Life with your dog can be crazy, but it's always worth it.
If you're a dog person, you can't imagine your home without the sound of paws running down the hall or the soft snores your dog lets slip whenever you lay down to cuddle. You're used to eating dog hair with every meal, and long walks are a part of your daily routine.
But between meal times, exercising, training, and everything else life throws at you, having a dog can get complicated, expensive, and time consuming. You need more time to simply enjoy your dog's company, and these eight life hacks are your answer.
Life Hacks for Dog Owners
1. Muffin Tin Feeding
Meal time ranks high on your dog's list of favorite things to do. But in their excitement, some dogs (especially puppies) eat their food too fast. If your dog eats too quickly, he could choke or end up throwing it all up when he's done.
Puzzle bowls are designed to force fast eaters to slow down, but they can be pricey. Try spreading your dog's food out in a muffin tin for a cheaper alternative.
2. Baby Powder Perfume
Some dogs are simply stinky -- It doesn't matter how often you bathe them or if they spend most of their time indoors. Giving baths more than once a month can dry out your dog's coat, but you still need to stop the stink in between baths.
Baby powder is safe for dogs and will leave your pooch smelling fresh and clean! Baby powder contains a few different components, including talcum powder, cornstarch and arrowroot. If you're opting for a quick solution to bath time, using a talc-free baby powder (as well as one that's non-scented) will leave your dog smelling new baby clean. Simply rub a handful or two into your dog's fur, let it sit for a few minutes, and then brush it out.
Be careful not to let your dog lick the affected area, as ingesting too much is not a good idea. In addition, be careful not to overuse this home remedy. Too much baby powder will dry your dog's skin and lead to unwanted itchy skin.
3. Children's Clothes to Stop the Licking
The Cone of Shame is meant to keep your dog from licking stitches or other kinds of injuries, but few dogs actually tolerate having that thing around their neck. Instead of fighting with your dog to keep it on, here's a better solution.
Find doll clothes or children's clothes (depending on your dog's size) and dress them so the wound is covered. They may fuss at first being forced into a t-shirt, but wearing clothes will be more comfortable than having a giant cone around their head.
4. Rubber Gloves for Shedding
You've probably gotten to the point where you don't even taste the dog hair in your food anymore, and your outfit isn't complete without a healthy layer of fur. But sometimes, it's nice to be fur-free.
If you're all out of lint-roller sheets, a rubber glove used for cleaning can be just as effective. Use it to rub your clothes and upholstery, and it'll easily grab the hair so you can dispose of it.
5. Playtime for Destructive Chewers
Some dogs love their toys for years and carry them around like a child carries a favorite teddy bear. Other dogs rip the head off the teddy bear two minutes after they get it. If the latter sounds like your dog, you have a destructive chewer. Finding dog toys tough enough to withstand heavy chewers isn't easy, and it's also expensive.
Some dogs find sheer joy in the act of ripping a stuffed animal's guts out, and that's their goal for every toy they're given. So instead of fighting that instinct, play into it. Purchase a hollow ball with holes in it and rip up some old t-shirts. Stuff the rags into the ball and let your dog go to town pulling it all apart. When he's done, you put the rags back in, and the fun starts all over again.
6. Tough on Fleas
Once your dog has fleas, getting rid of them is a full-on battle. Your first defense is killing the adult fleas living on your dog. You can go out and buy an expensive flea bath, or you can use something you already have in the house.
Dawn dish soap is tough on grease, and it's even tougher on fleas. It effectively kills flea infestations while being completely safe for your dog. Once you give your dog the Dawn treatment, go ahead with your vet-prescribed flea medication.
7. Parsley for Fresh Breath
Doggie kisses just aren't as enjoyable when your dog has bad breath. It could be your dog's diet or a medical condition causing the problem, but most of the time, bad dog breath is completely normal.
Your local pet store sells expensive drops you can add to your dog's water dish to freshen his breath, but you can get the same effect with a few sprigs of fresh parsley. It's safe for dogs to eat and will drastically change how you feel about those kisses!
8. Play Fetch Downhill
You like playing fetch too, but after that slobbery ball is dropped in your lap for the 500th time, you're ready for a break. Your dog's endless energy means he could play all day, and you need a way to tire him out faster.
Take advantage of your landscape and find a steep, grassy hill far away from roads. It doesn't matter whether you throw the ball up the hill or down, that extra exertion will mean less throws for you.
Owning a dog is a major responsibility and hard work, but every puppy parent deserves a break now and then!
Have any life hacks other dog owners can use? Share them with our Wide Open Pets Instagram!
This article was originally published March 20, 2018.