Three Easy Pet Tips to Help Out on the Home Front
Trying to successfully include the pups in your holiday festivities? Finding the logistics are a bit more than you planned for? Here are three simple tips to help you deal.
The Kong Hack.
Actually, this one's a two-fer. I mentioned them in last season's pet hack article as one of my favorite ways to help keep dogs focused and feeling successful during family travel and holiday events. One thing I've noticed though, is that when you need to use these quite a bit (like when you are on the road constantly or having people in your home frequently) the calories can really add up, making weight loss an issue for your pet. It also makes you blow through even the giant jars of peanut butter at lightning speed, making it a cost issue as well. My new solution? I put the peanut butter on a butter knife, insert it into the top wider end of the kong, and carefully rotate the whole thing. This leaves a thinner layer of peanut butter on the entire inside of the kong from top to bottom. I still freeze it when I have time to do this ahead, because it makes it more challenging for our fast licking Labrador. The cool part? Not only does this use way less peanut butter, it actually takes her longer to clean out the whole kong, since she can't just get in there and take it out in lumps. Less money, more results. Gotta. Love. That.
The second part of this two-fer hack relates to getting the kongs cleaned out. As I mentioned in my housework hacks article, I'm a huge fan of having the correct type of brushes on hand for various cleaning jobs. My favorite one for the kong? An old toothbrush. This really gets it done and is basically free, since you'd be throwing it out otherwise when you replace your regular toothbrush. If you want to try out the kongs and can't find these in a store close to you, they are available for under ten dollars on Amazon.
OK, even with the recent price drops I'm seeing on these, you're still going to pay between twenty and thirty bucks. That being said, very few products sell themselves to me in under ten seconds. Last winter, when I was going crazy with the ongoing dog hair debacle, our vet at the time recommended these when were at her office one time. She had one of the girls come in and show me how it worked, and in one swipe down the side of the dog's fur, I was whipping out the debit card. Way more hair removal than a regular pet brush will give you any day of the week. So if you are looking to cut down on vacuuming during the holidays, when visiting others on overnights, or at any time of the year really, I can hands down recommend this as one of the best pet support products we've ever purchased. They can even be used on cats and horses.
The Toy Bag.
If you have the time to make a few homemade versions (like the ones mentioned in Eco Dog) or collect them throughout the year from the thrift store and sanitize them via the home laundry system, great! If you don't however (and guess who's short on time this year herself?), I'd like to pass along that Sam's Club has a GREAT deal going on bulk bags of dog toys. They have them for about fifteen bucks, and they are available for large and small dogs both. Tip: The large dog toy bags have fewer in them (although still a decent deal) and the ones marked for small dogs have a full ten toys. Our Labrador is by no means the smallest dog on the planet and the small dog toys are more than big enough to entertain her. So this meant we scored abulk deal at about a dollar fifty per toy.
Not bad really, since when she's in transition or spending time at a busy event, she sort of “picks up on the energy” and responds accordingly by going back into full puppy play mode, even though she's nine. Not that she isn't young at heart and still finding trouble on a regular basis anyway, but she really amps it up during chaos time and tends to blow through toys way faster than even she normally would. So if you are short on time, and have one of the Sam's warehouse stores nearby, consider buying yourself some sanity and picking one of these up. It did mention on the display I saw that these were a seasonal item, so we'll probably be swinging back by to pick up a couple more to get her through a few months. Also, if you are the type of person who likes to deliver a pet present at Christmas to friends who have them, this is a super affordable way to incorporate a “from our house to your house” type of gift for under two bucks that you don't have to wrap or bake. How's that for easy?
Holiday chaos can be really rough on our furry friends who often don't understand why they are relegated to the back yard at meal time and receive less than their regular share of attention. Hopefully, this article and the links it includes will help. For more pet travel ideas, check out Andrea's article on what to pack for a road trip with your pet., and this piece on alternative uses for plastic bags.