15 Genius Dog Life Hacks Every Dog Owner Should Know

Save yourself some money, time, and trouble with these tricks and tips to help make dog chores easier.

Updated August 11, 2023

It's no secret that owning a dog is a ton of work. There's training, exercise, grooming, supplements, and keeping your curious canine out of trouble. The effort is absolutely worth it, but why work harder when you can work smarter? We're loving these 15 dog life hacks that could save you time, money, and maybe even a little bit of your sanity.

1. Save Furniture with Bitter Spray


Are you tired of having your furniture, shoes, and other valuable things chewed up? Bitter sprays are a great hack to keep your dog's naughty teeth off your favorite things. There are plenty of commercial sprays you can buy, or you could make your own for less than a few dollars. Just spray the concoction on your items, let them dry, and enjoy a chew-free home.

2. Protect Their Ears During Bathtime


Moisture in your dog's ear canal is to blame for a lot of ear infections. The next time you give your dog a bath, try this hack. Place a large cotton square in each ear to keep water out while you bathe your pooch. Just don't forget to remove the cotton afterward!

3. Use Cornstarch to Stop Bleeding Nails


Nothing bleeds quite as much as a dog's nail that you trimmed just a little too short. Dogs who run on concrete or other hard surfaces can also wear down nails to the point they bleed. You can buy special styptic powder to stop the bleeding, but cornstarch works in a pinch. Just dab a bit of the powder onto the bleeding nail and apply light pressure.

4. Easily Mend Wood Scratches


Your dog's nails can easily scratch hardwood floors and wooden furniture. A surprising dog life hack can seal those wood scratches with one clever snack — a walnut. To do this, just rub a walnut directly on the scratched area several times using a circular motion. Make sure you cover the entire length of the mark.

After rubbing multiple times, leave the area for a couple of minutes and let it soak in the natural oils of the walnut. These oils will seep into the wood, which can help heal its wounds. Lastly, polish the area with a soft cloth and get ready to see magic.

5. Go-To Drool Stain Remover


If your pooch drools a lot, the sooner you clean the dried saliva, the better. That's because the substances in your dog's drool make it hard to clean. This drool solution is a hack all dog owners should have on hand.

Mix one part vinegar with three parts hot water and a few drops of mild dish soap. The vinegar halts the mineral buildup in your dog's drool while warm water loosens the dried spot, and the dish soap has a formulation that eliminates oil.

6. Get Creative with DIY Pill Pockets


It can be a real struggle when your dog becomes ill and you can't get them to swallow their medicine. Pill Pockets are a great way to "trick" your pup into taking their pill, but there are plenty of homemade hacks that work, too. You can use cooked penne pasta and insert the medication inside, or you can stick the pill in the middle of a small dab of cream cheese to mask the flavor.

Another option is to create a peanut butter ball by combining peanut butter, milk, and flour. Use a chopstick to create the pocket shape. You can store them inside the freezer for future use. We love using crunchy peanut butter, so your dog will not easily detect that medicine is hiding inside the rolled treats.

Quick Tip

For best results, follow the hidden pill up with another treat so they eagerly swallow the pill in order to get the second treat. Pill administration officially hacked!

7. Use Chalk to Keep Bugs Out of Water


Keep ants out of your dog's outdoor water dish with a piece of sidewalk chalk. Just draw a complete circle on the ground around the bowl, and you're good to go.

8. Tempt Picky Eaters with Baby Food


Have a pooch at home who's a picky eater? Sometimes you just need to whet their appetite with something tasty to get them to eat. Try a little beef or chicken baby food to tempt your dog. This is a hack we use in the veterinary hospital to entice sick patients, and it works just as well at home.

Quick Tip

Check the baby food ingredients to ensure it doesn't contain any onion, garlic, or anything else that's toxic to dogs.

9. Set Up a Slow Feeder


Eating too fast can lead to hiccups, an upset tummy, or even bloat, which is why slowing your dog's meals down can be important for their health. Get your dog a slow feeder bowl with ridges that force them to munch at a slower rate. Food dispensing toys are also great for kibble meals.

Quick Tip

You can make your own slow feeder at home by placing a tennis ball in your dog's bowl of kibble to slow them down, or even spread out their food in muffin tins.

10. Make a DIY Dog Bed


Don't throw your old pants and sweatshirts in the trash just yet. You can reuse these to create a comfortable bed for your furry friend. Simply stuff the material inside an old pillowcase, or sew it together in such a way that it will mimic a bed or a human lap. The advantage of using your own old clothes is the smell — your smell. The familiar scent makes your dog's sleep time cozier and safer.

11. Try the Uproot Cleaner


You might think your carpets are clean after going over them with a vacuum, but the Uproot Cleaner will prove you wrong. Very wrong. This tool is the ultimate hack for removing dog hair from carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, and even car upholstery. Just go over the material a few times with the cleaner, and you'll unearth tons of hair that's been hiding underneath. You're welcome.

12. Get Pet Meds at Your Local Pharmacy


A lot of dog medications are formulated especially for pets, so you need to get through your vet, but others are the exact same meds you and I take. Before you spend $30 on 14 tablets of Benadryl at your vet's office, ask if you can find the medication your vet is prescribing at a human pharmacy.

If that's the case, you can save a ton of money by purchasing it elsewhere. This is especially helpful if your dog is on a lifelong medication like prednisone or seizure meds.

Quick Tip

Check out GoodRx to find the best price, then call your dog's vet to have them phone the prescription into the pharmacy of your choosing.

13. Use Veggies as Low-Fat Treats


All those treats can add up to a lot of extra calories, which is why we love using veggies as low-calorie snacks. Try pieces of carrot, green beans, zucchini, apples, or whatever dog-safe produce your pup loves. Just make sure they're cut up into bite-sized pieces to prevent choking.

Not all dogs like veggies. The trick is to start them on produce when they're puppies, and they'll grow up to love it.

Quick Tip

This is a great hack for dogs on a diet, although you'll probably still want to use high-value treats for training.

14. Keep Carpet Smelling Fresh


Remove any lingering dog urine smells in your home with this simple hack. Mop up the urine or use paper towels to absorb the liquid from the carpet. Sprinkle liberal amounts of baking soda onto the damp carpet and leave it for a few minutes.

After that, if you have a white or light-colored carpet, scrub the area with a special liquid mixture — a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide plus 2 teaspoons of mild liquid detergent — using a bristled brush. Allow the area to dry before vacuuming.

15. Try This Hairy Laundry Hack


Are you still finding dog hair on your freshly cleaned and dried clothes? Try this hack. Place your clothes in the dryer (only after emptying the lint catcher!), setting it to a no-heat cycle for 10 minutes. Then, shake out your clothes and throw them in the washer.

Add a half cup of vinegar, which will aid in loosening the fabric and removing the hair. Shake out the laundry and put it back in the dryer. Remember to use dryer balls or sheets to help release all the pet hair!

Dog Life Hacks You’ll Love


You want the best for your dog, but it never hurts to save a little moolah in the process. Give these dog life hacks a try, and see if they make your life easier. Every trick won't work for every single person or pet, but if any of these can help improve your life, we consider that a big win!

15 Genius Dog Life Hacks Every Dog Owner Should Know