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Tricks Every Pet Owner Should Know



Pet ownership is a rewarding experience that brings joy and unconditional love to those who embrace the quirks and eccentricities of having a furry friend at home. However, the cost of caring for a pet can quickly add up, making it an expensive undertaking. Despite this, there are several ways for pet owners to save money without compromising their pet’s well-being. Simple hacks such as buying pet food in bulk, making homemade treats, and investing in durable toys can reduce costs while still improving a pet’s quality of life. By being mindful of expenses and seeking out cost-effective solutions, pet owners can continue to enjoy the many benefits of pet ownership without breaking the bank. Saving a few dollars here and there may not seem like much at first, but over time, it can make a significant difference in a pet owner’s overall budget. These simple and effective hacks are just a few examples of how pet owners can provide their furry friends with the best possible care while staying within their budget.

Baking Soda For Nails

Necessary Items: Baking Soda / Cornstarch Price Range: $1/lb While trimming a pet’s nails may not be a favorite task, it is necessary to avoid scratches on both the pet’s owner and furniture. Many pet parents take on the responsibility of nail trimming, but accidents can happen. If the nail is cut too short and bleeding occurs, there is no need to panic. Applying baking soda or cornstarch to the wound can help ease discomfort and stop the bleeding. Once bleeding stops, the area can be cleaned with a gentle rub of a soap bar.

Dog Toothpaste On Rope

Necessary Items: 1 Rope & 1 Tube of Toothpaste Price Range: $10 Good dental hygiene is essential, and the same is true for pets. However, getting a pet to sit still long enough for a thorough brush can be challenging. Instead of struggling, one option is to apply some toothpaste to a favorite rope toy and let the pet chew and tug away while cleaning their teeth. Rope toys are inexpensive and readily available on Amazon, making it an easy and cost-effective way to ensure pets maintain good dental health.

Carrots Over Bones

Necessary Items: 1 lb Carrots Price Range: $0.52 Giving a dog a bone to chew on can lead to sharp bone shards that may cause irreparable damage to their throat or insides. As such, it is best to avoid the problem altogether by giving them carrots to chew on instead. Not only are carrots a healthier option, but they also pose less of a direct threat to a dog’s well-being. Most dogs enjoy the crunch of raw carrots and find it easy to swallow cooked ones, making it an excellent alternative to traditional bone chews.

Neem Oil For Fleas

Necessary Items: One Jug Of 100% Neem Oil, Vegetable Oil, Aloe Vera Gel Price Range: $19.99 Preventing fleas from bothering pets is essential, even if there are no visible signs of infestation. A combination of 100% neem oil, vegetable oil, and aloe gel works well to keep fleas away from dogs. To use, rub the mixture through the dog’s fur. However, neem oil is not suitable for cats, so steeping and cooling neem tea leaves and applying it in the same manner to cats is a safe alternative to keep their fur and home free from fleas.

White Towel Flea Test

Necessary Items: A White Towel And A Brush Price Range: $10 Fleas can cause a significant problem for pets if left untreated, infesting and terrorizing them like little vampires. As soon as the first signs of fleas appear, it’s crucial to purchase flea treatment to avoid the pests from multiplying. But it can be challenging to determine whether your pet is infested or just dirty. A simple solution is to place your pet on a white towel and run a comb or brush through their fur. If you find anything dark that isn’t dirt, it’s time for a flea bath.

Cornstarch On Fur

Necessary Items: Cornstarch And A Brush Price Range: $7 Dogs have a reputation for being less concerned about their cleanliness compared to cats, who groom themselves frequently. As a result, it’s not uncommon for dogs to end up with tangled and dirty fur. Although dogs may not care about their matted fur, their owners often do. If you’re having trouble getting the knots out of your dog’s fur, try using cornstarch. It can help to loosen up the tangles and make them easier to brush out, leaving your furry friend looking and feeling great.

