Top 9 Ways To Upgrade Your Dog's Life

We spend a lot of time talking about how to improve our own lives, but how about the lives of our pets? Today we're looking at great ways to improve the life of your dog -- which has its benefits for you, too.

Note to cat lovers: This weekend is for the dogs, because last month we upgrade your cat's life. Be sure to check out that post for comparable tips for your kitty.

9. Clean Your Dog's Ears Properly

Ears like to accumulate their disgusting earwax in most types of animals, and dogs are far from exempt. While you definitely don't want to leave wax build-up to crust over inside your pet's ear canals, you also don't want to clean improperly. Just like with humans, you want to be gentle and only clean the parts you can see. Stay out of the ear canal and you're doing it right.

8. Make a Custom Doggy Bed On The Cheap

Like human beds, doggy beds can get pretty expensive. If you don't want to shell out a tonne of money for a fancy one, you can just make one yourself. For the most part, these beds are just enormous, glorified pillows so you don't need more than a relatively thick and soft fabric and some firm stuffing. Your dog just needs a comfortable, soft place to sleep and you can easily provide that after an hour at the sewing machine.

7. Train Your Dog Better With Shorter Sessions

Nowadays, perhaps to all the quick-form content online, we don't have the greatest attention spans and your dog suffers from the same problem. That's good, because you'll both get bored with training exercises relatively fast and you don't want to keep going if the interest is gone. To teach your dog better, break up your training sessions into smaller, more digestible blocks just once or twice a week. Hammering it home isn't fun for either of you, so take it nice and easy. It can help your dog learn better and faster.

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6. Make Pet Travel Easier

Travelling with your dog can be as stressful for you as it is for them, especially when on an aeroplane. The best thing you can do is be prepared and know your options ahead of time so there are no unexpected problems along the way.

This means knowing whether or not you can take your dog on the plane with you, if your airline allows pet travel at all, if you can check your pets (and how much that costs), getting your dog used to the travel crate before leaving, and providing it with adequate playtime prior to the flight. You also won't be able to feed him/her six hours prior to the flight. It's not exactly a pleasant process, but it'll be a lot worse if you're not prepared. Alternatively, find a good pet sitter.

5. Make Your Own Dog Treats

Your dog probably isn't going to care who made the treat so long as s/he gets to eat it, but when you bake them yourself you have the distinct advantage of choosing what's inside. If the nutritional content of a Schmacko isn't your ideal, make your own healthier option. It's not hard to do and your dog will love your for it.

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4. Eliminate Dog Hair With Your Hand And Water

Chances are pet hair isn't part of your apartment's desired aesthetics, and it's definitely a problem when you've got company who might be allergic. Cleaning up pet hair is a major pain, but wikiHow has a few handy suggestions -- literally. The first is wetting your palm with some water and scooping up the dander bare-handed.

The water will make it stick and easy to move from couch, floor, or wherever to the trash. You can also get the same effect with a lightly dampened kitchen sponge or regular latex gloves. A more fun approach is using an inflated balloon. Create some static electricity by rubbing it on your hair, then touch the balloon to hairy areas. It'll attract the hair until you can dispose of it. Or just use use rubber flip-flop sandals. Finally, try a fabric softener sheet. If it doesn't work on its own, mist it with a little water for some extra cling.

3. Make An Automatic Water Dish That Refills Itself

Here's a cool DIY project your dog will appreciate: an automatically refilling water dish. So long as you're comfortable with an arduino, it's something you shouldn't have trouble throwing together pretty quickly. This way, if you're not around your dog will always have fresh water to drink and never be too thirsty. The only downside, perhaps, is that s/he'll have to go out to the bathroom a bit more frequently.

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2. Find Your Lost Dog

The last thing you want is for your pet to be lost, but no matter how hard you try it can always happen. If you do end up losing your dog, there are plenty of ways to get him/her back. Aside from the obvious steps of posting signs around your area, the internet can be of assistance as well.

When you're searching, you want to keep a few things in mind. The size of your dog will depend on the distance it's capable of running. Big dogs will often run up to 8km where smaller dogs will likely only make it 1.6km. Most dogs are recovered within a 3.2km radius, however, so that's a good place to start. Shy dogs often end up in bushes or under cars. Friendly dogs will look for help from people, often in public parks or on someone's yard. (Source: Petfinder)

If your pet hasn't run away yet, now's a good time to look at tracking chip options so recovery is easy. It's important to remember that your pet likely didn't run away because s/he hates you, but potentially out of loneliness or distraction. Don't feel too bad and don't worry too much. Most people are kind enough to help out a lost animal and will be happy to return your dog when you report him/her lost.

1. Get Rid of Nasty Dog Breath

You may love your dog, but you'll probably never love its breath. You'll need to regularly brush your dog's teeth. Regular teeth cleaning by a vet and a healthy diet also help, so it isn't much different than how you'd handle your own teeth. You're just cleaning the dogs, and it's easier to get your finger in their mouth than it is a toothbrush. So, really, the secret behind good dog breath isn't much different than it is with humans.

Photo by Dan Bennett

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Comments

    "a few handy suggestions — literally"

    That has to be the worst pun I've seen on Lifehacker. :\

    Iten 2: microchipping is compulsory in NSW. It's good sense everywhere.

    Another idea to add in a future article in regards to lost dogs is to sign up to get a free pet ID Tag at the National Pet Register:
    http://www.petregister.com.au

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