Creative Hacks That Every Dog Owner Should Know

Owning a dog can be an absolute joy, but it does come with some challenges. For instance, your floor and clothes may seem to be covered in fur 24/7, gardening can be impossible with a dig-loving pooch, and don’t even get us started on trying to get them to swallow a pill. Fortunately, there are plenty of hacks to make your life as a dog owner more manageable. From removing odors with baking soda and vinegar to squeegeeing the fur out of your carpet, you’ll be amazed at these tried-and-true dog owner tips.

Apply Dog Toothpaste To A Chew Toy For Dental Hygiene

PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

While canines don’t require the same dental attention as humans, some owners like to brush their dog’s teeth as a preventative measure. If your pooch has an aversion to the toothbrush, try smearing some dog toothpaste onto their chew toy.

The toothpaste will get into their teeth as they chew, especially if you apply it to rope for a game of tug-of-war. There are also specially designed toys that have bristles for a more thorough clean.

Use A Squeegee To Get Fur Out Of The Carpet

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Sometimes no matter how many times you go over the carpet with a vacuum, it seems like dog fur remains. If the hair has become tightly lodged into your carpet or rug, try running a window squeegee along the area.

The rubber edge of the squeegee with cling to the fur, bringing it up to the surface. Rub it back and forth vigorously until the hair comes loose, then go over it with a vacuum.

Use A Walnut To Buff Out Wood Scratches

Wouter Supardi/Unsplash
Wouter Supardi/Unsplash

If you have hardwood floors or wooden furniture that your dog accidentally scratched up, don’t fret. The solution is a simple walnut! Take the walnut and rub it in a circular pattern and back and forth along the length of the scratch.

Then, rub the scratch with your fingers to further let the walnut’s oil seep into the wood. Wait for a few minutes, and then take a soft cloth and buff the area. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly if anyone with nut allergies will be in the house.

Keep Your Dog Cool With A Kiddie Pool

Matt Jonas/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
Matt Jonas/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

If you live in a climate that gets very hot during summers, it’s important to remember that dogs can be even more sensitive to overheating than humans. To keep them cool while still getting outdoor time, consider a kiddie pool.

A cheap pool made of hard plastic will provide your dog all they need for playful relief from the heat. Also, be sure to test the ground before taking your dog on a walk when it’s hot out. If you can’t touch the asphalt for more than five seconds comfortably, then it’s too hot for your pooch.

Remove Dog Urine With Baking Soda

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER

Especially if you have a puppy, you’ve probably grown accustomed to having to clean up dog accidents around the house. Rather than spending a fortune on special products, just stock up on baking soda.

Pour the powder onto the urine spill, rubbing it in with a wet rag, and let it sit for several minutes. The baking soda will not only sanitize the area, but it will also remove the smell. Simply vacuum it up to reveal a revived carpet, rug, or even mattress.

Create A Digging Box To Save Your Garden

Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some dogs can’t get enough of digging, even if it means destroying your yard or garden. A helpful compromise that will make both you and your dog happy is to build a digging box. Built a wooden sandbox and train your dog to only dig in there.

The simplest way to build one is to buy a garden kit that comes with precut wood. Be sure to lay a slab of wood at the base to prevent your dog from digging too deep.

Make A Tug Toy Out Of Old Clothes

Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

If you have old clothes that are too worn out to donate, put them to good use by making a dog toy out of them. Take two cotton tees and cut them into two-inch-wide strips. Gather the strips and tie them together at one end.

Then, divide the strips into thirds and braid them. Tie the other end like you did the first and cut any stragglers off. The result should be a rope-like tug toy that smells just like you!

Give Your Dog Pills With Homemade Pill Pockets

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Getting your dog to swallow a pill can be an impossible deed. To make the process much easier for you both, try making a pill pocket. Simply mix one part milk, one part crunchy peanut butter, and two parts flour.

Stir them together and form them into the shape of a pill pocket. The simple recipe is much cheaper to make than the premade versions at the store, and dogs love them. Store any leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

Use Rubber Gloves To Pick Up Loose Fur

ds_30/Pixabay
ds_30/Pixabay

Whether your dog is a heavy shedder or just a seasonal one, keeping your house fur-free can be quite a chore. Especially when it comes to getting into tight crevices, removing fur isn’t always the easiest.

To make the job easier, try putting on a pair of rubber gloves and running them over the areas that need cleaning. You’ll be amazed at how well the fur sticks to rubber gloves, and afterward you can simply rinse them right off.

Protect Your Dog’s Paws In The Winter With Vaseline

Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

If you live somewhere that gets very cold in the winter, be sure to take into consideration how the ground may impact your dog’s paws. While one option is to buy them winter boots, a cheaper option that your canine may prefer is to simply use some petroleum jelly.

