Over the years I’ve learned a lot about dogs. Some stuff was learned by reading & research, while other stuff was learned the the hard way – through trial & error.
After cleaning up puke way too many times to count you start to understand what works and what doesn’t. And when you have a dog that wants to pull your arm it’s socket on walks you do everything in your power to learn how to keep them from pulling on leash.
Here’s the little tricks that have worked for us, they’re my favorites tips on training, cleaning, exercise & grooming; 59 simple dog care tips that all dog owners should know.
Dog Care Tips: Housekeeping & Cleaning
1. Use Covers to Keep Your Furniture Clean
Do you allow your pets on the furniture? I do so I know how hard it is to keep them clean. You can keep your furniture clean & fur free by using covers or sheets, and when it’s time to clean (or if you’re having company over) just throw those covers in the wash & you’re good to go.
2. Dryer Sheets Are Awesome at Picking up Dog Hair
Use dryer sheets to pick up loose dog hair on fabric – they work like magic.
3. Use Rubber Gloves to Pick up Stray Hairs
Use a damp rubber glove to pick up stray hairs on upholstered furniture.
4. Use Baking Soda to Clean up Urine
If your dog pees on the carpet you can use baking soda, which is great at removing odors as well, to clean it up. Pour some baking soda over the spot, let it sit for 20 minutes and then vacuum it up.
5. Use a Window Squegee to Clean Up Fur From Carpet
A window squegee can be used to pick up fur in your carpet & on your furniture.
6. Cover Up Scratch Marks on Furniture with a Walnut
Do you have a few scratch marks on your wooden furniture? You can cover them up by rubbing a walnut over them.
7. Use a Magic Eraser to Get Rid of Drool Marks
Does your drool a lot? Say goodbye to scrubbing off those drool marks – get yourself some magic erasers.
8. Make Your Own DIY Dog Friendly Carpet Deodorizer
If you don’t have any special products on hand don’t worry – you can make your own simple dog friendly carpet deodorizer with items you’ve got around the house.
9. Stop Dog Hair From Clogging the Drain With a Baby Wipe
When you bathe your dog does their hair clog up your drain? Use a baby wipe to help stop the dog hair from clogging it up.
10. Make Your Own Pet Bed Out of a Sweatshirt
Want a simple comfy place for your dog to chill out? Make this super cool dog bed out of a sweatshirt & pillow.
11. Use a Roll of Packing Tape to Pick Up Loose Pet Fur
Do your clothes pick up dog hair like crazy? If you don’t have a lint roller use some packing tape to pick loose fur off of your clothes.
12. Create a Barrier to Keep Your Dog Out of the Litterbox
Does your dog go straight for the littler box? He’s not alone, lots of dogs are attracted to kitty litter. Keep your dog from getting into the litter by elevating the box or creating a simple barrier so they can’t get in.
Dog Care Tips: Play Time & Exercise
13. Make a Simple Puzzle Toy With a Muffin Tin
Looking for a simple way to keep your dogs mind busy? Create a simple puzzle toy with a muffin tin, treats and a few tennis balls. And if you’re looking some more boredom busters check out 26 simple ways to relieve dog boredom.
14. Teach Your Dog to Chase Bubbles for Easy Fun
Does your dog like to chase stuff? Take advantage of that natural instinct and teach your dog to chase bubbles for some easy playtime & exercise.
15. Stuff a Kong With Treats to Keep Them Busy
Stuff a Kong with some yummy treats to keep your dog occupied, and for a tougher challenge you can freeze them in there. You don’t need fancy dog treats or stuffing either – here’s 39 food & treats I like to Stuff in Kongs
16. Make a Tug Toy From Old Clothes
Does your dog love to play tug? Braid one of your old t-shirts into tug toys rather than throwing them out.
17. Teach Your Dog to “Find the Treats” for a Fun Game
Teach your dog to ‘find their treats’ by hiding them throughout the house. Simple nose work games are a great way to keep your dog busy & mentally stimulated. It’s Laika’s favorite indoor game by far. (Looking for some more indoor games? Here’s 33 simple ways to keep your dog busy indoors)
18. Make Your Own DIY Flirt Pole
Make a flirt pole for dogs that love to chase and/or have a strong prey drive. Just remember to take it easy with this exercise since it’s pretty high impact and can be tough on a dog’s joints.
