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20 Dog Hacks To Make Life Easier On You & Your Pup

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on January 18, 2017

Dogs certainly enhance our lives, but they can also add a good deal of work to our schedules. Thank goodness there’s a life hack for just about everything these days – including your dog!

These 20 simple tricks help you give them the best of the best without breaking the bank or losing your entire weekend!


1. Old Sweatshirts Make Awesome Small Dog Beds

There’s nothing cozier to your dog than a soft piece of clothing that smells like you. Save money on cheaply made dog beds by making your own with just a pillow and an old sweatshirt! Here’s how!

2. Crib Mattress + Fitted Sheet = Big Dog Bed

What happens to that old crib mattress when baby outgrows it? While people often pass on the crib itself, the mattress usually ends up in the attic or at the dump. With just an inexpensive fitted sheet you can turn it into a luxurious bed for your dog instead!

3. Make A DIY Dog Nook From Old Furniture

Got an old, dinged-up side table or dresser? Instead of sending it to the landfill, check out hundreds of Pinterest DIY tutorials to create a stylish, unique clubhouse for your pup!

4. Natural Baby Wipes Make Affordable Hypoallergenic Paw Cleaners

Many baby product sellers are cutting the chemicals and going more natural with wipes made using vinegar. These same wipes are perfect for cleaning dirty paws and removing potential allergens like pollen from allergic pups after going outside. You can even make your own by pouring white vinegar and a splash of tea tree oil over thick paper towels and storing them in a ziploc bag.

5. Use Your Acting Skills To Catch A Loose Dog

Dogs love a good chase so the next time your precocious pooch gets out without a leash, resist the urge to pursue him. Instead, pretend to fall down or cry out for help. Chances are your loving pup won’t be able to resist the urge to come and check on you!

6. DIY Dog Shampoo

If your stinky dog desperately needs a bath in a pinch you can create your own shampoo from these 5 simple ingredients:

  1. 1 quart of water.
  2. 1 cup of baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap.
  3. 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  4. 1/3 cup of glycerine.
  5. 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel.

*This mixture is intended for dogs with regular, healthy skin. Consult your veterinarian if your dog is prone to allergies, flaking or any other skin conditions.

7. Turn Your Old Sweaters Into Doggy Duds

Don’t toss your stretched-out, pilly old sweaters! The sleeves make perfect winter wear for smaller dogs! Even if you don’t dress your own pup, shelters are always searching for ways to keep adoptable dogs warm – make a few and donate them!

8. Out-Of-Style Cargo Pants Make Great Cooling Vests

Cargo pants were all the rage in the 90’s, but unless you’re a dock worker, it’s time to retire them! Luckily this tutorial shows you how to turn them into a cooling dog harness for your active pup.

Image Credit: Life Hacker

9. Vaseline Protects Paw Pads From Snow & Ice

Doggy paws are designed to handle the elements, but even the toughest pads could use a little TLC in snowy conditions. A quick smear of petroleum jelly on all four paws will help your dog enjoy the snow without the soreness afterwards.

10. Use The 5 Second Rule In The Summer Heat

Wondering if it’s too hot to walk the dog on the asphalt sidewalk? Hold your hand on the surface for 5 seconds – if you can’t do it or it’s uncomfortable then it’s not safe to walk your pup!

11. Chicken Baby Food Can Help Get Your Sick Or Senior Pup Eating Again

This very stinky sludge smells great to pets and provides plenty of moisture, too. Dogs recovering from an illness or struggling with poor appetite often respond to its powerful aroma and easy-to-eat texture.

12. Make Your Own Chicken (Or Turkey) Jerky Treats

You don’t have to own a food dehydrator to make those delicious jerky treats your dog loves. Here’s how to make them in your oven for a safer, money-saving alternative to store bought treats!

13. Prevent Overfeeding With This Simple DIY Magnet

I don’t know about your dogs, but in my household the pups sometimes get double fed on those busy days when my husband and I barely cross paths. This easy magnet lets your housemates know if the dog has been fed or not. Get creative with it!

14. Soothe Stings

A poultice of baking soda and water can help ease the pain and swelling of an insect bite or sting. Stinger still in the skin? Remove it with the flat edge of a credit card.

*Watch for facial swelling or distress that may indicate an allergic reaction – seek veterinary care as needed.

15. Make A Splash-Proof Pet Shower Curtain

If you end up wearing as much soap and water as your dog at bath time, create a simple splash guard by cutting arm holes in a clear shower liner!

16. Protect Your Car Seats With A Cozy DIY Doggy Hammock

Tired of vacuuming your backseat after every trip to the dog park? A simple do-it-yourself car hammock can solve that! They’re comfy and safe, too! View the tutorial at

17. Remove Ticks Easily

Once attached, ticks are not inclined to back out willingly. Save the petroleum jelly, peanut butter and matches (eek!) and grab the pointy-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick where the head meets the body and pull back gently – do not twist or squeeze too tightly, it’s important to remove the entire tick.

18. Storm Anxiety? Try A Dryer Sheet

If your dog is frightened during thunder storms it could be due to the static electricity rather than the noise.  Try rubbing a dryer sheet along your dog’s coat to neutralize the charge.

19. Pool Noodle For Arthritic Pups

When older dogs begin to have trouble using their hind legs, a simple pool noodle can help. Cut it down so that it fits comfortably under your dog’s hips. feed a rope or lead through the center hole and you have a sling you can use to help your pal outside for potty breaks.

20. Onesies Or T-Shirts For Itchy Dogs

Rashes and post-surgical stitches make it hard for dogs to resist the itch. Instead of a cumbersome e-collar, try a baby onesie for small dogs or an adult t-shirt for bigger pups.

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