Use these DIY hacks and tricks to make your life with a dog a lot less troublesome while saving a few bucks on buying expensive supplies.
Having a dog can be rich and fulfilling experience but caring for one entails work and responsibilities that can sometimes be disruptive and challenging. Any pet owner who loves their dog longs to have a smoother interaction with their furry companion, and even though there's plenty of tools and dog supplies that can help with that, not all of them can be affordable for pet owners on a budget. Here are 12 money-saving DIY doggy hacks to try to make your life with a dog easier.
1. To Prevent Choking
If your dog can't help but chomp down on his food and eat like there's no tomorrow, simply place a soft ball (tennis ball) in the middle of his food bowl to slow him down. You might also consider purchasing a bowl with raised middle areas for your dog to eat around it, or specially designed bowls that slow down eating. Dogs that eat too fast can end up choking themselves or vomit and waste their food. They can also experience bloating from swallowing air – a condition called Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV), which poses a serious health risk.
2. To Freshen Doggy Breath
Everyone's familiar with the infamous doggy breath, and parsley is often used as a breath freshener for dogs. It is found in most doggy dental treats and particularly dental chews. It can also soothe common dog stomach problems like gas, colic and indigestion. This herb is absolutely safe for eating in small amounts. However, as parsley is a diuretic, it's best to give this sparingly to your dog. Also, make sure to feed curly-leafed parsley only and avoid spring parsley, which can be toxic to dogs.
3. To Clean the Dog's Paws
You can use doggy grooming wipes for this, but to save, even natural baby wipes with hypoallergenic ingredients are great for cleaning dirty dog paws. Baby product manufacturers have been cutting down on chemical use, thus you can easily find baby wipes with purely natural ingredients like vinegar at supermarket shelves. These wipes are convenient for removing dirt, mud, sand and potential allergens on your dog’s paws after a long walk or playtime in the backyard. You could also create your own cleaning solution using vinegar with a drop of tea tree oil to use with a soft cloth or thick paper towels.
4. To Protect Dog's Paw Pads
Walking on hot surface in summer or snow, ice, or an ice cold ground in winter might hurt your dog but he needs his exercise even during the winter and summer, so what can you do? Experts recommend using dog shoes to protect his paws. In addition (and cheaper), you can apply a natural ointment to prevent drying. Waxelene, for instance, is an alternative to Vaseline petroleum jelly for dogs, but you can use your preferred brand to summer- or winter-proof your dog's paw. You could also apply this product on your dog's nose to prevent drying.
5. To Effectively Remove Ticks
Forget petroleum jelly, nail polish or burning off ticks with matches. While these are popularly recommended tick removal tricks, they might not be always effective and can even be dangerous because the tick's head can still be embedded on the dog's skin, veterinarians warn. Instead, simply use a pair of good old tweezers (or special tick removers) to get the ticks out of your pet's skin. Be careful not to squeeze the head so that it won't break on the skin.
6. To Prevent Scratching Itchy Skin
Does your dog suffer from allergy rashes? Is he recovering from post-surgical stitches? There's a number of special clothes and recovery cones generally used for this. But alternatively, for dogs that cannot deal with those cones, to prevent your dog from scratching and irritating his skin even further, simply put a baby onesie (for small dogs) or adult t-shirt (for big dogs) on him. Keep the clothes on until his skin has healed completely.
7. To Provide Relief on Hot Summer Days
There's a number of ways to keep dogs cool in summer, but one that's rarely mentioned is creating an “ice lick” for your dog on hot summer days to help him stay occupied and hydrated. The ice lick is actually frozen dog soup made with flavorful chicken broth. Before freezing, put your dogs' favorite toys inside of it so that he'll have much more fun and motivation to lick the ice when he sees there's something inside. It's a low calorie, hydrating fun tool that will keep your pet cool during hot days.
8. For an Instant Doggy Car Seat
Dog car seats can be expensive and if you don't have the budget to buy a crash tested car seat for your dog but really need it for a very short car trip with your dog, you can simply use a laundry basket to create an instant dog car seat. Prop a fluffy pillow inside the basket and drape a large fabric around it to cushion the edges well. Then use a dog seat belt (essential) to strap your pet inside there – do not drive without your pet secured. This serves as a great dog bed too, if you haven’t gotten him one.
9. For a Quick, Delicious, Healthy Summer Treat
Here's a simple and low calorie frozen treat. Cut apples in small slices and place these in an ice cube tray. Pour low sodium chicken soup and then keep this in the freezer overnight. Give this to your dog when he wants a snack, particularly on a hot summer day. Apples are low in fat, rich in vitamin C and other vitamins. It can be a great substitute for high calorie dog treats. It's good for senior dogs with diet restrictions too, according to veterinarians.
10. For Easy (Distracted) Nail Trimming
Pups don't usually like getting their nails trimmed but it's important to keep them short and clean. To distract your dog, pet owners found that something that always works are small amounts of peanut butter. Have someone feed the dog small amounts of peanut butter while you cut their nails. Be sure, however, to give peanut butter without Xylitol in the ingredients – a common sweetener which is added to some peanut butter brands and is toxic for dogs. When you've accidentally cut your dog's nails too short and hit the quick, you can stop the bleeding with a pasty mixture of water and cornstarch (or baking soda) instead of the expensive styptic powders. Apply the mixture on the nails to help the blood coagulate quickly.
11. To Settle the Dog Down Inside a Car
Got an excited dog inside the car who won't stop jumping around? Does your pooch make attempts to climb to the front to sit on your lap? Using dog car seats or seat belts are an option, but you can also settle the dog down at the back using a zip line harness, which you can create by sewing spring clasps and nylon rope (you can also buy an actual auto zip line for dogs on the internet). Simply connect dog's leash on the harness so that he doesn't jump all over the car. You can also use the same zip line when you're on a boat or at the park having a BBQ. It will keep your dog safely secured but he’ll have enough distance and space to move about.
12. To Keep the Dog From Escaping
Is your dog an escape artist? Can he easily slip through gates and fences? Hammacher Schlemmer has initially patented the design of an escape preventing harness for under $30 but you can follow the idea behind it and create your own using a sturdy stick from your backyard. You can put a small stick or a crossbar on your dog's harness or collar to prevent him from slipping through the cracks. However, an even better option is to use something like a car neck cushion on your dog (or a Puppy Bumper), which seems safer. This trick doesn't curtail his movements but you won’t have to worry knowing he won't have an easy time getting through a gate.