Even if you have something like a couple of finches or a quiet little goldfish, they always come with a lot of extra things to worry about. Whether your house is full of huge Great Danes or small, smiling little lizard friends, or anything in between, use some of these handy pet hacks to improve your living situation, keep your stuff safe, reduce odors, and much more.
Clean Up Pet Hair With More Ease
Pets. We all love 'em. Problem is, they're super messy. Even if they're house-trained, they're going to be shedding. Even bunny rabbits or guinea pigs are going to shed and leave hair in your place. It can be a nightmare.
If you want to keep your favorite furniture and your carpets free of pet hair, hit them with a simple squeegee. The stiff rubber will pull hairs away and allow you to collect them so you can vacuum them up. It's cheaper than a lint roller and it works like a charm as long as the hair or fur isn't super short.
Create Your Own Flirt Pole
What is a flirt pole, you ask? It's a ball, attached to a rope, attached to a long pole. It's a useful way to train in simple commands, it's a great workout without going on a walk, and it's pretty easy to make one of your own.
All you'll need is some PVC pipe (Suggested length for a large dog: four to six feet) about ten to fifteen feet of rope, and a dog toy. Put the rope through the pipe, knot at both ends, and tie the toy to one end. It will be of great interest to a dog that has a prey drive.
Teach Your Dog to Find the Treats
“Find the treats” might be a dog's favorite game at any time of the day. Teach your dog this trick by...hiding treats around the house. No, it's not complicated, but it's going to be something they enjoy. You can incorporate nose work games by hiding the treats underneath items like cups or blankets. This tactic keeps your furry friends active and mentally stimulated while you have to focus on something else.
Spice up a boring day stuck inside and increase your dog's natural investigation and inquisitive nature. You can even vary the number of treats for different amounts of time.
Make a Re-stuffable Dog Toy
If your dog loves stuffed toys but is a little too rambunctious for them, this tip might be for you. You can make a re-stuffable dog toy out of an empty rubber toy, pre-cut pieces of fleece, and some treats. Stuff the ball with the pieces of fleece, and then follow up with some treats.
The treats aren't necessary, but they will draw your dog's interest. The dog will not only work to get the treats out, but it will probably enjoy getting all the fleece out as well. Once it's done, just shove the fleece back in.
Grow Your Own Catnip
Cats love catnip, and cat owners love watching cats enjoy their catnip. It powers up the cats much in the same way caffeine hits humans, engaging their brains and increasing their energy. The trick is the chemical nepetalactone, which is present in the catnip, and which does almost nothing for humans.
There are lots of pet supply stores where you can get some, but you might also try growing your own so your cat can have a pick-me-up whenever it's needed. Just make sure the cat can't get to it very easily, or you might quickly find the plant torn to shreds.
The Litter Box Equation
You might think that one cat equals one litter box, but we're here to tell you now, that's not the way. In fact, cat experts recommend one litter box for every cat, as well as one extra (X+1 where X equals the number of cats).
The reason for this is cats don't like sharing litter boxes (fair enough) and even if there is one for each, it's good to have an extra if one of them is being cleaned, full, or otherwise inaccessible. Plus, cats bury their droppings to avoid bigger predators, so having more than one place to do their business feels more natural to them.
Keep the Water Flowing
Cats, just like us, need to have access to freshwater to keep themselves hydrated. You might be surprised, however, to find the best way to get cats to drink isn't to give them a big dish of clean water – it's to keep the water moving.
Oddly, cats have a little bit of trouble seeing water if it's still. Being able to see in the dark comes with negatives, we guess. However, the trickling effect and flash of light are much more noticeable, so cats will be able to find it easier. There are plenty of pet water fountains to pick up at your local pet store.
Turn Old Clothes into Something New
If you have a bunch of old shirts laying around – don't lie, we all do – then you can repurpose them into a dog toy. Instead of throwing them out, take a couple of them and braid them together to create a tug toy.
Depending on how energetic or strong your dog is, they might not last all that long, but you'll still get something more out of them. Your dog is going to love the chance to play some tug of war with you when you have a spare minute, so keep those old shirts around.
Save Time on the Water Dish
If you have a dog (or several) that are thirsty drinkers, you might find yourself spending a lot of time refilling the water dish. Make it a little easier on yourself by building an automatically refilling water dish out of a dish, stand, and two-liter bottle. We all have one lying around.
Build a stand out of wood with some velcro and attach a water bottle facing down. Keep the cap on until the water dish is empty, and open it when it's empty. The water will fill the dish to how far down the bottle sits. A little bit of woodworking can make your day-to-day life that much easier.
