Your Greyhound is a source of joy — and a lot of work. Last week we looked at some creative dog-owner life hacks that could make your life so much easier: tips for shedding, feeding, pills, cleaning up accidents. Find the blog here https://bit.ly/pawsome-dog-hacks. This week we are going to look at some more ways to save time and money.
HOT WEATHER COOLERS
Make a pupsicle by pouring low sodium chicken broth (no garlic or onions) into an ice cube tray. Cover with plastic wrap, and poke a hole over each cup, inserting a small milkbone or other treat like a handle. You can also use applesauce, or yogurt/applesauce, or peanut butter. Whatever you use should be free of added sugar, Xylitol, salt, or other additives.
A super easy, healthy frozen treat would be frozen blueberries, peas, or banana chunks. You could even throw a couple of ice cubes into your dog’s water dish.
If you have room in your freezer, how about a cake-sicle? Take a plastic bowl, put in some treats, maybe a ball or bone, fill with a water/chicken broth mixture and freeze overnight. Your pups will have a greyt time licking on that (outside or on a plate).
Urban legend has it that ice cubes are bad for dogs, but this belief is not backed by science. The dog’s excess body heat will melt the ice and bring the resulting water to normal body temperature. That’s how they cool off. Check with your vet if you’re not convinced.
Dogs also cool off through their feet. Take a bucket of cool water and have your dog stand in it for a few minutes (front first, then back).
Make a cooling vest with an old towel or T-shirt. Soak in cool water and wrap across your hound’s back and sides. Rinse it frequently.
Bring home a plastic kiddie wading pool, fill with water and watch your Greyhound have a blast.
For an on-the-go water dish, take a cheap plastic beach ball, cut it in half, fold one half and put it in your pocket. Now you will always have a portable water plate with you.
Sadly, some dogs are terrified of thunder, and with summer coming, there will be lots of storms. Here are a few ideas to try and comfort your hound and help him get through them:
Thunder shirts help some dogs, but can be pricey. Make your own body wrapping with an old T-shirt or sweatshirt. Wrap it so that it fits your dog’s body tightly, like a hug.
Many times, it’s the electric charge in the air and not the actual storm that upsets dogs during bad weather. Rub him down with a dryer sheet to see if that helps.
A calming environment may help. Close the drapes, put on some calming music, maybe a fan blowing or have the TV on to mask the sound of the thunder. Usually classical music has a relaxing effect on dogs. Dog-specific music CDs by Through a Dog’s Ear are available here http://bit.ly/MusictoCalmYourDog.
Rescue Remedy or Calms Forte are homeopathic remedies for anxiety, sold for people but safe for pets as well. Calms Forte was the #1 go-to for our Greyhound with thunder phobia. Available at health food stores, larger grocery stores, or online.
If all else fails, talk to your veterinarian.
T-shirt rope toy – old T-shirts that no one is wearing any more can be turned into T-shirt yarn, which is just long, thin strips of T-shirt, which looks super colorful when it’s braided. Try the friendship bracelet method, don’t worry: It’s pretty easy, and YouTube has tons of tutorials. You’ll need 12 strips of yarn (at about 1-2 yards long) to braid into a rope toy using this technique.
Plastic bottles are so last decade, but if you still bring one home occasionally, before tossing it in the recycle bin why not see if your dog likes the crinkly sound? Just empty it out, and remove the cap and plastic ring. Or fashion it into a tug toy with more T-shirt strips.
Tattered towels are given new life when they’re fashioned into (washable!) toys for your pup! Just cut three strips of towel, about 4 inches wide and at least 12 inches long. Tie them off at one end with a small towel strip (1 inch wide and 6 inches long). Braid and use another strip to tie off the end.
Flirt stick - for any dog who loves a good game of chase. It works like a cat wand, dangling toys all in the name of fun. It’s made with PVC pipe, rope, and a favorite toy. Simply thread rope through the pipe and tie your toy to the end.
Treat ball – carefully cut a 1 to 1-1/2” slit in an old tennis ball and fill with small treats. A tennis ball for dogs is preferred, as regular tennis balls can have a layer of sandpaper under the outer coat, which can wear down your dog’s tooth enamel. If your dog doesn’t rip the fuzzy outer layer off, you should be OK. Do not leave them unattended with this toy.
FLEAS AND TICKS
Some parts of the country are inundated with fleas, which makes it a full time battle to keep them in check. To see if your dog has fleas, rub him with a white towel or have him lay down on a white towel or sheet, then brush. Fleas or flea dirt will show up against the white.
To get rid of fleas, use a DIY flea shampoo: Mix ½ Cup water, ¼ Cup dog shampoo and ¼ Cup vinegar. With your dog in the tub, lather their body up with the mixture, careful with the head. Do not get any in eyes or ears. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly, and comb with a flea comb.
To deter fleas:
- Brewer’s yeast in food
- Rub dog with a little coconut oil, massage into skin, wipe off excess
- Spray with vinegar/water mix every time you go out
- Essential oils on dog bed, in shampoo, and on a bandanna all help repel fleas. Try lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, cedar or rosemary. Check with your vet, as using the right quantity matters, but you will be avoiding toxic chemicals.
- Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is a great flea repellant and kills them and their eggs. Put in food and on dogs’ coats. Can also use on carpet, around baseboards, door entrances, etc.
Ticks are easier to remove if you dab them with a swab soaked in liquid dish soap, which kills the tick. Vaseline suffocates ticks to death when applied on them. Also Vaseline is the safest remedy to remove ticks in dog ears and other tender regions. Once the tick dies, try to tweeze it off the skin completely with a single good pull without splitting it apart. You can also get various tick removing tools, such as Ticked Off https://bit.ly/ticked-off.
5 BONUS HACKS
If your dog scratches the door to go out, use a door protector to minimize damages. You can also make your own door protector by applying clear contact paper to the part of the door where your dog is likely to scratch.
Does your dog have arthritis or weak limbs? If your dog needs some extra support getting up and around you can make your own dog sling to help. You could use a towel to help in a pinch. Dunnville Animal Clinic came up with a better solution, though: take a canvas shopping bag and cut the sides off – you have a dog lift harness, and it’s washable. Keep one in your car for older dogs who have trouble getting in and out.
Put an extra collar around your leash handle to make it hands-free: just wrap it around your wrist.
Use a giant carabiner to hold multiple leashes at once in one hand.
Never, ever leave pets in your hot car! The temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes according to a recent study! Cracking your windows makes little difference in the power of the sun to turn your car into a death oven. Take your pets with you or leave them at home, but don’t lock them in your car!
I hope some of these tips will help you manage dog ownership a little more easily, so you have more time to enjoy your dog. Remember, each day with your dog is a gift.
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