19. Make a Re-Stuffable Dog Toy
Does your dog go bonkers with stuffed toys? If your dog likes to rip stuffed animals apart you can make a re-stuffable dog toy.
20. Buy a Kiddie Pool For Your Pup
Does your dog enjoy the water? Keep your dog cool in the summer by using a plastic kiddie pool out in the yard.
21. Make Your Dog Their Own Digging Box
If your dog loves to dig keep you can keep your garden safe by teaching them to use their own digging box
22. Play a Nice Interactive Game of Tug
A 5 minute game of tug works wonders for tiring out your dog & letting him get rid of some of that pent up energy. (and no – it won’t make your dog aggressive despite the old myth)
23. Make Some Simple Frozen Treats
Freeze some broth or treats in ice trays to give your dog a nice little treat on those hot summer days.
24. Alternate Their Toys to Keep Their Interest
Just like us dogs get bored with new stuff after awhile, and this includes their toys. Keep their interest by alternating their access to them. Once your dog hasn’t seen their blue ball in a month they’ll have a brand new appreciation for it the next time it makes an appearance.
Dog Care Tips: Health, Food & Grooming
25. Check for Fleas By Giving Your Dog the White Towel Test
Do you think your dog has flees? Have them lay on a white towel while you examine & brush their fur. The sheet makes it easy to see any loose flea dirt that falls from your dog.
26. Learn How to Make DIY Pill Pockets with Peanut Butter, Milk & Flour
If you’re having a hard time getting your dog to swallow pills you can make your own DIY pill pocket.
27. Remove Ticks From Your Dog With a Pair of Tweezers
Don’t have a tick remover on hand? You can carefully remove ticks from your dog with a pair of fine tipped tweezers. Grab the tick by it’s mouth area (the part closest to your dogs skin) and pull firmly until it’s removed. Place the tick in a jar of alcohol to kill it, and be sure to wear gloves when dealing with ticks since they can transmit diseases to pets & people.
28. Soften Up Dry Food With Warm Water
Does your dog have a hard time eating his kibble? If your dog has sensitive teeth you can soften up their dry dog food by adding in some warm water.
29. Keep Dry Dog Food Fresh in a Sealed Container
Dog food can start to loose it’s freshness after it’s open. If you buy bags of dog food use anairtight sealed container to store it, the food will stay fresh for much longer inside a tightly sealed container.
30. Learn How to Make Some Simple Dog Treats
Don’t have any dog treats on hand? You can make your own simple & healthy dog treats. Here’s 21 dog treat recipes you can make, all with 5 ingredients or less.
31. Add Brushing Your Dogs Teeth into Their Grooming Routine
Get in the habit of brushing your dogs teeth daily to avoid expensive dental visits later. You can pick up some enzymatic doggie tooth paste at your local pet store.
32. Use Dog Toothpaste on a Rope Toy
If your dog doesn’t like having his teeth brushed squeeze some doggie tooth paste onto a rope toy & let him have at it.
33. Make a DIY Dog Sling for Added Support
If your dog needs some extra support getting up & around you can make your own dog slingto help.
34. Get an Easy Urine Sample with a Ladle & Containers
If you need to collect a urine sample check out this awesome $2 solution (a ladle & small containers) that makes it easy.
35. Get Rid of Skunk Smell with Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda
Did your dog get skunked? You can get rid of that nasty skunk smell from your dog using some soap, peroxide & baking soda.
36. Use a Food Dispensing Toy for Fast Eaters
If your dog eats too fast use a food dispensing toy (we love the Kong Wobbler), or place a few tennis balls in their bowl to slow their eating.
37. Make Your Own DIY Refillable Water Bowl
Are you filling up your dog water bowl multiple times a day? Create your own DIY refillable water bottle bowl.
38. Protect Your Dogs Paws in the Winter with Vaseline
If you don’t have any paw balm, and if your dog doesn’t like wearing boots, you can use some Vaseline to help protect your dogs paws in the winter.
39. Make Your Own Elevated Food Bowl
You can make your own elevated pet food bowl with an $8 table from Ikea. Elevated food bowls can make eating easier on dogs with arthritis.
40. If Your Dog Gets Stung by a Bee Remove the Stinger with a Credit Card
When you try to pick out a stinger from your dog you risk leaving part of it in the skin. Remove stingers by scraping them with a straight edge – like the side of a credit card.