Plate up the Food for Fast Eaters
Cats usually eat the right stuff. However, that food might make another appearance if your cat scarfs it down too quickly. A way to prevent this gross issue is to put their food on a shallow plate instead of in a bowl since it will slow the cat down and prevent them from over-filling themselves.
There's another little benefit to this – it prevents “whisker stress,” which occurs when your cat's whiskers rub against the sides of a bowl too much. Believe it or not, this can lead to serious mental and physical disorders.
Reward Your Cat with a Treat After the Laser Pointer
Having a cat chase a laser pointer is a good bit of fun for all of us, but it can actually end up frustrating your cat. As they're releasing all their pent-up energy, they aren't actually getting anything in return for all their efforts. Once the game of laser-pointer chase has ended, reward your kitty with a tasty treat to encourage the fun and give it something that is worth its time.
This is a good trick to do no matter what kind of fun you and your cat are having – it will encourage activity and keep them interested in doing more than lying around.
Erase Drool Marks
There are some dogs out there that tend to drool a lot. There are even some cats that have been known to leave a puddle. A little bit of saliva is one thing, but that drooling can leave lasting marks all over the house.
If you want to clean your home of these kinds of marks, one option is to grab a magic eraser. Just like many other marks that might end up in your home, they can be scrubbed away. You might already have one of these handy items lying around, so why not make sure it's put to good use?
Give Cats a Two-Syllable Name
You might want to name your cat something goofy and silly like Queen Tatiana Desdemona, but it just ends up confusing the animal. And embarrassing your friends. Make sure, at the very least, there's a two-syllable nickname you can call since cats tend to respond to shorter names much easier.
For some reason, they also tend to like names that end with the “ee” sound, so something like “Larry” or “Monkey” or even just “Kitty” will work the best. Well, the cat still won't come when you call, but at least it will give them something to think about while they're ignoring you.
Reduce the Smell of Kitty Litter
If you've ever had a cat in your home, you can probably recall the smell of kitty litter. Even if it's fresh, it has a particular scent that isn't always welcome in your home.
Just like a lot of things, there are a couple of ways to fight against this smell, but there's an old technique that has become more in vogue recently: green tea. Mixing it with kitty litter not only helps reduce the classic smells of litter and refuse, but the smell of green tea is much more pleasant to people than the litter. You can even make your own by mixing some leaves into the litter box.
Freshen Up Pet Breath
Dogs and cats both love to eat and since their foods contain a lot of protein, that can result in some stank from their jaws. There are a number of ways to combat this, from brushing teeth to breath-mints, but one way that might be a lot easier is to use some parsley.
Add it to your pet's food to provide a fresher scent. The little herb is also thought to help kill off bacteria that is the root cause of the stink. It might take a little bit of time for the pets to get used to it, but it might just work.
Never Shall the Twain Meet
If you have both a dog and a cat, you've probably experienced your dog getting into the kitty litter. They love it, for some reason. Keep pooch out of the sand by elevating the box, creating a barrier around the box, or using a cover that your bigger dog won't be able to get into.
It all depends on what kind of dog you have, how many cats you have, and a number of other factors, but your cat deserves a place to call its own, even if it's just for doing a bit of business.
Make Food Easier on Sensitive Teeth
Older dogs or dogs with teeth problems might have some trouble chowing down on hard, dry kibble. Keep your buddy eating the way it should by adding a little bit of warm water. This will soften the kibble and make them easier to chew and digest.
It also has the added bonus of tricking your dog into drinking more water. Most dogs – and most people, now that we think about it – should be drinking more water. As long as the water is about room-temperature, it will be nothing but a boon and will add to your dog's comfort while eating.
Walnuts: Every Pet Owner's Best Friend
Cats, dogs, and other pets often have claws, and no matter how careful they are, sometimes those claws get used on wooden furniture like tables, chairs, or even wooden floors. A few small scratches might not be worth the worry, but bigger grooves can be unbecoming or even dangerous in the wrong places.
To combat this issue, pick up some fresh walnuts. No, really. The natural oils of the walnuts seep into the wood, filling in small scratches and making large scratches less noticeable. It won't do any real repair work, but you can still reduce the damage.
Burn Off All the Energy
Dogs have a lot of energy. Siberian Huskies basically have to be moving twenty-four-seven, and even smaller dogs can have problems burning everything off. There's nothing worse than having a rambunctious dog who is tearing up the home.
If you're too tired to go for a run after work, head to the top of a hill and throw your dog's favorite ball down the slope. Even a dog with lots of energy to burn will get tired out after running up and down the hill. If you're at the top of a mound, you can vary the direction to keep things fresh.
Create Your Own Dog Toys
You know what's really weird? The prices of dog toys. Yeah, they have to be durable enough to stand up to gnashing jaws and sharp teeth, but it's still kind of crazy. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to make your own.
