Why the heck haven’t I thought of that?
That’s what I was thinking the whole time I was doing research and surveying my coworkers on some of the best pet hacks out there. And I’m sure you’re gonna be thinking that here soon, too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my pets more than anything in this world. But sometimes, taking care of them isn’t always a cakewalk. The chewing, the scratching, the nail trimming, the bouncing off the walls … you catch my drift. And correcting these behaviors or issues can cost quite a bit of money.
That’s why I’ve put together a list of 10 dog and cat hacks that will hopefully make all of our lives easier and save us some money.
1. Freeze toys or treats in water for the perfect enrichment activity
This hack is a summer favorite because it keeps your pup busy, stimulated and cool during hot weather, but also because it’s FREE. All you do is freeze your pup’s favorite toys, bones or treats in water and make them work to get them out.
Bonus hack: While there’s little evidence that proves dogs can get brain freezes, experts still recommend giving them icy treats in smaller portions because, like humans, they are mammals with complex nervous systems. And if we know one thing, most dogs aren’t going to stop eating something “yummy” (because water has so much flavor) even if it’s causing them a sharp pain.
2. Baking soda and vinegar helps remove urine stains and odor from carpet
Potty accidents are almost always bound to happen when bringing a new puppy home, so you should know how you can get those smelly stains out of your carpet with these two common household ingredients: baking soda and white vinegar. First, use a paper towel or old rag to blot the stain dry. Then in a spray bottle, mix equal parts water and vinegar to spray and scrub the carpet. While the spot is still wet, sprinkle some baking soda on top and a little extra of the vinegar mix, rub it in and leave it until it dries. Vacuum it up when it dries, and poof! The stain and smell are both gone without using harsh chemicals or spending money.
3. Trim nails inside the bathtub with a little peanut butter on the wall
From our very own Dr. Stefanie Albrecht, this hack makes the pain of cutting your pet’s nails so much easier. For one, the peanut butter on the wall keeps them distracted. And for two, doing it inside the tub calls for a quick-and-easy clean-up (for both the nails and the PB).
4. Place outdoor food or water bowls inside a tire so they can’t tip it over
This is a little hack our outreach team often tells our clients who have large, outdoor dogs with lots of time on their paws. If they’ve made a habit of knocking over their food or water bowls for entertainment, switch out their bowls for two or five-gallon buckets (depending on their size) and place them inside of an old tire. For smaller dogs, you can also bungee them to the fence or a tree nearby.
5. Play fetch downhill to burn off more energy
This is my personal favorite, and I’m a little upset that I didn’t know about this hack before. Playing fetch downhill with your pup burns more energy and wears them out faster because they have to run all the way uphill to bring the ball or toy back. It’s genius, I know. And it’s especially perfect for dogs or young pups who never seem to run out of energy. However, if you’ve got a couch potato, you might end up being the one doing more work.
6. Sprinkle baking soda or green tea leaves in their litter box for odor control
Here I go again saying pets stink. But, let’s be honest, they do … even though we still love them. That’s why every cat owner is obsessed with this litter box hack. By sprinkling baking soda or green tea in your cat’s litter box, it helps mask that strong odor, keeping it smelling fresh and clean. These ingredients are safe for your cat and might already be items you have at hand at home.
7. Leaving their cat carrier out and open helps make getting them in it a whole lot easier
You probably have your cat carrier tucked away in the back of your closet, and it’s probably a pain to get your cat in it when it’s time to make that annual trip to the vet. However, leaving it out in your house with the door open gives them the freedom to lounge in it whenever they’d like and not always have to associate it with going to a new place and refusing to get in.
8. Wrap sisal rope around furniture legs or other items to keep them from damaging it
Scratching is a natural instinct in cats; it helps keep their claws in proper shape and, fun fact, reduces stress. However, oftentimes your lovely furniture is the victim. All you need is sisal rope to fix this problem. Just wrap it around the legs of the furniture they like to scratch on and boom. You have your very own DIY cat scratching post. Cardboard is also very helpful to have around the house.
9. Spray equal parts vinegar and water on things they shouldn’t be chewing on
There are lots of us plant lovers here at PRCKC, and most of us have cats who like to chew on them. But, if you didn’t know already, house plants like peace lilies, aloe vera and snake plants are toxic to cats, so it’s extremely important to know how to keep them from getting into them. Just mix equal parts water and white vinegar to do the trick. You can spray it on plants, cords or anything they shouldn’t be chewing on to keep them safe.
10. Freeze canned food for a little enrichment activity
Just like dogs, cats need enrichment, too. And freezing their canned food is the perfect way to do so. It’s a tasty treat, but it also helps keep them hydrated, which is extremely important. Wild cats get most of their water from the prey they eat, and they also can’t see flat water in a bowl very well, so they don’t drink much water. They can hear it better, which is why your cat always comes running when you turn the faucet on.
So there you have it, folks. I hope you enjoyed these pet hacks and will put them to good use. Because, as always, we’re all about keeping pets and people together through the most affordable way possible. Because, no matter their situation, every person deserves to have a pet.