Cats Coconut Oil

Necessary Items: Coconut Oil Price Range: $15-$20 Mixing a small amount of coconut oil into a cat’s food to prevent hairballs has become popular among cat parents. While a quarter teaspoon of the oil is rumored to be effective, there are warnings associated with coconut oil. It’s crucial to monitor your cat’s health after consumption, as some cats may have sensitive stomachs that could result in diarrhea. If this occurs, avoid giving your cat coconut oil again.

One Water Bowl Per Pet

Necessary Items: Multiple Water Bowls Price Range: $5/Bowl Teaching pets to recognize their water bowls might not be simple, but it can minimize conflict around the water cooler. While dogs can be trained to follow rules, cats often do as they please. To avoid issues, consider keeping each animal’s bowl in a different part of the house. This also reduces the spread of germs and bacteria.

Green Tea In Kitty Litter

Necessary Items: Green Tea Price Range: $7-$10 Instead of wasting money on cat litter that promises to mask odors, consider a simple solution using green tea leaves from your own home. Sprinkle the leaves into the cat’s litter box to help absorb the inevitable odor. This herbal remedy can preemptively fight smells and save you money.

Monitor Dry Skin

Necessary Items: Allergy Relief Shampoo or Doggie Moisturizer Price Range: $20/bottle As a responsible pet parent, it’s crucial to observe any unusual behavior from your pet. If your furry companion is scratching more than usual or has flaky skin, they might have an allergic reaction. Take them to the vet for a check-up and treatment with a doggie moisturizer or allergy relief shampoo. Walmart has a great selection of affordable allergy relief shampoos for under $20 per bottle.

Use Detergent On Stains

Necessary Items: Washing Detergent Price Range: $15-$20 Pet accidents are a common occurrence that can’t always be prevented. It’s important to avoid getting upset about past accidents and focus on cleaning them up as soon as possible. Using biological washing detergents can aid in the cleaning process by breaking down the smells and preventing them from lingering. Spread the powder over the soiled area to effectively eliminate any odors.

Keep Paws Off Pavement

Necessary Items: N/A Price Range: N/A Walking on scorching hot ground can be uncomfortable for both humans and dogs, despite dogs having better-equipped paws. It’s important to protect your dog’s paws from the heat by choosing cooler times of the day to go for walks or walking on grass instead of hot pavement. If necessary, dog shoes can be ordered to ensure your pet’s paws are comfortable and ready for playtime.

Rubber Gloves For Hair

Necessary Items: Rubber Gloves Price Range: $2.50/Pair Finding pet fur all over the house can be frustrating, but there is an easy and inexpensive solution. All you need is a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves, as pet hair sticks well to rubber surfaces. Make the most of your cleaning experience by turning on some music and using the rubber gloves to pat down all furniture to remove stray pet hair.

Put Ball In Bowl

Necessary Items: A Tennis Ball Price Range: $5 Dogs can lose control when it comes to food and may eat until they get sick. To protect your pet, try putting a ball in their food bowl to distract them while filling up space in the bowl. Pet stores often sell expensive tennis balls marketed for dogs, but more affordable options can be found at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods. Choose a colorful tennis ball to distract your dog during mealtime.

Tie A Bell To Your Door

Necessary Items: String And A Bell Price Range: $5 Housebreaking a puppy requires patience and cleaning up after many messes. To speed up the process, tie a bell to the door and teach your dog to associate the sound with going outside. However, if the dog begins ringing the bell for reasons other than needing to go outside, it may lead to extra walks. On the bright side, using the bell will prevent the house from smelling like a dog toilet.

Use Baby Wipe Over Drain During Baths

Necessary Items: Baby Wipes Price Range: $3-$5 Pets are wonderful additions to any family, but shedding can be a problem. Unclogging a drain that’s full of fur or hair can be frustrating. To prevent blockages, try placing a baby wipe over the drain before giving your pet a bath. This trick can also help collect cat fur that has accumulated on you throughout the day. While not foolproof, it can significantly reduce the risk of clogged drains.