One of the easiest ways is to take an old sock and an empty water bottle. Shove the water bottle into the sock and tie off the end to get something that can occupy your pet at almost no cost. Bigger dogs will probably finish this DIY dog toy off pretty quickly, so this is best for smaller or younger dogs that haven't developed bigger muscles yet.
They Can Use Vaseline Just Like Us
Dogs' paws are tough but even they can get worn down and painful, especially in extreme temperatures. It might not happen too often, but it's good to have something you can do in these situations.
If your dog likes to go on long walks but this painful thing is happening, rub some petroleum jelly on the soles of its feet. The dog might become interested in the stuff, but the taste isn't pleasant to anyone, and it will reduce pain and discomfort while you're out and about.
Use Carabiners to Keep Dogs in Place
Carabiners have lots of handy uses, and way more than just while climbing. If you need your dogs to stay put while you run into a store for a minute, a carabiner can be just what you're looking for.
Wrap the leash around a pole or post and attach the end to the middle using a carabiner for a quick way to keep them in one place. If you have more than one dog, this is also a tactic that will keep multiple dogs together. Really, if you're going on a walk, take a carabiner with you.
Muffin Tin Toy
If you need a simple way to keep your dog busy while you're working on something, just grab a muffin tin. Place a treat inside each of the cups, and cover them all with tennis balls – you might need to pick some more up.
Set the muffin tin on the ground and get your dog's attention. You might have to remove one of the tennis balls to show the treat underneath, and then most dogs will get the idea. They can work on their handling skills and have a little snack while you get your own work done. It's a win-win.
Fix Their Eating
Dogs can actually suffer from a couple of eating disorders. The cause is, just like us, eating too much or too little. One way or the other, a simple trick can help assuage these problems. Take a ball your dog enjoys playing with and put it inside the bowl with the food.
If your pooch eats too little, this will help keep their interest in their food for a longer amount of time, so they might end up eating more. If they eat too much (usually because they're eating too quickly) the ball will get in their way and slow them down (you might also try feeding them less).
Protect Your Doors
Dogs require a lot of training for everything from not tearing apart couch cushions to not making a mess in the middle of the floor. If they need to use the yard, that means the door, and some dogs let you know by using their claws on the door itself.
If you want to prevent damage to your doors, you can grab some scratch pads and put them to good use. If you have more than one pooch in your home, this is going to be something you'll want to pick up, or the door will just be a frame of wood surrounding a scratch.
Grab Some Popcorn and Teach Your Dog to Catch
While a lot of us think that dogs and catching is second nature, some breeds will have no idea what you're doing. Young dogs, as well. What's the best way to teach this activity? The answer is a classic movie-going snack: popcorn.
Don't start by throwing a toy at your dog's face – you could be the cause of some injuries. Instead, pop a bowl of popcorn and give the dog a taste. It's light, tasty, and safe to eat, so before long your dog will be jumping every time you toss up a piece. From there it's a short step toward catching almost anything.
Take Care of Your Cat's Claws
Cats will sharpen their claws by themselves – you probably already know that – but you can do your part to keep them trim and clean at the same time. You can try clipping them to keep them short and safe, but a lot of cats hate being handled in this way.
Another option is claw covers, which you can put over your cat's claws to prevent them from damaging your stuff. It will take some adjustment time, but your cat will eventually get used to them. A vet or groomer can help you apply them if you're having trouble, but the claws will still require trimming.
Teach Cats Not to Scratch
Cats young and old have a constant need to keep their claws sharp. Just in case something goes down. But, there are few things worse than coming into a room to find your furniture, carpet, or even your mattress has been shredded by your little kitty.
There are scratching pads and other tactics, but one that might be a little easier is to use double-sided tape. Cats don't like sticky things, and eventually, they'll learn to stick to their scratching pads and climbing towers. You don't even have to keep the tape on the entire time – just until the cats learn.
Create a Dog First-Aid Kit
Just like humans, dogs should have a first-aid kit handy for when fun and games result in injuries. The essentials for a kit like this include gauze, non-stick bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls, antibiotic spray or ointment, milk of magnesia (for poisoning), scissors, tweezers, and a magnifying glass.
If your dog requires medication, you can include syringes or a medicine case. A flashlight is always a good addition to safety at any time. Based on your dog, you can also include towels, soft muzzles, travel bowls, and other items you think would be important for your dog's health while you're exploring the great outdoors.
Anything Can Be a Toy
Cats love to play, but there isn't really a big market for cat toys. At least, not that big compared to dog toys. That's because a lot of cats will be perfectly content with things you can already find around the house, like string or tape.
