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Dog moms and dads, your life is about to get so much easier. Check out these tips I’ve been using to overcome everything from daily challenges to minor inconveniences that come with being the guardian of two darling doggies.

Easily open plastic poop bags

It can be tough to open poop bags, especially when your dog is pulling at the leash trying to leave the scene of the crime. The thin plastic clings together, just like those annoying produce bags at the grocery store. In a post-COVID world, the last thing I want to do is lick my fingertips to help me separate the opening.

The fix? Call your dog over and let them sniff your fingertips. That cold, wet nose will moisten your fingertips just enough to make it super easy to open the bag!

Get lots of cheap, long-lasting high value treats

The cheaper dog treats at the store are usually those bland cookies that dogs hate. The tasty, smelly, sticky meat treats are expensive, and the moist, chewy texture dries out quickly. The highest value treats – hot dogs, cheese, and chicken – are super perishable and inconvenient to prepare.

The fix? Grab some air dried dog food.

It has a light, crunchy texture that doesn’t change, and lasts forever so you can separate it into smaller baggies and have a treat stash ready to go, anytime, anywhere.

Since it’s 100% complete and balanced, you can give your dog as much as they want, while you have to limit most treats to about 10% of your dog’s diet.

Remember – air dried, not dehydrated. Dehydrated food tends to be dry and powdery. It’s great for meals, but needs to be rehydrated. Air dried food has a light, airy, crunchy texture.

Ziwipeak (check Amazon for price) and Tru Dog are two great air dried dog foods that make fantastic high value treats.

Hate Carrying A Loaded Poop Bag?

I love being a responsible dog parent. Picking up poop with nothing but a thin layer of plastic protecting my hand doesn’t even phase me anymore.

But walking down the street with a lumpy, stinky poop bag is embarrassing.

I use a leash poop bag holder I got from Amazon, but if you don’t have one, just grab a spare chip bag clip from your cabinet. Clip it to your leash, and when your dog goes, just stick the bag right on there.

Important tip: Always clip the poop close to the leash handle, rather than further down closer to your dog. Otherwise, the warm bag of poop swings around and hits you in the leg and ruins your day. Ask me how I know.

Can’t Find Anything For Your Tiny Dog To Wear?

If you have a small dog or puppy, you may notice that even the XS sizes at the pet store are too big for your little one.

You can make quite a few outfits by cutting holes into socks. I’ve even used socks to make washable panties for Matilda before she was spayed, so she wouldn’t bleed everywhere when she was in heat.

Also, check the cat, rabbit, and ferret sections of the pet store, they tend to have comfy harnesses that fit small critters.

Scared To Clip Your Dog’s Nails?

Using doggy nail clippers can really suck. It’s hard to cut off enough nail without risking hitting the quick and making your dog bleed. Then, of course, they’ll never trust you to clip their nails ever again.

Use a Dremel! I have some posts about how to use it, and you’ll never again have to worry about hurting your dog. Make sure you have those air-dried munchies, and it’ll be a breeze. No more letting your dog grow gargoyle nails while you wait for the next vet visit.

Can’t See The Quick In Your Dog’s Black Nails?

Dogs with white/pink nails have a quick that’s very easy to see, but those with dark or black nails are harder to cut. Use your phone’s flashlight to shine through their nail to see the quick, then you’ll know exactly where to cut.

Sick Of Stinky Kisses?

Sprinkle parsley on your dog’s food to eliminate puppy breath. Keep in mind, though, that dogs should not have bad breath – it’s a surefire sign of oral bacteria overgrowth. Parsley works in a pinch, but brushing is best to keep your pup’s kisses fresh.

Need To Cut Back? Try A Smaller Bowl

If your dog is overweight, daily overfeeding might be the culprit. One reason we overfeed is because we “eyeball it.” And when your dog’s bowl is too big, an appropriate portion can seem too small.

I noticed that even the smallest dog bowls are way too big for Matilda. Even when I measured her food, the portion looked small because it didn’t even cover the bottom of the bowl, so I’d add a few extra bites out of guilt.

I recently got her a cat saucer, and now her portion fills the bowl nicely, so I don’t feel so bad about feeding her appropriately. This is really more of a mental trick for us, our dogs don’t really notice if the bowl is half-full or half-empty.

Make Leftover Pupsicles

Whether you have extra chicken from dinner that’s more than enough to supplement your dog’s meal, or you have a whole container of bone broth that they’ll never finish, ice cube trays are perfect for portioning and saving just about anything. You can also freeze smoothies into cubes for a tasty treat.

Take Better Phone Pics Of Your Dog

Shoot better photos and videos of your dog with your phone by turning your phone upside down, bringing it close to the ground, and tilting it upwards. You’ll get a shot that’s closer to your dog eye view and shows off more of their cuteness. You can also put it on portrait mode to get that glamour shot.

Stop Recurring Accidents

Does your dog keep pooping or peeing in the same spot in your home? Clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner (not vinegar, baking soda, or anything else… ONLY enzyme cleaner breaks down the stain so even your dog can’t smell it anymore). Then, start feeding your dog in that spot. Your dog will not want to go potty where they eat. However, they may find a new spot in your home to have accidents, so you’ll need to go back to basics and potty-train them from scratch, as though they were a puppy. That’s the only way to break the habit and stop accidents for good.

Make Better Use Of Your Dog’s Tag

There’s no need to put your dog’s name on their collar tag. You already know their name, but strangers don’t need to know. Including the name makes it easier for someone to call your dog and possibly kidnap them. Just include your address and phone number so your dog can be returned to you.

Get A Carabiner Clip

You can clip your dog’s leash to anything – a tree, pole, sign, if you ever need to quickly tie them up. Never leave your dog unattended while tied up. This is good for camping, setting up a picnic, or using park equipment with your dog in your sight at all times.

You can also use a carabiner to clip the leash to your belt or belt loops for an instant hands-free leash.

Diffuse Essential Oils Where You Need Them

Certain essential oils can be used to help your dog feel calm or to repel fleas. I’m no expert on them, but I do know that some can be toxic to dogs if placed on skin or inhaled. Lavender is safe for dogs and can help relieve anxiety. Place just a drop on their favorite blanket, collar, or bandana. Or, make a quick diffuser by mixing a few drops into a jar full of rice.

Turn Dry Food Into Tasty Mush

Mix kibble with warm water, then refrigerate for up to three days. You’ll get a mush that some dogs find more appetizing than dry food. You can also add your dog’s favorite toppers to this mush so they won’t be able to pick them out while leaving kibble behind. Kibble mush is higher in volume with the same number of calories, so it can help your dog feel full on a weight loss diet. It’s also hydrating, great for keeping your dog’s digestive and urinary tracts healthy.

Reach Those Back Teeth While Brushing

My new favorite way to brush my dog’s teeth is by sitting on the floor behind her so she’s facing away from me. She’s able to sit in a more natural position while I scrub her tiny teeth. I can hold her close to me to keep her from squirming too much. It just works!

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.
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