DIY Tug Toys

Necessary Items: Clothing You No Longer Use Price Range: Free Pets often have an excess of energy when their owner arrives home, making tug toys a great way to help them burn it off. Not only is it a fun activity for dogs, but cats enjoy it too. However, purchasing new toys frequently can be costly. A budget-friendly alternative is to use old clothing lying around the house to make homemade tug toys. For instance, cutting an old pair of Levi’s in half creates two tug toys at no extra cost.

Baking Soda For Urine Stains

Necessary Items: 1 Box Of Baking Soda Price Range: $1 Having baking soda at home is always useful, whether it’s for baking, keeping the fridge fresh, or cleaning carpets soiled by a new puppy or kitten. If you don’t have a pet carpet cleaner, you can use baking soda as an alternative. Simply pour some onto the affected area, wait for 20-25 minutes for it to soak in, then vacuum it up. You can find baking soda at Walmart or any grocery store.

Dryer Sheets/Tennis Balls For Fur

Necessary Items: Dryer Sheets / Tennis Balls Price Range: $5-$10 Reduce pet hair in your home with an affordable and easy trick. Dogs and cats may shed a lot, but using common household items like dryer sheets or tennis balls can significantly decrease the amount of fur you find around your house. By rubbing these materials on the affected areas, you’ll see the magic happen firsthand. This trick is often shared on social media sites like Facebook and can save you money on specialized fur-picking-up devices.

Baby Wipes For Cleaning

Necessary Items: Baby Wipes Price Range: $3-$5 Keeping pets at home can be messy at times, and cleaning up after them is a must. Dogs can be messy while cats can be neat, but both can create messes that need to be dealt with. To make cleaning easier, it’s a good idea to keep baby wipes on hand. You can find them at stores like Kroger or Costco and use them to clean up any messes and leave the room smelling fresh.

Use Chalk Around Outdoor Bowls

Necessary Items: Chalk Price Range: $5 If you live in a place where the climate allows for outdoor living throughout the year and your pets spend a lot of time outside, you may have encountered ants getting into their food bowls. To prevent this, try using chalk. The white powdery substance confuses ants and makes them lose track of their trail, so drawing a circle around the food bowl can act as an ant deterrent.

Put Training Pads Under Rugs

Necessary Items: Puppy Pads Price Range: $50 If you’ve recently brought a puppy into your home, you’ll know that training them not to pee inside can be a challenge. While it’s a natural learning process, accidents can happen, leaving your floors and rugs soaked in pee. To avoid this, consider putting puppy training pads under the rugs or blankets that your puppy sleeps on. For just $50, you can get a pack of 100 pads, which will last you throughout your pup’s initial training period.

Make Your Own Popsicles

Necessary Items: Popsicle Tray Price Range: $15-$20 To help your furry friend cool off during hot days, why not treat them to some frozen snacks? Since dogs are always wearing a coat of fur, it makes sense that they would enjoy this type of refreshment. You can make frozen treats for your dog by freezing their favorite soup broth or other treats in an ice cube tray or popsicle mold, which can be purchased for as little as $5 on Amazon.

Magnetic Fish Tank Cleaner

Necessary Items: Algae Magnet Price Range: $10 Goldfish are the most common first pets for children, given their affordability, low-maintenance, and space-saving qualities. Once you bring a goldfish home, you only need to do two things: feed it and clean its bowl. Cleaning the bowl, however, can be a messy task unless you have an algae magnet. You can avoid getting your hands wet and keep your fish safe in its bowl by investing in a $10 fish tank cleaner.

Fill Tennis Balls With Treats

Necessary Items: Tennis Ball, Scissors, Doggie Treats Price Range: $10 If you’re struggling to find ways to keep your dog occupied and entertained, there’s no need to spend money on toys they might not even play with. Instead, try looking around your home for a simple solution. All you need is a tennis ball and some dog treats. Cut a small hole in the ball and stuff it with the treats. This should provide your furry friend with at least an hour of entertainment, as they try to get every last treat out of the ball.

