New to the dog owner game? You've got to learn some essential tips for dog owners or you're going to have a tough time. Dogs need a lot of love and attention, but there are also some easy hacks you can try to make life with a pet more manageable and enjoyable for both of you. So, without further ado, here are the most essential tips for dog owners.
1. Place a Mat or Towel under Their Food and Water Bowl
This may seem like a simple tip but it will help you a lot. There is always that one dog that loves to play with water or pick a piece of kibble up and place it on the ground. Some dogs with longer fur may also drip water on the ground after taking a sip. By placing a mat under the bowls, it will help absorb any lose water and also prevent the ground around it from getting too dirty, saving you time in cleaning up their mess. Just make sure to clean it at least once a week or more if it's too dirty. This is one of my favorite essential tips for dog owners.
2. Cheap Fenced Area
Unfortunately this tip is mostly for owners with small dogs. Not everyone can afford to hire someone to build a fence. However, you can, definitely get a decent one. All you need is a couple of exercise pens and zip ties. You can easily find second hand exercise pens for cheap on Facebook or Craigslist. Usually they cost around $20-$25. Just zip tie the panels together and you have your own fenced area! However, if you have escape artist like mine who climbs over the exercise pens, you may consider getting deer mesh or bird mesh to cover the top. Deer mesh can be found at Walmart for about $5.
3. Cable Run
If you cannot afford the above tip, consider doing a cable run for your dogs instead. You can place the cable across two trees or posts and get a moveable pulley for your dog. Now he can run around without you worrying too much. Make sure to keep an eye on his leash though, as they could get hooked on stuff. A harness is recommended for this, as it lowers the chances of choking your dogs when caught on something.
4. Baby Gates
Specialized dog gates can be expensive. That's why baby gates are such a popular option if you just need a simple barricade. A cheap wooden one can be found online easily and it can be as low as $5 used or $15 new. Much cheaper as compared to a $30-$60 pet gate, and it still does its job! If your dog uses the bars or holes to climb up, consider getting clear PVC and pasting it on one side so that your dog can't climb it anymore.
5. DIY Pet Bed
Instead of getting an expensive bed, why not take a look around your household and see if you have any materials laying around that you could use to make one? There are many ways to make your own dog bed. Here is an easy one: All you need is some towels, a long sleeve shirt and some stuffing or old pillow. Slip the towels into the sleeves of the shirt. Next, stuff the shirt with stuffing or an old pillow and sew it shut. Twist the towel-stuffed sleeves so that it circles the stuffed shirt and sew it together. Now, you have a self made pillow for your dog!
6. DIY Pet Toys
Dogs needs a variety of toys to keep them occupied and relieve boredom when you are away. Imagine playing with the same toys over and over again. It gets boring and it's the same for dogs. However, we all know that it gets too expensive. That's why, you should consider making your own toys. There are so many possibilities and you even get to recycle! Here's a couple of easy toys:
Brain teaser: Cut out some squares around an empty clean plastic bottle. Make sure that it is big enough for one treat to fall out at a time. Fill it up with treats. Watch as your dog tries to get the treat out by shaking and rolling it.
Tug-o-war rope: Cut an unwanted shirt into strips. Knot at least 3 together and start braiding. Seal it with another knot and there you have it! Add more strips if you want a thicker rope.
7. DIY Flea Bath
This is mostly for puppies 12 weeks and younger. If you have a puppy that is not old enough for flea medication or specialized flea shampoo yet, you can consider showering your puppy with water, vinegar and Dawn dish soap. However, make sure you dilute it and refrain from showering them too much as it can be drying for your puppy. The solution should be 1 part vinegar, 1 part dawn dish soap and 4 parts water.
It is better to mix the solution in the basin and rub it onto the puppy instead of putting Dawn directly onto the puppy. This solution will not kill all the fleas immediately, but it should remove and kill a good amount of fleas in a few days time.
8. Gyro Leashes
If you own more than 1 dog, you will find that walking them can be difficult if they love to tangle the lines or be like Pongo from 101 Dalmations. Gyro leash or 2 way leads are the way to go. They have a swivel that allows your dogs to move around without tangling the lines. There is a similar product called leash splitter. It has two lines that you connect to your leash. However, I do not recommend it as it gives the stronger dog control on where to go. This means that the stronger dog may tug the other dog and it could cause injuries. For the gyro leash or 2 way lead, the split is closer to you so they will not be able to tug each other.
9. Butt Fur Trimming
This is more applicable to dogs with long coats. It is very important to trim their butt fur to ensure that poop does not get stuck on it. This will save you time and energy. A clogged butt can be very dangerous to dogs as it causes discomfort and their butthole may get sensitive. This can lead to problems as well.
10. Flea and Tick Medication
Many people use flea medication after bathing their dogs. However, it is better to put medications such like Frontline before you shower your animal. After 48 hours have passed since application, you can shower your dog.
It is better to do it before shower as the oil helps to absorb it better. It also helps to kill more fleas. This is because during the shower, some of the fleas may have jumped off in the process and stayed in your house (e.g. in carpets). However, if you don’t give your dog a shower before Frontline, it doesn't give the fleas any reason to hop off.