10 Ways to Simplify Your Pet Care Routine
You love your pets, and you’ll do anything for them, right? But while you’re going the extra mile for them, there’s nothing wrong with making life a little easier on yourself. These tips, tricks and hacks will help you organize your pet care life — and may make the course of true pet love run more smoothly.
Organize Your Pet-Friendly Home
Simplify getting out the door. Wherever you and your dog enter and exit the house, set up a cute tote bag filled with poop pickup bags and baby wipes for cleaning paws after a walk. If your dog wears booties in snow or rain, keep them in the bag as well. (And when you go on a trip, whether it’s to the park for the day or a two-week road trip, the tote can double as a go bag.) Store some towels in the area for drying your dog on rainy days or wiping extra-muddy paws. Keep leashes on a hook or leash holder by the door. Hang a shoe bag on the back of the door to the garage to hold harnesses, extra leashes and other dog supplies.
Streamline mealtime. Create a feeding station in your kitchen: Allot a specific shelf or drawer for pet food and water bowls, regular medications and parasite preventives, pill cutters and needle-less syringes, measuring cups and anything else you use to prepare meals or give medications. If your dog drools or is just a messy eater in general, you’ll want to add hand towels or baby wipes for cleanup after meals. Store pet food as near as possible to the feeding station (but make sure your pets can’t access the food on their own). If you feed a specific brand of dry or canned food, set up a standing order with a pet food delivery service or online retailer. Some grocery stores offer home delivery as well. That way, you’ll never run low. Hang a calendar nearby, so you can note when you gave parasite preventives, when the next ones are due and when you need to purchase more food or treats.
Make cleanup easy. Designate a grooming and cleanup area. Keep pet shampoos, conditioners, ear cleaner, combs, brushes and other tools in your laundry room or garage. A basket with dividers or a shoe bag that you can hang on a door keeps everything organized. Store towels and enzymatic cleanser in a laundry basket or other container in the same space.
Bonus: Eliminate pet hair fast. Rubber dish gloves are good for more than just washing pots and pans. Slip them on and run your hands over furniture and carpets — or pets themselves— to gather loose pet hair. Get pet hair off clothing or furniture covers quickly and easily by tossing them into the dryer for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed (or horrified) by how much hair you will find in the lint trap.
Make Pet Care a Breeze
Put your phone to work. Use the calendar or alarm on your smartphone to alert you that it’s time to give your pet his medications. This is especially useful if your pet takes several medications throughout the day or if you have multiple pets on medication. Use apps to track your pet’s health care details, vet and grooming appointments; map dog walks; find pet-friendly businesses; teach tricks; and more. Do a Web or Pinterest search for “pet apps” to find them.
Keep ears clean. If you have a dog with long ears, use a hair scrunchie to gently hold them out of the way while he eats. You can also tuck the ears up beneath a plastic shower cap, or purchase or make a snood.
Slow speedy eaters. To keep your dog or cat from gobbling his food, spread it in a single layer on a shallow plate or rimmed cookie sheet. He’ll have to slow down to get it all up.
Keep your cat off your computer. Working from home with a cat who loves to loll on your keyboard? Offer him an even better option by flipping over a box lid or placing a shallow box on an out-of-the-way spot on your desk. He gets to hang out in a box — cats love that — and still supervise your work.
Simplify teeth cleaning. Do you dread brushing your pet’s teeth? Try this: Squeeze some pet toothpaste onto your pet’s favorite chew toy — ideally one with ridges or nubs — and hand it over to him. He gets a tasty toy and cleaner teeth. Do this two or three times a day. It’s not as effective as brushing, but it’s better than nothing.
Bonus: Make outings extra safe. A carabiner on your dog’s leash makes it easy to attach the leash to a table or other object when the two of you are at a café for your weekend latte and bagel. This can help prevent your dog from wandering — or running — off before it’s time to leave.
What are your favorite pet hacks? Share them in the comments!
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