Contact Paper On Doors

Necessary Items: Contact Paper Price Range: $5-$10 Pets, such as dogs and cats, may scratch at the bottom of doors for various reasons. While it is uncertain what exactly drives them to do so, many believe that they are trying to reach their owners on the other side of the door. If you are tired of dealing with this behavior, there is a simple solution: apply contact paper to the targeted sections of the door.

Give Dogs Blueberries

Necessary Items: Blueberries Price Range: $2.63/lb Dogs that enjoy fruit will love blueberries because they are chock-full of phytochemicals, vitamin C, and fiber, making them a healthy snack for dogs. What’s more, studies have shown that the antioxidants in blueberries can slow down dogs’ brain aging. Dog parents can easily give their furry friends a frozen bag of blueberries as a tasty and healthy snack by grabbing them from Target and keeping them in the freezer.

Explore Different Feeding Times

Necessary Items: N/A Price Range: N/A Animals, like people, establish routines. If you feed them at the same time every day, they’ll let you know if you’re even a few minutes late. Cats, in particular, are quite vocal when it comes to mealtime and may have some tricks up their sleeves, so be prepared. Feeding your cat at different times throughout the day can prevent begging and meowing before mealtime, as well as allowing cat owners to get a few extra hours of sleep in the morning. If you feed your cat as soon as you wake up, be prepared to wake up earlier and earlier every day.

Store Food In Plastic Containers

Necessary Items: Plastic Containers Price Range: $5-$15 To keep your pet’s dry food fresh and safe from pests, it’s essential to store it properly, just like other opened dry goods. This means ensuring the food is sealed off from air and insects. One effective method is to use tight-sealing plastic containers like Tupperware, which can prevent moisture from entering and are easier to store than paper bags.

Rice & Chicken For Stomach Aches

Necessary Items: Chicken and Rice Price Range: $5 If your dog is prone to stomach upsets, it’s not uncommon to see them vomit or have diarrhea. But before rushing to the vet, try feeding them a simple diet of rice and chicken. Boiled chicken and rice provide a bland, easily digestible meal that can help soothe your dog’s upset stomach and provide them with the nutrients they need to recover.

Use Bitter Apple Deterrent

Necessary Items: Anti-Chew Spray Price Range: $15 To stop dogs from chewing on furniture due to stress, boredom, or a need for attention, using Bitter Apple Anti Chew Spray can be an effective solution. While it’s easy to watch over them when at home, it’s not always possible to do so. Spraying this solution on furniture will safely deter dogs from chewing and prevent them from causing damage. Whether it’s due to a change in their routine or something else, Bitter Apple Anti Chew Spray can help resolve the problem.

Feed Dogs Turmeric

Necessary Items: Turmeric Price Range: $8-$12/lb Veterinarians now suggest that turmeric can provide similar anti-inflammatory benefits for dogs as it does for people. Arthritis is a common ailment that older and larger dogs often experience, but turmeric can help improve their long-term quality of life. Adding a sprinkle of turmeric to your dog’s breakfast and a pinch to its dinner can also help reduce bowel inflammation and may even prevent cancer cells from forming in dogs. While the benefits of turmeric are not fully understood, it is a safe and easy way to improve your furry friend’s health.

Vaseline For Paws

Necessary Items: Vaseline Price Range: $5 To dogs, there’s nothing like going for a walk. But when the weather turns cold, it can be tough on their sensitive paw pads. While many pet owners use shoes to protect their furry friend’s feet during the summer, they often forget about the winter months. To keep your dog’s paws safe from frostbite, try using Vaseline as a balm instead. It’s an easy and affordable way to help protect your pup’s paws during chilly weather.

Paw Cleaning Brushes

Necessary Items: A Pet Cleaning Brush And A Steady Hand Price Range: $3-$5 Dogs and cats have a habit of getting into places they shouldn’t, which often results in a mess and dirty paws. A paw cleaning brush can be used to clean the dirt away without giving the pet a bath, and a rubber dish cleaning pad can also work in a pinch. Paw cleaning brushes are readily available on online marketplaces for a reasonable price.

