Tag Archives: dog life hacks

Dog tip – Get all corny with your dog

Dogs are absolutely wonderful – but they’re not convenient.

Don’t misunderstand – we think they’re worth every bit of the fuss.

If you leave your dog home, the amount of time you can spend away is limited.

If you take them along, it requires a bit of planning. We like to have a “go bag” – all the “stuff” we’re likely to need for an outing.

Aside from the obvious; collar: leash, poop bags, water bowl, water, treats; there are a few things we’ve found really handy to have around. A first aid kit for dogs stays in the car all the time. It has bandages, vet wrap, saline, Benadryl, tweezers, antibiotic wash, etc. It’s also a good idea to have a towel or two, and, especially if you have fuzzy dogs, some corn starch.

I (Hope) have been on vacation with Teddy and Torque for the last week. Right before I left, Torque’s paw was a bit red and swollen between his toes. It really wasn’t that big a deal, and there was no time to get to the veterinarian before we left, so I headed out.

After four days, the swelling and reddening was worse and included his other front paw. Even more distressing, it also seemed to be affecting the wrinkles under his eyes. Anyone with flat-faced dogs has dealt with “fold dermatitis” at some time. Since I’m careful about keeping my Frenchies clean, it was a bit of a surprise, but not awful.

I was at a loss. When his foot was first showing redness, I tried soaking it with Epsom salts. And it helped with the itching, but not for long, and it certainly didn’t help it go away. I knew that the opposite treatment was called for – trying to keep him dry, instead of soaking.

Apparently I had a brain freeze. I’ve known the usefulness of corn starch for dogs for years; ever since our friend Emily with her extremely-fuzzy Keeshonden explained how she kept a shaker of it in her car, along with a good brush, to take care of her Kees when things got a bit messy doing their business. It happens, and an easy solution is great to have.

Since my dogs aren’t fuzzy, that particular use is interesting, but not part of our kit. Until I went asking the pharmacist at the local drug store what he recommended for drying.

He was very nice, but explained that there’s really not a people equivalent. Talcum powder would be about the only choice. And then he mentioned corn starch! And the light bulb went on! Of course it was the perfect answer to keep Torque dry and comfortable until we can see his regular vet back home.

One stop at the grocery store, and Torque is clean, dry and happy instead of itchy, crusty, and unable to get comfortable.

Of course I will still be taking him to the vet when we get home. We need to find the cause of the problem and treat it. But as a temporary fix, simple, corn starch does the trick.

Dog Tip Tuesday – Meal planning made easy

It’s always you, isn’t it? You’re the one who has to make sure the dog(s) get fed. The rest of the family loves the dogs, may even walk the dogs, and someone else may, occasionally, pick up a poop. But the dogs know who matters most – the hand that feeds them.
And your significant other kind of hates that.

“Why does Phydeaux mind you better than me?”

“Because I feed him.”

“I could feed him.”

“Okay. Go ahead, it’s supper time.”

“I have no idea what he eats.”

Solving the problem is easier than you think.

Gather 14 containers per dog – reclosable plastic baggies for kibble feeders, reusable plastic containers for those who feed canned or raw food.

Use a permanent marker to label each container: dog’s name; day (M, T, W, TH, F, SA, SU), and breakfast or dinner.

Fill the containers with the dog’s regular meal portion. If the dog eats kibble, use a plastic shoe box to store an entire week’s worth of meals, in order. If the dog eats wet food, freeze the containers. Leave the next day’s food in the fridge and try to remember to take one container out of the freezer for each one used. If it’s forgotten, food can be thawed in the microwave on the defrost setting.

The system only takes a few minutes to organize and prepare, and everyone will know whether the dog’s eaten and exactly how much to feed.

The system also works well if you’re planning a vacation. If you’re planning to board your dog while you’re away, having a feeding system ready to go makes it simple. The staff at the boarding kennel will appreciate the effort to make their lives easy, and you’ll know your dog is getting the right food, in the right amount, each day. If your dog is travelling with you, you’ll have everything ready to pack up and hit the road.

Dog life hack – Stop the fur snowballs on your dog

One of the most uncomfortable things about winter for the fuzzy dogs we know is  “leg fur snowballs.”

poodle has fur snowballs

This is the Miniature Poodle of a friend of ours here in Chicago. You can see that Aleena is wearing her Pawz boots – and they’re wonderful for keeping her little feet dry and road-salt free. But they can’t do anything about the accumulation of wet, uncomfortable snow in her beautiful fur.

Snowsuits for dogs?

We’ve been asked many times over the years about “snowsuits” or leggings for dogs. We’ve tried quite a few, from many different makes, and none has provided a simple solution for all dog owners. Dogs come in so many shapes and sizes, their leg sizes vary so wildly, that “normal” sizes just don’t apply. A Miniature Dachshund and a Miniature Poodle may be about the same size, but the lengths of their legs couldn’t be more different.

Easy solution fits any dog!

We’ve found an easy, inexpensive way to keep the fur snowballs away! It works for any dog, because you tailor the solution to your particular need.

Get a multi-pack of  inexpensive baby, toddler, or children’s socks (whichever would be closest to your dog’s size) from any big-box store. Cut open the toe seam and you have instant leggings for your dog! If you’re incredibly handy you can hem the opening, but if you’re not, you have more in the multi-pack when the original ones start to unravel.

If your dog’s legs are still too skinny – get a package of Velcro-like cable ties to secure the leggings in place. Don’t make it too tight – we don’t want to cut off the dog’s circulation, just keep your pup comfortable in the cold.

If you dog’s legs are larger or longer – get bigger socks!

Keep exposure brief

Winter can be just as much fun as any other season, as long as you and your dog are prepared. Remember, if it’s too cold for you, chances are it’s too cold for your dog, too!