Or leaves, or little bits of fluff, or lots of other random items. Some classic examples also include crumpled receipts, empty toilet paper rolls, straws, and socks. Instead of shelling out for toys from the store, try out some of these things to keep your cat occupied.
Celebrate Every Single Recall
Just in case you don't know, a recall is when you call “Come!” or something similar, and the dog returns to you. If your dog has learned to heel, make sure to hand out rewards liberally, including lots of praise and treats.
This makes it seem like a no-brainer for the dog to return to you if you're calling since they know they'll be rewarded. If you don't do this, there might be no reason for your hound to leave whatever it was chasing, sniffing, or tearing apart. But, if it knows about everything you have to offer, it will be much more likely to respond to its training.
Prevent Leash Pulling Using a Front-Clip Harness
If your dog is the kind that is always pulling on the leash, swap out a back-clip harness for a front-clip version. Harnesses that clip in the back promote pulling, but front-clip harnesses make it more uncomfortable for the pooch to strain at the leash.
Another quick leash-training tip is to ditch the retractable leash – a regular six-foot leash will tell your dog that there is a maximum length to go even while leashed, and allows it to learn loose leash walking, which is when the dog is comfortable walking by your side with plenty of slack leash remaining.
Let Them Explore
You might think of cats as lazy, inactive creatures, but the happiest cats are those that have something to do. Specifically, cats that have climbing space will be the most energetic and healthy, so give them something they can explore.
Cats also tend to appreciate having a higher ground, since it allows them to survey their territory easier – that territory being your home, of course. Even if you have a smaller space and can't make something extravagant, give them some shelves or kitty towers to climb and they're going to appreciate it. They won't ever really express that appreciation, but they'll appreciate it.
Take Time Introducing Other Pets
You might have other cats or dogs, but that doesn't mean a new cat will fit right in without any issues. Cats in particular are very territorial and need a lot of time to adjust to a new environment, especially if there are other animals or even children in the same place.
A new cat should be kept in a smaller area like a bedroom or a bathroom for the first few days. Slowly introduce other members of the household by letting them smell each other, eat on opposite sides of a door, and then begin joined playtime. Over time, the animals will start to accept each other more and more until there are no issues.
Use as Much Wet Food as Possible
There are different varieties of food for your little kitty, but experts seem to think wet food is the best choice. Cats that eat only dry food are more likely to develop health complications such as diabetes and dehydration.
Dry food has higher levels of carbohydrates, which cats don't need as much. At the very least, give your cat a mixture of both. The dry food should, ideally, be free of grains. This mixture allows the cat to get the right macros and vitamins that it needs without overloading on calories – weight gain is just as much a problem for cats as it is for humans.
Make More Space in the Kitchen
If you're like millions of pet owners around the world, you keep the food and water dishes in the kitchen. But you might also be running out of room. If that's the case – and you have some woodworking skills – you can try installing a food dish drawer.
Add the two dishes into a drawer with something that secures them so you can pull out the drawer during dinnertime or push it in if you need more space while you're working on dinner. There are lots of ways to do this, but of course, you'll need a drawer that works for your pet and for the bowls.
Daily Brushing Makes Things Better
You brush your teeth every day, so why wouldn't your dog get the same good treatment? You might not like it, and dogs might not like it, but giving your dogs a daily brushing can help avoid expensive dental treatments and painful health issues.
There are plenty of toothbrushes out there that are made just for dogs to make this task easier than ever, but be sure to pick up toothpaste that is safe for dogs at the same time. Both of you will have to get used to it, but dogs can be trained, and you'll know that you're doing the best thing for your friend.
Touch Your Cat's Paws
Cats can be picky when it comes to the kind of contact you give them. This is especially true if you're trying to do something like washing them, brushing their teeth, or trimming their claws.
One way to make these moments a little easier is to play with your cat's paws. Stroke them or play with them while your cats are relaxed and happy, and it will get them used to being touched on the paws – making lots of things such as trimming claws much easier. We can't say they'll never mind at all, but at least things will be a little simpler for you.
Do Away With Dog Hair Using the Laundry
You know that if there are dogs in your home, there's also plenty of fur. Even shorthair dogs will leave it lying around after a snooze on the rug. The vacuum gets some of it, but there are better ways.
Grab a dryer sheet from your box in the laundry room. The chemicals used in the dryer sheets create a clinging effect, which snaps dog hair up faster than you thought possible. Rub it over your couch or other furniture like a sponge and watch all that pet hair collect in easy-to-handle clumps.
Keep Your Cats Curious
We all know that cats love to explore, especially kittens. They love to search in small nooks, rummage through boxes, or even crawl into the ceiling and require tools to rescue it (true story). If you want to prevent that sort of thing, make a little tent out of things that are lying around your home.
