8 Helpful Tips for Pet Parents
Save time on boring tasks and spend it enjoying your dog
Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)
It’s easy to love all the time that you spend with your dog, but that doesn’t apply to all the time you spend on your dog. Just as human kids do, dogs require an investment of time into mundane tasks. Minimizing the time you sink into some of the necessary parts of being a pet parent allows you more time to have fun with your dog. Here are eight time-saving suggestions for anyone sharing life with dogs.
1. Stuff multiple Kongs at once and freeze them.
It takes a long time to stuff a Kong with special treats at the bottom, a mix of kibble and wet food throughout, and a tempting treat at the top. I like to do a half dozen at once so that I save time. By only setting up my supplies once and only cleaning up once, I’m more efficient. After using the first Kong, there are five more in the freezer, ready to be used with a few seconds of effort.
2. Cut up dog treats and freeze them in small batches.
Cut up dog treats from big rolls and freeze them, so they are ready to go. In a single session, you can prepare treats ahead of time for weeks of training. This saves you the hassle of multiple clean-ups and no stress of rushing to prepare for training sessions. You can use a vegetable chopper to cut bulk dog food rolls at once. In addition to being faster, it makes the treats the same size and produces fewer crumbs.
3. Use a squeegee to clean dog hair from the carpet.
Dog hair is so very lovely and wonderful when it’s attached to your dogs, but less so when it is attached to everything else in your life. Yes, I know no outfit is complete without dog hair, but my carpets are just fine without it, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve tried many ways to remove fur from these areas. Nothing works better or faster than using a squeegee. It’s easy to collect the fur into a pile to pick up by hand or with a vacuum.
4. Use a rubber glove to clean dog hair from the car and from the furniture.
Though a squeegee works well to remove fur from carpet, for surfaces that are not as flat, a rubber glove does the trick in record time. A slightly damp glove is especially useful for stubborn hair on furniture or in the car, and it saves so much time to clean this way.
5. Set up regular food and treat orders.
If you are feeding your dog commercial dog food, set up automatic deliveries (for example, through Chewy's) so that you never spend extra time placing orders or rushing to the store to buy some as you are just about to run out. It’s generally easy to know how long it takes a dog to go through a bag of food, so setting up automatic orders on a schedule that works for you streamlines the process and saves you time. The same system can work well for treats, and eliminates this chore from your list.
6. Walk your dog through water before entering the house.
Cleaning muddy paws after walks can take a long time, especially if you must attend to eight, 12, or 16 paws (or more). You can do it faster if you teach your dogs to walk through water before you begin the clean-up process. A shallow container of water near the door is all you need for the many dogs who will happily march right through. Just make sure to refresh the water daily to keep it clean. Some dogs dislike stepping in water, especially if it’s cold, and then a damp towel may be your best bet. If there is clean snow near your house that you can walk your dog through, that will work, too, and few dogs object to walking on snow.
7. Put a shower cap over eyes and ears at bath time.
There are some dogs who genuinely enjoy bath time, but most want to get it over with quickly, as do most people. Covering a dog’s eyes and ears with a shower cap can speed up the process. Without having to slow down and be ever so careful when washing the face and head to avoid getting soap in the eyes and ears, it’s easier to give a dog a quick bath. It still might not be fun for you or your dog, but at least it’s over faster.
8. Set up a dog walking station.
Who among us has not wasted time searching the house for leashes, harnesses, treats, poop bags, or some other supplies for a walk? Save yourself the headaches by making a dog-walking station and keeping it well-stocked. A small basket or a few hooks by the door can hold all that you need for each outing. When you are trying to squeeze in a walk before work or between appointments, those few minutes saved mean a longer walk — and that means more fun time together for you and your dog.
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Karen B. London, PhD
Karen B. London, Ph.D., is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression, and has also trained other animals including cats, birds, snakes, and insects. She writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life.