We’re all always looking for something to make our lives just a little bit easier. Life as a pet owner is no exception. Here is a list of TRIED AND TRUE tricks for both dog and cat owners. I speak from experience; I have tried and can vouch for every one of the tips below.
1. Load That Puppy Up!
Don’t go overboard, but buying a small backpack is a great investment ESPECIALLY for your high energy puppy. Yes, you will probably have to end up purchasing multiple sizes, but it is so very worth it. Train your little pup to wear the pack on walks. Add a water bottle to each side when he is ready. The added weight helps give your dog a job, a purpose and makes them wear out a little quicker.
2. Introduce that New Baby Smell
If your family ups the headcount of humans, be sure to introduce that new baby smell to your animals before actually bringing the baby home. Have Dad, or another helpful family member or friend, bring home one of the bazillion hospital blankets that your little one has been swaddled in. Introduce your pets to the scent on the blanket. It’s amazing how much they seem to understand. They’ll recognize the scent when it’s time to officially welcome the new baby home.
3. No Cats Allowed…
Tired of your cat(s) scratching furniture? Cats usually have a favorite spot to destroy, at least mine always did. You can use double sided tape to help save your furniture and your sanity. You can either use regular double sided tape, or check at a pet supply store for special double sided tape strips. These things worked in my home, and I got to keep my sofa just a little bit longer.
4. SLOW DOWN!
If your dog or cat eats too fast, there are some DIY tricks to slow them down. For cats, spread their food out in a shallow dish or on a plate. For dogs, place a tennis ball in the middle of the bowl. My dog has pretty much doubled her eating time thanks to this handy little tip.
5. The Green Bean Diet
Several dogs in our extended family have had to go on the green bean diet. You should never implement an extreme change in your dog’s diet without first consulting your vet, but more than one vet has recommended the green bean diet in our neck of the woods. For dogs who need to shed a few pounds, you can decrease the amount of dog food they are eating and supplement their meal with canned green beans (make sure they don’t have added salt). The beans don’t have many calories but leave the dog feeling full so as not to beg for more dinner. Like I said, always consult your vet, but this might be an idea if your Fido is a little too fluffy.
6. Scoop in Secret
Do you have a cat that becomes irritable or angry after you clean their box? They could be territorial of their litter. To help keep everyone calm, put your cat away, or close the door to the room where the litter box is kept. Do the scooping and cleaning secretly. Once the entire process is finished (including a good hand washing), let the cat back in. This has been a complete game changer for a dear friend of mine.
7. Private Party, Paws Only
The next time you are having company, planning a party, or having something moved in your home, try throwing a paw's only party for your pets. This is primarily for events and visitors that your pets should not be around for. We’ve actually even used it on the 4th of July to help tune out the fireworks and on Halloween during prime trick or treat hours. Take your pets to one of their favorite, door closable rooms. Turn on some music (nothing too crazy), leave their favorite beds and/or toys out, a bowl of water, then close the door. The comfortable environment keeps them distracted from what’s going on past the door and the music helps tune out the other noises (fireworks, doorbell, etc.).
8. Pour Me Some Kibble
Storing pet food can be a hassle. Containers should be airtight, but convenient to access and portion food from. The gallon size pitchers with lids are a wonderful and affordable food storage solution. If you buy your pet food in large bags, you can always store it elsewhere in a large Rubbermaid tub or trash can (all with lids), and refill the pitcher as needed.
9. Puppy Teething Towel
The first time I saw a puppy lose a tooth was NOT the coolest thing ever. I honestly had never considered the fact that those razor sharp puppy chompers had to move out and make room for the big dog teeth. Wet frozen washcloths and/or hand towels make perfect teething tools. They hold up well, but allow your playful pup to gnaw and chew a bit to help their new teeth come on in. Just make sure once they start to thaw out, you rinse them and pop them back into the freezer.
10. The Best Cat Toy Ever
Any cat lover will tell you that the best toys aren’t toys at all. Many of you might even roll your eyes because this might be one of the most shared “tips” ever, but a box is pretty much the best cat toy ever. Shoe boxes, shipping boxes, even empty cereal boxes all make any cat’s day just a bit more exciting. Yarn, little mice, and a box: the keys to a playful kitty.