Get a piece of cardboard fifteen inches by fifteen inches, a pair of metal coat hangers, and an old shirt. Cut the hooks off the coat hangers and bend them into two arches. Tape them onto the cardboard and wrap the shirt over it. Instant cat tent that they're sure to enjoy exploring.
Make Sure Corrections are Immediate
If you find your dog has done something wrong, you might be tempted to punish it to try and stop the behavior. But, if it's been an hour or so since the deed was done, this will just confuse the dog. They won't understand the connection and might get the wrong idea if they're just taking a nap on their bed.
If you catch them in the act, then certainly give them a punishment, but you shouldn't wait. In the same way, reward your dog's good behavior as quickly as possible too, since it will reinforce the good things you want to encourage.
Lots of Fun for Everyone
If it's a hot day out and the dog is bored, here's something to try out. Teach your pooch to chase bubbles – if your dog already loves to chase balls and sticks, you might not even need to do any instruction.
Get your kids to blow the bubbles, and you have a joined activity that everybody will enjoy. It gives the dog a little bit of exercise, it gets people out of the house, and you might just be able to create long-lasting memories at the same time. Even older dogs can enjoy this activity since it's easy and low impact.
Keep Dogs Out of the Truck Bed
An estimated one hundred thousand dogs die each year from riding in the back of pickup trucks. That's not even counting the injuries.
They can bounce out of the beds, get hit by debris from the road, or take damage from other items in the bed. If you want to make sure your dog is safe and secure on every ride, put it in the cab. Keep it restrained in the car for maximum safety – we all know how much dogs enjoy sticking their heads out the window, so lock them down to prevent any injuries.
Keep Dogs Happy as They Snack
Dogs love their treats, and they're willing to go through a lot of work to get them. You could just hand them out like you regularly do, or you could make the dogs work for it a little bit.
Take a tennis ball and use a box cutter or knife to cut a hole in the ball, and then introduce a couple of your pet's favorite treats. Don't put too many in, or they'll start to fall out, but otherwise, this homemade toy will keep your dog occupied and active, and give it a reward at the same time. There's nothing like a win-win.
Help Older Dogs Eat Without Pain
If you have a dog that suffers from arthritis or joint problems, or just has an issue getting its head all the way down to the bowl, a small, simple fix can be a big boon. Create your own elevated food bowl out of almost any old thing – as long as it raises the food bowl up and makes it easier for your pooch to reach.
Older, bigger dogs, in particular, can suffer from joint issues that make lowering their head painful, so this quick fix might just be something that makes it more comfortable in day-to-day life.
Make Sure Dogs Can Cool Off
Dogs love to get a cool treat almost as much as we do – maybe even more. The reason they pant is to regulate their temperature since dogs don't sweat other than through their feet.
If your furry friend has been working in the sun, use one of these icy treats to keep them comfortable. Fill up a cake mold with water and some of their favorite tough toys, and then stick it all in the freezer until it's solid. Your pet will attack the ice to get at their trapped toys, which won't only keep it cool, but also let it get plenty of water at the same time.
Keep a Dog Harness for the Car
Energetic dogs are a boon to most lives. The problem is, those energetic creatures can be energetic everywhere, even in the car. You don't want your furry friend bouncing around while you're trying to stay safe on the road.
If you want to keep your pets from being too active during a ride, use a carabiner to attach their harness to a seat belt or something else inside the car. It's a simple way to keep them still, and eventually, they'll learn not to rock the boat while the car is in motion. We kinda got our analogies mixed there but we think it makes sense.
Play With a Purpose
If you have a young dog, there's plenty of playing that happens, but you can focus on some things that will make the dog even friendlier. Intentionally play with the dog's feet, ears, and mouth to desensitize them to certain things.
Play with the feet to get them used to nail clipping. Play around with the mouth and ears to prepare them for inspections at the vet that will be good for their health. This will make trips to the vet quicker, keep your dog from being too stressed, and will even make the inspections more likely to find something that could affect your dog's health.
Keep the Air Quality High
A cat in the house can mean plenty of things like odors, dander, and allergens in the air – even more so if you have more than a single cat. Make sure you have an air filter or a purifier to keep the air smelling cat-free and reduce potential health issues.
If you or any of your friends have allergies to cats, this is a necessary addition to the home. Most homes have filters in the air systems, but smaller buildings might make it important for you to get your own, or get a little bit of extra help if you have more than one furry friend.
Separate Food and Water
If your cat is dehydrated, one tactic you can do to encourage them to drink more is to move their food and water dishes to separate places.
