you don’t want to spend any money, make your own. Fasten a wooden spoon on to the top of your dog’s harness to construct your own escape prevention harness.
9. Put a cup of water in the cup holder for no spills during car rides
Car rides are fun, but remember to stay hydrated! Let your dog enjoy their water by keeping a cup for them in the cup holder. They can lick away and you won’t have to worry about spills.
10. Keep a binder with all important pet documents
Preparing for our travels or vet visits comes easy thanks to our pet binder. We keep all important pet documents, from pet insurance information to vaccination records, in a special binder that we’ve designated for our pets. Staying organized and keeping the paperwork together means we’re never left scrambling to find anything.
11. Get your dog their own colored towel
Designate a towel for your pup so you don’t have to use your own nice towels after a bath or when coming in from the rain.
Boogie and Marcelo each have their own special towels that we use for them. They’re brightly colored, so they’re easy to spot and grab in a pinch.
This way you’ll never mix up the dog’s towel with your own, and wipe your face with the smell of wet dog. Woof.
12. Use dog socks for better grip
Non-carpeted floors can be slippery and hard to walk on, especially for senior pups. Help them keep their balance and avoid slipping and sliding across the floor by wearing socks. Dog socks come in all colors and sizes. They’re both practical and fashionable.
13. Keep a magic lint remover in your home and car
Say goodbye to lint rollers! These cheap, bright red magic sticks pick up fur, as well as lint, fuzz, dust and dandruff, with just a swipe.
Got fur on your clothes? Use a magic stick!
Does your pug have a favorite spot on the couch? Use a magic stick!
Is your pug sleeping on your pillow? Use a magic stick!
Keep one in every room of your house, plus the car.
14. Train your dog to ring a bell when they want to go out
If you’re potty training your dog, teaching them to notify you when they have to pee or poo is super convenient. This simple trick can help eliminate accidents and messy clean ups.
Dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds can master the potty bell in a few weeks of consistent training. Hang the bell from the door handle and make sure it’s eye level with your pup.
If you live in an apartment, you can still use this hack. We’ve trained Boogie to notify us when he has to go out, and it’s certainly helped when he’s had an upset stomach. No Hershey squirts indoors!
15. Get a water fountain for fresh water
Since cats love running water, we purchased Kitty a water fountain. It kept water flowing 24/7 and only had to be refilled every few days.
Low and behold, the water fountain ended up being a hit, not just with our cat, but with our two small dogs too. It’s a great way to keep fresh water on hand, and keep everyone hydrated. Plus, they’re affordable and they come with a filter.
Check out this one or this one.
16. Add a bit of parsley to dog food for fresh breath
Besides being a bomb ass garnish, parsley is a natural breath freshener for dogs! Add a pinch to your dog’s food (one teaspoon per 20 pounds of bodyweight).
Besides helping with bad breath, parsley is full of vitamins and minerals that can help with immunity, vision, and kidney health. It can also help sooth upset stomach and digestive problems.
So instead of throwing out the parsley in your refrigerator that’s about to go bad, throw some in your dog’s dish.
17. Get your dog a heated pad for cold weather
Cold weather can be tough on old and achey bones. Warm your pup up with their own heated pad. The heat is comforting for dogs that are sick, puppies, elderly or those recuperating from an injury. It’s a great way for them to stay warm and cozy when there are no sun beams available!
18. Walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid dangerous heat
Summer time is the best! But if it’s too hot, it can be a bummer for your dog. Walking in the heat can cause heat stroke and/or hurt their pads.
Make sure your dog gets in their exercise and has time in the fresh air while avoiding the sun’s harmful rays. Go out in the early morning, before the sun has fully risen, or later in the evening or at night, when the sun has set. The concrete won’t be as hot, and it’ll be easier for them to get in a good walk and breathe.
Here are more tips on how to keep your dog cool in the summer.
19. Hide treats around the house for easy entertainment
Do you have an important Zoom meeting coming up?
Do you need to some quiet to concentrate?
Is there a book you’ve been dying to read?
Keep your dog occupied by hiding a few treats around the house. They’ll spend their time sniffing for treasure while you handle your biz. The scent work is a great game for pups and a nice break for you.
20. Brush your dog outdoors
Brushing your dog regularly, no matter the breed, is important. It helps remove dead hair, dirt and dandruff and brings out the natural oils in their fur.
Plus, the more hair you can get off of your dog with a brush, the less hair will be floating around the house, on the furniture and all over your clothes. But getting that hair off can be messy! Fur flies everywhere and it’s tough to clean up.
The easy fix for this is to brush your dog outdoors. It makes for easy clean up, and you won’t care about those fly away bits of fur. They’ll end up landing somewhere outside instead of clinging to your couch.
Click here to learn how to deal with a shedding dog.
21. Feed your dog people food
Most people get their food at the supermarket, and get their dog’s food at the pet store. Different species, separate food. But the truth is, food is food. In terms of nutrition dogs need the same things us humans need: a balanced diet, enough nutrients and good quality food. You’re not going to find that in a bag of kibble.
Reading most homemade dog food blogs might scare you, but it’s so worth it to invest time into researching your dog’s diet. A healthy diet means fewer trips to the vet, a longer life, and a healthier dog. What’s not to love about that?
What dog hacks do you swear by? We’d love to hear in the comments!
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