Teach Catch With Popcorn

Necessary Items: Popcorn Price Range: $0.99 To encourage their pups to play fetch, many dog parents try to teach them how to catch a ball. While this can be challenging, it’s a fun and rewarding experience. To build your dog’s confidence and get them used to catching, use unsalted, unbuttered popcorn for the first lesson or two. Once they’ve mastered the popcorn, you can switch to larger dog treats and eventually a ball. Most dogs won’t eat the ball, but they might expect a post-catch treat.

Stop Cats With Foil

Necessary Items: Aluminum Foil Price Range: $5 Cats have a natural curiosity that leads them to explore and climb on things they shouldn’t. However, there are ways to discourage this behavior without resorting to harmful methods. Using a spray bottle is not recommended, as it can cause the cat to resent you. Instead, placing tape or tin foil on surfaces can be effective in deterring cats, though some may see it as a challenge.

Use Walnuts On Scratched Furniture

Necessary Items: Walnuts Price Range: $2.20/lb If you have pets at home, chances are that they have scratched up your floors or furniture. Even the most well-trained pets can cause damage with their nails or claws. However, there is a simple solution to fix scratches on wooden surfaces using walnuts. By rubbing a walnut over the damaged area, the natural oils from the nut will soak into the wood, making it look as good as new.

Grow Your Own Catnip

Necessary Items: Catnip Seeds, Soil, Planters Price Range: $20 Catnip affects different cats in different ways, with some becoming hyper when they smell it and calm when they consume it. Growing your own catnip can save you money compared to buying it, and it is easy to maintain since it is related to mint. However, it’s important to keep the plants out of your cat’s reach to prevent overeating, which could lead to an upset stomach.

Use Milk With Puppy Kibble

Necessary Items: Milk Price Range: $4.38 per gallon While milk is generally considered safe as a treat for dogs in small quantities, it’s important not to offer them too much, as it can cause stomach problems. However, mixing a small amount of milk with dry kibble can be beneficial for puppies, as it softens the food and makes it easier to chew. To achieve the right consistency, add milk slowly until the mixture becomes mushy, which is especially helpful for young puppies who have just started weaning.

Get A Furminator

Necessary Items: FURminator Price Range: $19 on Amazon The FURminator is a popular pet grooming tool that effectively reduces shedding, which has earned it high ratings and positive reviews from pet owners. According to PetSmart, this tool can reduce shedding by up to 90%, resulting in less hair around your home and clothes. For best results, use the FURminator once or twice a week for ten to twenty minutes per session, increasing frequency during heavy shedding seasons. Before using the tool, be sure to read the instructions thoroughly.

Vinegar For Cleaning

Necessary Items: White vinegar, water Price Range: $1-$3 White vinegar is a great non-toxic and effective cleaning solution for those looking to clean thoroughly. While dogs and cats may not love the smell, it is safe for them, unlike harsh chemicals like bleach. According to the AKC, white vinegar is a “dog-safe cleaning solution.” To use, mix equal parts water and white vinegar, apply the mixture to stains, let sit for five to ten minutes, then wipe with a dry, clean towel. For a milder solution, mix half a cup of vinegar with a gallon of warm water.

Clean Hamster Water With Rice

Necessary Items: Half cup of water, dry rice, white vinegar Price Range: $5 Cleaning your hamster’s water bottle can be a hassle, but it’s essential to keep it free from harmful bacteria and mold. An easy and effective way to clean it is by using uncooked rice, white vinegar, and water. Mix a half-cup of water, a tablespoon of rice, and a bit of white vinegar in the bottle and shake it vigorously. The rice will work as a gentle abrasive to remove any residue. Rinse the bottle with hot water to ensure there is no remaining rice or vinegar.