41. Use Flour, Baking Soda or Cornstarch to Stop Your Dogs Nail From Bleeding
Did you cut your dogs nail too short? Use a homemade mixture of flour, baking soda or cornstarch with water until it’s a thick paste then apply it to the nail for a few minutes.
Dog Care Tips: Dog Training
42. Use a Front Clip Harness to Prevent Pulling on Leash
If your dog pulls on his leash get a harness that clips in the front, the ones that clip on the back promote more pulling. And when you’re working on leash manners ditch the retractable leash for a regular 6 foot one so your dog can get the feeling of what loose leash walking means.
43. Make Yourself the Funnest Thing in the World for a Reliable Recall
When training your dog to “come here” make sure you’re giving out a lot of praise & treats. The goal is to make coming back to you the best decision they could have made, if not your dog is likely going to decide that whatever he was chasing/sniffing is more interesting.
44. Use Fruits & Veggies for Training Treats
45. Treat Every Poop Like a Miracle aka How to Easily Potty Train a Puppy
When potty training your dog make sure to pay attention & praise them every single time they do their duty outdoors. If you treat every pee & poop outdoors like it’s the best thing that ever happened they’ll catch on pretty quick.
46. Make Training More Fun by Switching Up The Rewards
Instead of just giving praise for a new trick add some yummy treats or a game of tug as the reward. By changing the rules & rewards you’re keeping training sessions more fun & exciting for both you & your dog.
47. Teach Your Dog to Catch Using Popcorn
If your dog doesn’t know how to catch don’t start by throwing a toy at their face. Popcorn works great for training dogs to catch because it’s light & yummy which makes it enticing enough for your dog to try and catch it.
48. Use a Clicker to Reward Good Behaviors
Having trouble being consistent with giving out praise at the right time? Start clicker trainingto make marking their good behaviors much easier.
Dog Care Tips: Safety & Hazards
49. Use a Bright Colored Bandana On Your Dog During Hunting Season
Make sure both you & your dog stick out if you’re going to be out walking during hunting season. You can wear bright colors (orange is preferred), and you can help keep your dog safe by having them wear a bright orange bandana.
50. Teach Children to Ask Permission Before Petting a Strange Dog
There are 4.5 million dog bites in America each year, half of which happen to children. Make sure to teach your children to ask permission before petting any strange dogs.
51. Get Your Dog Microchipped For a Permanent Identifier
A scan of your dogs microchip will give all of your personal information to help with a speedy reunion, just remember to update your information with the microchip company if you move. (microchips are also one of the ways a court can make a decision regarding ownership of a dog, if it ever came to that)
52. A Wagging Tail Does Not Always Equal a Happy Dog
Don’t approach a strange dog just because it’s wagging it’s tail. Tail wagging isn’t always the universal sign of happiness – it can also indicate fear or insecurity. Be sure to teach your children about the basics of dog bite prevention.
53. Don’t Let Your Dog Ride in the Back of Your Truck Unrestrained
An estimated 100,000 dogs die each year from riding in pickup beds each year, and that doesn’t take into account all of the injuries seen each year. Dogs in pickup beds are also at risk of being hit with debris that can cause injuries.
54. Keep Household Toxins (Including the Garbage) Out of Reach
While it may seem obvious to keep your cleaning products tucked away safely one of the biggest threats to a dogs health in your home is the garbage. If your dog gets into the garbageyou can use some baby proof locks to seal it, or put it away in the closet or garage while you’re gone.
55. For Safety Keep Your Dog Restrained in the Car
I know that dogs love sticking their head out car windows – but it’s a dangerous habit. They’re at risk for being hit with debris, damaging their ears & there’s always the risk that they’ll see something & jump out.
56. Create Your Own Pet First Aid Kit
You never know when an accident might happen so it’s recommended to have a first aid kit on hand just in case. Here’s a great list of basic items a kit should have.
57. Keep Your Gum & Candy Stored Away
Many gums & candies include xylitol which is a sugar substitute that’s highly toxic to dogs. The effects of xylitol if ingested by your dog can be life threatening.
58. Watch Out For Your Dogs Feet in the Summer
Hot pavement can burn your dogs paws rather quickly. On really hot days consider walking your dog in the woods, on the grass, or waiting til the sun goes down.
59. Keep an Eye On Your Dog Around Water (Especially Pools)
Not all dogs are great swimmers, and when it comes to pools they can be very dangerous for a dog. Keep an eye on your dog if they’re out in the yard by the pool and make sure your dog knows where the steps in & out of the pool are.
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