Owning a dog is no easy feat! Whilst there's no doubt the sound of your favourite furry friend running to the door every night is a truly magical thing, bath times, walks and preventing them from eating anything and everything in sight is a different matter entirely.
We're here to help make your life with dogs as easy and pleasurable it can be. Our twenty tips for dogs owners are so genius, you'll wonder how you didn't think of them before.
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in October 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019.
1. Get a squeegee
A squeegee is a cheap and cheerful way to gather up all their fur from your car seats, rugs or soft furnishings. You can also use rubber gloves to get the job done.
2. Secure your dog's lead
Use a camping carabiner to quickly secure your dog's leash to a post - a neat little trick for when you're out and about and want to save time leashing and unleashing them.
3. Happier bath time
Bath time can be a nightmare, especially with a fidget bum!
Pop a shower cap on your pup's head to avoid water and shampoo from trickling down their head and irritating their eyes.
4. Invest in a collapsible water bowl
This little water bowl from Amazon is a must-have for walks, especially in warmer weather. It's a great little thing to have on hand whether you're at the park or at the pub so you can keep your dog well hydrated when you're on the go.
5. Learn to read your dog's body language
Bark as much as they like - it's unlikely you'll understand exactly what your dog is after unless you learn to read their body language.
The video above should help you on your journey to understand your best friend a little better.
6. Sprinkle parsley on your dog's food
Love your dog but not their breath? Sprinkling a little parsley on their meals is a clever trick to keep the stench at bay. The addition of herbs will look pretty posh too!
7. Stuff dog treats into a cut tennis ball
This is great hack for when your dog is left alone in your home. Deter them from getting up to mischief by distracting them with a DIY treat-dispensing toy. Simply cut a hole into a tennis ball, stuff some treats inside, and they'll be able to spend hours trying to free them.
8. Play fetch downhill to tire out your dog quicker
This next tip might be a bit sneaky, but if you're a dog owner, we're sure you'll understand!
If your pooch has plenty of energy to spare and you don't, you can tire them out quicker on your walk or evening in the park by playing fetch downhill. They'll work harder to retrieve the ball and burn that energy far quicker.
9. Prevent them from eating too fast
Eating too quickly can not only lead to overfeeding but also be bad for your dog's digestion, causing stomach aches and vomiting. A very simple way to help this problem is to place a ball in their bowl. They'll need to move it out of the way to get to the food which will help slow them down!
If this doesn't work, try serving your dog's food in an old muffin tin. The food will be spread out so they'll have to take breaks moving from section to section.
10. Make an ice lick in the Summer
We all love an ice lolly during Summer - why not let your dog join in too?
Keep your four-legged friend hydrated (and occupied) in the Summer months by freezing half water with half chicken broth in a bowl or cake mould. You can even freeze some dog treats, toys or bones in there too!
11. Make a stylish dog bed from the iconic Kallax
Let the folks at IKEA hackers show you how to make this simple yet stylish dog bed from a Kallax unit. They're one of the most versatile pieces of IKEA kit you can invest in!
12. Clean dirty paws quickly with a DIY mud mitten
Muddy paw prints can be the bane of any dog owner's life. Create this very useful dog mitten using just a hand towel and hang it up by the door so you can clean their paws quickly and efficiently everytime they come in. Check out Oscar Ate My Muffin for details on how to make one.
13. Invest in a spill-proof bowl for travelling
If you're in the car with your dog a lot of the time, invest in this Non-Spill bowl from Prestige Road Refresher. It'll keep your dog hydrated throughout those long journeys without you having to stop every time so you can get where you need to be, fast!
14. Discover the soothing properties of lavender
Lavender essential oil is particularly soothing to the central nervous system, and when applied regularly between your dog's shoulder blades, it can also help keep fleas and ticks at bay. Keep them calm in long car journeys or exciting days like bonfire night by spritzing a lavender scent into the car/room.
For a super stressed pooch, put a few drops of lavender oil onto a bandana and tie it around their neck.
15. Prevent your dog from ripping up clothes and stuffed toys
If your dog is driving you made by ripping up your stuffed toys or clothing (eek), you need to make a toy to prevent them ASAP.
Start with a Hollee ball then stuff strips of old material and some treats. Stuff the treats inside and wrap layers around them for your pup to dig out. They'll love the challenge and will get the same satisfaction as tearing all your treasured belongings to pieces.
16. Homemade dog biscuits
Did you know you can make your own dog treats with some kitchen cupboard ingredients? If you have flour, egg, chicken stock, salt and water then you can follow DIY Ready's easy-peasy recipe to make homemade dog treats. Your pup will love them and they're much cheaper than store-bought alternatives.
17. Know what foods are toxic for dogs
It's not just chocolate that can be harmful for dogs. There are a number of potentially lethal foods that you wouldn't expect, including caffeine, chives, grapes and macadamia nuts. Head to Vets Now for a comprehensive list.
18. Make a dog bed out of an old suitcase
Into vintage? Why not fashion a cosy dog bed using an old suitcase? It';l be super snuggle, and look the part too!
19. Make pill pockets to disguise their medicines
If you dog doesn't like taking medicines in pill form, pill pockets can be a great solution. Made from just milk, peanut butter and flour, they're very easy to whip up and can be frozen for future use. Check out Mutt Nutt for the tutorial.
20. Homemade flea powder
Avoid using harsh chemicals on your pet's fur and get rid of fleas and ticks the natural way with this home made flea powder. Read the Primally Inspired post on how to make your own and banish those bugs for good!
But don't worry... fleas can't live in human hair!
We hope your life will be easier with our tips for dog owners! Share any of your own in the comments below.