Life Hacks – New Dog Parents

There are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha!” moments where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems, often using items immediately at your disposal. Each month this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life to make your day to day as simple as possible. For March we’ll look at hacks that will make being a new dog parent easier.

Do you have a pup that chows down their meals entirely too fast? There are a couple of simple and inexpensive solutions to an overeager puppy. First, try placing a tennis ball in the middle of the bowl, forcing your pup to eat around the ball and move it around to get to food underneath it, leaving time to catch his breath and swallow bites. You can also try flipping your pup’s bowl upside down and pouring the food in the edges around the bowl portion.

When the weather is particularly cold or particularly hot, your dog’s paw pads are susceptible to burns. In the cold, the salt used to de-ice sidewalks and roads can wreak havoc, and extreme cold temperatures can cause pain while walking outdoors. When the temps are hot, your dog’s pads can easily be burnt when walking the neighborhood sidewalks or streets. Before heading out the door, put a good layer of Vaseline on your pup’s pads to help shield from the extreme temps.

It’s suggested that you bathe your pet once a month but sometimes the once a month bath time just can’t be squeezed into the schedule, or your pet is particularly stinky before their scheduled groom. Try making your own pet-safe dry shampoo to get through those stinky in-between times. Grab a mixing bowl and combine three tablespoons of baking soda, three tablespoons of cornstarch, and six drops of a skin safe fragrance like lavender. Once combined, transfer to a saltshaker. Give your pup a good brush down before using and then sprinkle lightly, rubbing in the dry shampoo as you go along. Once you’re finished, brush through once more and wipe excess off with a towel.

This hack requires a bit of building, but it will provide endless entertainment for your furry pal. Depending on the size of your pet, you’ll need eight ounces, 20 ounces, one liter or two liter bottles. You’ll also need a couple of pieces of spare wood to create a frame for the toy, and a wooden or metal dowel. First, you’ll need to put holes in your bottles to fit on the wooden or metal dowel. To determine the width of your frame, determine the diameter of the bottle at widest part + number of bottles + inches you want in-between each bottle + enough extra to slide through the wood = width of frame needed. To determine the height of your frame, punch holes in the bottles, run your wooden or metal rod through them and then measure the length of the longest side. Add at least an inch to this for clearance, and that is how tall your frame needs to be. Fill bottles with kibble or treats and watch your pup go crazy.

With a new dog, young or old, there will be adjustments in bathroom schedules, and there’s bound to be accidents. When those accidents happen, blot up as much excess liquid as you can and then sprinkle generously with baking soda. After a moment, spray the baking soda area with a spray that’s equal parts vinegar and water, which will create an intense bubbling effect. Allow this mixture to dry and then vacuum to remove residue.

New clothes and collars for your furry friend can get quite pricey. A quick trip to Goodwill can provide you with a daily outfit change for you to keep your pet cute and stylish and keep your wallet full. Grab some old men’s collared button up shirts. Cut the collar of the shirt off along the hem that attaches the collar to the body of the shirt, leaving the top button of the shirt attached to the collar.