Shop Around Pet Insurance

Necessary Items: Pet insurance plan Price Range: $50/month for dogs, $28/month for cats It’s important not to overlook insuring your furry companion when considering insurance options. While life, car, and home insurance are often top of mind, pets can also suffer from medical emergencies and accidents that can lead to hefty vet bills. When searching for pet insurance, it’s important to consider both the cost and coverage features of various plans. Forbes Advisor recommends Embrace and Pets Best as some of the best pet insurance providers, with additional options including Spot, ManyPets, Lemonade, and Figo. It’s wise to shop around and compare policies to find the right plan that fits your budget and provides adequate coverage for your pet.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

Necessary Items: N/A Price Range: $50-$150 adoption fee The “Adopt, Don’t Shop” campaign aims to raise awareness about homeless pets in shelters that need to be adopted instead of buying from breeders or pet stores. Adoption is a preferred option because pet stores and websites may support puppy mills. Even though there are some criticisms of this campaign, giving a homeless pet a loving family is a positive thing that can help ease the crisis of overcrowded shelters.

Use Dog Seat Covers

Necessary Items: Dog car seat covers Price Range: $20-$50 Investing in dog car seat covers is a practical solution to prevent damage caused by our furry friends. Dogs may not be mindful of making a mess, but with these covers, you can keep your car clean and comfortable for them. These covers are affordable, ranging from $20 to $50, and come with features such as waterproofing and durability for added protection. If you frequently take your dog for nature walks, these covers are especially important to keep your car free of mud, dirt, and fur.

Put Bell On Cat Collar

Necessary Items: Cat collar with bell Price Range: $5-$15 If you have multiple cats, there may be one that dominates the others. To prevent bullying behavior, put a bell on the bully cat’s collar. The sound will alert other cats to the bully’s presence and allow them to avoid confrontation. Moreover, the bell can help prevent your cat from catching prey, reducing the number of animals brought into your home. Finally, if you have a kitten, a bell can help you keep track of their whereabouts.

Play Fetch Downhill

Necessary Items: Ball Price Range: $1 Playing fetch is a favorite activity for dogs, but not always for their owners. However, it is an effective way to burn off excess energy and prevent destructive behavior in your furry friend. To make the game more challenging, try playing fetch downhill. Be sure to watch for signs of exhaustion in your dog and limit the amount of time you play the game. It’s important to keep your pet’s health and well-being in mind during playtime.

Clip-On Poop Bags

Necessary Items: Clip-on dispenser Price Range: $8-$15 Get yourself a clip-on poop bag dispenser from Amazon for a mere $8 to $15, and thank us later for making poop cleaning a lot more convenient. This dispenser comes with a clip-on attachment that can be fastened to your dog’s leash, allowing you to easily pull out a doggy bag from the container whenever required. It’s portable, and you don’t need to carry any extra equipment. You can find this dispenser in various sizes, and on Amazon Basics, you can buy a dispenser with 300 bags for just $10, which has a near-perfect rating on the app.

Avoid Retractable Leashes

Necessary Items: Non-retractable leash Price Range: $10-$20 Retractable leashes might seem like a convenient choice for humans, but they can actually be harmful to dogs. According to North Shore Humane, these leashes can cause burns and lacerations if the narrow cord wraps around a dog’s leg. Additionally, the harsh pull at the end of the leash can damage the dog’s neck and throat. Finally, the extended distance that these leashes allow between the dog and owner can increase the risk of dog fights, even if the dog is not typically aggressive. It’s best to ditch retractable leashes for safer alternatives.

Alternate Toys

Necessary Items: A Small Collection Of Pet Toys Price Range: $2-$5/Each Just like children, pets can also lose interest in their favorite toys over time, no matter if it’s a stuffed dragon or a rainbow-colored bouncy ball. That’s why it’s important to rotate their toys to keep them engaged. By introducing their old favorites back into the mix after a break, your furry friend will be excited to see them again, even if they didn’t realize they were missing. With multiple toys to choose from, they’ll never get bored.

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