By applying a thick coat of vaseline to the bottom of your dog’s paws, you’re creating a barrier that will keep snow, ice, and salt out of their toes. It also keeps their paws hydrated and prevents cracking.

Use Popcorn To Teach Your Puppy How To Catch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Puppies are adorably eager to do everything, even if that means getting bonked in the face while they try to learn how to catch. If you don’t have any soft toys to play with, try popping some popcorn.

Popcorn is light but aerodynamic enough to be thrown with some precision. Plus, your dog will be extra motivated to catch it because it’s food! Be sure to opt for plain popcorn and to keep their intake moderate.

Use Baby Wipes To Prevent Fur From Clogging The Drain

Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images
Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Especially if you have a long-haired dog, you may notice that your shower drain clogs whenever you give them a groom. An easy fix is to use baby wipes to block the hair from getting into the drain.

If you have a removable stopper, simply take it out and place the baby wipe over the hole before plugging it. If not, then place the baby wipe over the entire stopper once it’s plugged. After your pet’s bath, hold down the wipe and let the water drain through it to collect the fur.

Use Dryer Sheets To Pick Up Pet Fur

downy-dryer-sheet
Downy
Downy

If you don’t have rubber gloves on hand, another way to get fur out easily is with dryer sheets. Since they’re made to cling to particles in the dryer, they do an excellent job of grabbed fur off surfaces.

Simple rub the dryer sheet over your furniture, clothes, or any other item that’s covered in fur. The hair will cling to the sheet more effectively than using regular paper towels. Afterward, just toss the dirty sheet right out.

Use Vinegar To Get The ‘Dog Smell’ Out Of The House

Ben McCanna/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Ben McCanna/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Have you ever been to someone’s house and you can immediately tell that they have a dog because of the smell? It isn’t a terrible odor, but it certainly isn’t desirable. To avoid being that friend, just fill a spray bottle with plain white vinegar.

Spray along the carpet and other areas where the smell is strong. Open the windows to air out the house. As the vinegar smell dissipates, the dog odor will go out with it.

Make A Temporary Dog Sling Out Of A Fabric Shopping Bag

SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images
SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images

As dogs age, they sometimes develop problems with their joints. This can result in their inability to stand up on their own. While it’s important to get a proper sling from a vet that will withstand the dog’s weight and feel comfortable, tote bags make a great alternative if you’re in a bind.

Simply cut the sides of the bag so that the front, back, and bottom are all that remains. Wrap the dog in the tote so that the bottom is at their belly, and use the handles as an aid to lift them.

Use Safety Straps To Keep Your Dog Out Of The Garbage

baby-safety-strap
DHgate
DHgate

If your dog loves getting into the garbage, it may be time to take measures into your own hands. Canines can become sick by eating the wrong thing from the trash, and some take longer than others to learn to obey.

To keep your dog safe, try using a safety strap. Generally marketed for babies, these straps will prevent your dog from being able to open the trash lid, drawer, or cabinet with their nose or paw.

Use A Credit Card To Take Out A Bee Stinger

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Dogs adore being outside and sniffing the bushes, so it’s no wonder that they are susceptible to bee stings. If your dog does get stung, you’ll need to remove the stinger in such a way that part of it isn’t left behind.

To ensure the entire stinger comes out, slide a credit card along the dog’s skin and past the stinger. Use a cold compress to ease the dog’s pain and watch out for signs of an allergic reaction.

Soften Kibble With Warm Water

Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Kibble is the least expensive of dog foods, making it a popular pick for owners who are on a budget. The downside is that the food can be abrasive of canine mouths, making your pooch hesitant to eat it everyday.

To make the food a little easier to chew, simply add some water to the kibble. Warm water works best at breaking down the kibble so that it’s soft and easy for your pet to get down.

Use Packing Or Duct Tape As A Makeshift Lint Roller

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Many dog owners will stress the importance of checking your outfit for dog fur before leaving the house. Especially if you’re on the way to a professional event, having a lint roller on hand can be vital for anyone with a pet.

A cheaper alternative for a lint roller that you probably already have is a roll of duct or packaging tape. Wrap a piece of tape around your hand so that the sticky side is facing out, then glide it over your clothes, letting it roll around your hand.

Reward Your Dog With Rubs And Games Instead Of Treats

Lee Celano/WireImage for Silver Spoon (formerly The Cabana)/Getty Images
Jack Milton/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

For many dogs, training is all about the positive reinforcement. If you’re challenging your dog with various tricks, but don’t want to overdo it on the treats, try switching up the rewards.

Instead of giving them the same old treat, offer up a belly rub or a game of tug-of-war. Dogs can pick up on your emotional response, and will know that the positivity is a result of something they did right. Call them “good boy/girl” and give them some love.