It's a dog's life -- and as a pet owner, you want to make sure that life is as long, happy, and healthy as possible.
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But some puppy problems, like constant barking, yard digging, and furniture chewing, have a tendency to leave us scratching our heads, if not tearing out our hair. While you should always consult your vet before trying any at-home health fixes, many everyday concerns have safe, effective home remedies that may work for your dog. Save time and money on your pet's care with the following tips from Joey Green's Amazing Pet Cures (Rodale, 2011).
1. To Keep Your Dog Hydrated:
Try: Pedialyte. If your dog suffers from mild dehydration--signs include a dry mouth, panting, and a loss of skin elasticity--pour Pedialyte into his water bowl to quickly replace electrolytes. Drinking water will replace most electrolytes, but drinking this solution, formulated for babies, quickly replaces minerals like potassium and sodium.
2. To Get Out Chewing Gum:
Try: Olive Oil. If your dog gets bubble gum stuck to his paw or fur, saturate the gum with oil, rub your fingers to soften it, and comb out. Shampoo and rinse.
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3. To Get Stickers and Burs Out Of Fur:
Try: Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening. To remove burs from your dog's coat, wear work gloves (to avoid getting pricked by the burs), work a dab of Crisco into the affected areas, and pry the burs lose. Shampoo your dog to remove the vegetable shortening.
5. Also to Curb Chewing:
Try: Heinz White Vinegar and Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. Mix 5 ounces of Heinz White Vinegar, 5 ounces of Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar, and 5 ounces of water in a 16-ounce trigger-spray bottle. Shake well. Spray the solution on whatever furniture your dog likes to chew.
6. To Eliminate Fleas:
Try: Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. To kill fleas on dogs without using toxic chemicals, add a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid under running water to fill a sink or bathtub and give your dog a bath in the soapy solution. Work the lather into your pet's coat and let it soak for more than 5 minutes. The soap penetrates the exoskeletons of fleas, killing them, and works more effectively than some prescribed flea shampoos.
Bonus tip: If your pet gets bubble gum stuck to his paw or fur, you can use a few drops of Dawn to dissolve it.
7. To Keep Him Safe In The Sun:
Try: Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion (and follow tips in our Ultimate Summer Pet Safety Guide.) If your dog spends time outside, prevent sunburn on his nose, ears, and other vulnerable areas by applying a light coat of Coppertone sunscreen (with an SPF of 15 or higher). Feed your pet immediately after applying the sunscreen to distract him from licking off the lotion. If your dog licks off the sunscreen, you can apply more.
Make sure the sunscreen you use on your dog doesn't contain any PABA, zinc, or zinc oxide, which can be dangerous when licked.
8. To Prevent (Another) Accident:
Try: Strategically Placed Glad Trash Bags. To keep your dog off any area of the carpet or floor where he has previously left a mess, cut open a Glad trash bag along the seams and cover the spot with the plastic. Dogs despise the feeling of plastic and will stay away.
9. To Prevent Ear Infections:
Try: Johnson's Baby Oil. Too much water in your dog's ears can lead to painful earaches, so before giving him a bath, place a cotton ball moistened with Johnson's Baby Oil in each of your pet's ears to keep out water. Just be sure to remove the cotton balls afterward.
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10. To Stop Dandruff:
Try: Bayer Aspirin and Johnson's Baby Shampoo. Unless you're allergic to aspirin, grind six Bayer Aspirin into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle, pour the pulverized aspirin into a bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo, and shake well. Lather up your dog with the shampoo. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the salicylic acid in the aspirin time to exfoliate your pet's dead skin cells. Rinse clean with water.
11. To Heal Cuts And Scrapes:
Try: Bag Balm. Quicken healing of cuts, scratches, skin irritations, and paw abrasions by rubbing on Bag Balm, the salve created to soften cow udders.
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12. To Discourage Digging:
Try: Tabasco Pepper Sauce and McCormick Ground (Cayenne) Red Pepper. To stop your dog from digging up your yard, mix 4 tablespoons of pepper sauce and 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper in 1 quart of water. Sprinkle the spicy solution over the area where your dog digs.
13. To Keep Food Bowls Clean:
Try: PAM Cooking Spray. To prevent leftover bits and pieces of moist pet food from sticking to the bottom of your dog's food bowl, give the inside of the bowl a light coat of PAM Cooking Spray. The vegetable oil will prevent the food from adhering to the bowl--and the oil gives your pet's coat a nice shine.
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14. To Soothe Arthritis Aches:
Try: A Sock Filled with Uncle Ben's Rice. To soothe arthritis pain, fill a sock with uncooked white rice (not too compactly), tie a knot in the end, and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute. Place the warm sock directly over painful joints twice a day for 15 minutes. The reusable heating pad conforms wherever applied.
15. To Stop Shedding:
Try: Bounty Paper Towels. To prevent a dog from shedding all over the house, dampen a sheet of paper towel and run it over his fur. The paper towel collects the loose hair.
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16. To Relieve Itchy Paws:
Try: Epsom Salt. If your dog suffers from itchy feet, fill the bathtub with 1 to 2 inches of water (enough to cover his paws) and dissolve 3 cups of Epsom Salt in the water. Stand your dog in the tub for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing the Epsom Salt to relieve the itch. Do not let your pet drink the water, since Epsom Salt has a laxative effect. Remove your dog from the tub and gently pat his feet dry.
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