Cats – hunters by nature – are still accustomed to keeping their kills and their freshwater separate to avoid pollution. Mimicking this behavior might make your cat more willing to quench its thirst. Plus, if there's any tasty food in the food bowl, that will distract the cat from water. We've all been there. Cats not drinking enough is one of the more common problems new pet owners come across, so try this easy trick before anything more serious or expensive.
Get Them Ready for Brushing
If you want to brush your dog's teeth, and your pooch isn't excited about it, there are a couple of ways to desensitize them. Squeeze some doggie toothpaste on a rope toy and play around with it, which will get your pet used to the flavor and sensation of the cleansing material.
You'll still have to get them acclimated to the sensation of actually brushing, which is another thing entirely. Still, this trick can go a long way toward improving your furry friend's dental health, while giving them a little bit of fun and exercise at the same time.
Make Your Own Dog Treats
Dogs, famously, love to eat treats. They kind of love to eat anything, but they usually turn away from whatever they're eating if you offer them treats. If you don't have any available and you want to reward some good behavior, there are plenty of ways to make your own.
From quick and easy peanut butter treats to more complicated recipes, you can find something your dog is sure to like and that you're able to whip up. Most of them are pretty simple to make, and don't require anything too complicated – dogs have pretty simple tastes (Ex: anything). There are even vegan options.
Increase Visibility During Hunting Season
Being visible while you're out hunting is an incredibly important safety tactic, but don't forget your faithful hunting hound's protection as well. A simple bright bandana will be all that's necessary. Orange is the preferred color since it has a well-known connotation to hunting, but you can't go wrong with a bright blue or green.
A well-trained hunting dog can be worth its weight in gold, so don't risk any accidents by keeping your hound visible and safe. Even if you're just going for a walk, giving your dog a little bit of color can stop any confusion and make sure you both get home safely.
Just like dogs, there's plenty of training that can be done with cats, but it has to be done in a different way. For example, dogs might like treats, but cat-training pretty much requires them.
For example, if you want to teach your cat to high-five you, you'll need to get a clicker and click it every time its paw touches yours, after which you give it a treat. You can then move on to going without the clicker while still supplying treats, and eventually, you can just hold out your hand and you'll get a cat high five.
Keep Ants Out of Outdoor Food
If you have pets that like to roam outside, one of the associated problems is keeping beasties and bugs out of their food. Ants are one such problem, but there are some simple ways to keep them away from food bowls.
Pets will keep away from eating ants, so use these tips to make them a thing of the past. First, draw a line of chalk around the food – ants don't like to cross it. For more protection, put the bowl of food on a plate that has some water. Even if the ants get past the chalk, they'll drown in the water.
Making Sure Your Pets Can't Escape
If you live in a home that has a fence around it, and you also have some small pets, you might be used to hitting the neighborhood to try and find them after they slip out. Pick up a collar designed to prevent exactly that, and you'll wonder why you didn't get one immediately.
The collars use bars on the sides to keep narrow pets from slipping between fences or railings on balconies. You can be assured that the dog (or cat, or anything else) will be where it belongs. We're also told that the pets barely even notice the collars as an added bonus.
Get Rid of Stingers Cheaply
If your dog happens to wander into a nest of unfriendly bugs, picking the stingers out of its skin can be a long, tiring, and painful task, and that's not even taking into account the length of fur. If you try to pick a stinger out with your fingers, you risk leaving part of it buried in the skin, which can cause infections.
Instead, use a simple credit card. Just scrape the surface of your dog's skin with the straight edge of the card to pull the stingers out of the skin and make them easier to fully remove. Any other straight, flat edge will also do.
Trick Them Into Eating Medication
None of us like to eat our pills, but they are important. Pets, however, don't understand that the pills are necessary for good health, and thus tend not to eat them.
One way to get around this is to engage your pet's sense of smell. The problem is, pills don't really smell that good, especially to animals with keener senses of smell. Use some peanut butter, milk, and flour to create a small pill pocket that lets you hide the pills inside. The pets might not even notice.
Tweeze Out Ticks
If you find your dog has something unfriendly hiding on its skin, you might be tempted to use a tick remover. If you don't have one of those, your best bet is to use a pair of tweezers. Fine-tipped tweezers are best for this since they won't do any more damage to your dog's skin.
Grab the tick by the mouth area, closest to your dog's skin, and pull firmly until it's removed. Dunk the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol to kill it, and be sure to wear gloves, since ticks can also transmit diseases to people.
Keep Cats Off Using Tinfoil
Cats love to get up on surfaces you might not like them on. Their paws can hold dirt, kitty litter, and even worse things, so seeing your cat on your kitchen counter is never a great surprise.
If you have a stubborn cat that keeps climbing where it shouldn't grab a roll of tinfoil and cover the edges of the surfaces. Cats aren't very fond of the sound of landing on it, so they'll learn to avoid those places. You can also use masking tape with the sticky side up, which will pull at the cat's feet. They don't like that, either.
If you're a cat owner, you probably know that as you're getting ready for bed, your cat is zooming around the house and jumping at you for playtime. Many people think that cats are nocturnal, but that's not exactly true – they're actually crepuscular, meaning they're most active during dawn and dusk. That means as you're trying to fall asleep, your cat will have the most energy.
As you're getting ready for bed, add in some intense playtime. Try to spend ten minutes playing with your cat during this time, so that you can get better sleep and burn off some of their energy.
Make Sure Every Poop Is Important
You know that one of the biggest parts of training a new dog is to make sure they don't go potty inside. If you're working on getting them to want to go outside, lavish praise, cuddles, and treats on them when they do their business in the right place.
Before long they'll form a connection between hitting the yard and being rewarded, so even if you taper off the appreciation they'll keep the association around. Before long, they won't even think about making a mess inside. Outside will just be where the business is conducted.
Create a Quick Dog Bed
There are some fancy dog beds out there. You might want the best for your furry friend, but sometimes you need to be careful with your finances. There are also plenty of dogs or other pets that don't care all that much – they just want some cushion in their favorite spot.
If you want to keep your budget and your pet happy, take an old laundry basket, put a blanket in it, and top it with a pillow. Dollars to donuts, your pet will happily jump into your DIY bed the next time they need some shuteye.
Switch Up Feeding Times
Keep your cats on their toes, and out from under your feet, by varying the feeding times. If you feed them at the same time each day, they'll learn when to expect it, and make sure to let you know they want to be fed.
If you feed your cat right after you wake up, many of them will try to train you to wake earlier. If you change the time of their feeding a little bit every once in a while, it will prevent this distracting behavior, and teach them to just hold their horses until they hear the can opener. You're the owner, they don't get to hassle you.
Rubber Gloves Make Dog Hair Easy
There are lots of tactics for picking up dog hair, but here's one you might not have thought of – rubber gloves. Just put them on and run your hands over the furniture or the carpet. The rubber material is clingy, and you'll be able to scrape up all the loose dog hair without issue.
If you've been cleaning the kitchen and you're wearing gloves, add this job to the list to keep your home looking and smelling like there might not be a dog there. This is especially helpful if you're combating pet allergies, but you can't bear to get rid of your friendly animals.
Cats and Boxes. You Know How This Goes
Cats love boxes. Love them. One search through the internet will find that it doesn't even have to be a box – cats will try to sit in anything at least once.
Take advantage of this peculiar eccentricity by placing a box on your desk while you're working, especially if your cat seems to enjoy sitting on your keyboard while you're trying to use it. The cat will take to the box, since it's in the perfect place – near you, in a box, and on your desk. They might even take the chance to get some shuteye while you type away.
Keep Gum and Candy Out of Reach
While you might love a little snack every once in a while, make sure your dogs don't get anything that contains the chemical xylitol. It's a sugar substitute that is highly toxic to dogs. It's most often found in sugar-free gum and candies, so make sure to keep them away from your pets.
Other common household items with xylitol include certain kinds of peanut butter, dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash, medications or vitamins, honey, cookies and ice cream, jams, condiments, drink powders, protein bars, and more. Be sure to check those labels – there are even some brands of clothing that use it, for whatever reason.
Get a Permanent Microchip Identifier
No matter how well-trained your furry friend is, it still might decide to go wandering every once in a while, whether it's a days-long outing or a short jaunt. Get a microchip implanted into your dog to make sure it's always carrying the information it needs if it finds itself in an unfamiliar place.
You'll be able to get your beloved pet back sooner, and it will keep the dog safer if it gets lost. A microchip identifier is also one of the ways a court decides who gets to keep the dog in the case of a dispute. One way or another, it's a handy safety tool.
Make Cleaning up Pet Urine Easier
Sadly, some pets just can't understand the need to go outside when they feel the call of nature. Or, there might be a new puppy in the family that is still working on being house-trained. For any reason, sometimes you need to take care of a puddle on the floor. You might think you're in for a dirty job, but here's a way to make it easier.
Pour baking soda over the puddle and let it sit for twenty minutes. The baking soda will not only absorb the moisture but will also help neutralize the smell. Once the twenty minutes are up, hit it with the vacuum.
Consider Two Cats
Cats can be solitary creatures, but there are plenty of them that wouldn't mind having a friend around. In fact, most cats crave at least some companionship.
If you're out of the house during the day, consider another cat that will keep your first from being too bored. Since they have a playmate, they're going to be less destructive than they would be on their own. If you have a full-grown cat, consider adding a kitten. If you don't have any pets yet, pick up a pair of siblings from the same litter, since they're already used to each other.
Time to Learn the Doggy Paddle
We all love to jump into the pool during a hot summer day, but what about the pets in our lives? Dogs cool off by panting and sweating through their feet, and some of them have heavy fur that doesn't give them a chance to cool off.
Use a small pool to give them a chance to soak in cool water. The water evaporating off them will cool them down just like it does for us (that's why we sweat – the evaporating sucks heat away). You don't even need a big one – even a metal tub will be a big boon.
No Need for Special Shampoos
There are a lot of people out there that tell you dogs or other pets require special shampoos. That's usually because they sell the shampoos, but for the most part, they're off the mark.
If your pet has a flea infestation or some kind of skin condition, you should go with the specialty washes, but simple dirt and grime don't need anything you wouldn't use on yourself. It's recommended you mix the shampoo with water (one part shampoo to four parts water is usually best), and then you can get great results without shelling out extra for special soaps.
Reduce Spillage During Thirsty Trips
We've all spilled a few times, but if your dog can't control its licker, it can be a big problem no matter where the water bowl is. If you travel long distances and don't want the inside of your vehicle to get soaked, pick up a spill-proof bowl to keep the water in and keep your pet refreshed.
There's less worry about the mess, but we recommend putting down newspaper or plastic just in case. Any dog owner is aware that it doesn't matter how much work you do to stop it – dogs will always find a way to make a mess.
Leave the Cat Carrier Out
Most of the time, when you haul out the cat carrier, the kitty runs for cover – it means a trip to the vet, most likely. Getting your cat inside can sometimes be an issue, but there's an easy way to make this annoying job simpler.
Leave the carrier out in the home for a week or two, which will allow your cat to give it a good sniff, take a nap inside it, and break the association it has with car rides to scary, uncomfortable places. It might even end up being a place that your cat enjoys napping in if you decorate it with the right fluffy items.
Battle Against Skunk Stink
If your dog was outside around one of the white-striped pests that create such a...memorable...smell, you might think you're going to have to spend hours using tomato juice to remove it. Not so, thanks to this easy trick.
Mix together baking soda, some soap, and a little bit of hydrogen peroxide to create a cleansing solution that cuts down on the time and the smell. The recommended mixture is a big bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and then two teaspoons of liquid soap. After that, start scrubbing – just make sure to keep it away from the eyes, or your dog won't be happy.
Give Them a Spot to Dig
Some dogs love to dig. Other dogs love to follow your lead as you tend to your garden. The end result is the same. One way to deal with this behavior is to create a digging box and teach your dog to focus its energy there.
Grab a gardening kit and some sand to make a corner of your yard purpose-built for digging. Bigger dogs like Pyrenees love to get down and dirty, and if they have a spot of their own where they can dig they might not even need walks. Make a bottom out of wood, create some sides, and fill with sand. Done.
Get a Scratching Post
We probably don't have to tell you that your cat needs a scratching post – other than a litter box, it's the thing that everyone knows a cat requires. But, let's go over why this is so important: Cats use scratching as a way to make sure their claws are short and sharp, and they'll do it on the best thing they can find, be it a scratching post or your fancy new couch.
A scratching post is durable and the right kind of feeling for a cat's claws. Even if your cat isn't interested right away, a little bit of catnip will do just the trick to attract it.
Just Don't Close It
Dogs need sleep – they're like little people in that way. Thus, dog beds. If you have a dog that might be able to fit inside a drawer, you can save a little bit of space by creating a drawer dog bed.
With some woodworking skills on your side, you can remove the old drawers at the bottom of a dresser or some other furniture item. After that, put a cushion inside and get your dog to lie down. It depends on the dog, of course, but as long as they can fit, they have a pretty good chance of liking it.
Switch up Rewards to Improve Training
Instead of the same old treats or a little bit of praise, mix and match the rewards you dish out to keep dogs interested and willing to learn without settling into a rut.
Dogs might not be the brightest in the household, but they can still figure out when a training session is going to begin. Maybe it's a bag of treats, maybe it's a specific toy. Mix up the rewards you hand out to make training more fun and organic. Some dogs like treats, while others just enjoy playing. Switch things up to find what your dog best responds to, but make sure there is still some variance.
The White Towel Test
Fleas are a big problem for dogs and their owners. If you think your dog might have some of these parasites, there's an easy trick for finding out. Have your dog lay down on a white towel or sheet while you examine and brush the fur.
The white fabric will make it easy to see if any of the dirt is actually fleas since they'll still be moving around. If you don't see any – great! If you do catch sight of some nasties, then you can start treating your pup and rid it of them.