15 Pet Hints and Tips
Try these little hacks to make your life easier when caring for your furry, scaly or feathered friends.
Most dogs don’t like having their claws filed, but doing so will keep them in good condition and avoid splitting in cold weather.
To ease your dog’s stress about the nail-filing devices used by groomers, cut a small round of medium-grit sandpaper, wrap it around your index finger and rub gently.
Stop frequently to give praise and reinforce good behaviour with a treat.
Keep a dog warm during winter walks by shrinking an old item of woollen knitwear.
Choose a jumper that’s at least three times too big for the animal.
Put it into the washing machine with 60ml mild detergent and set the temperature to hot on a full load, even though it’s just one item.
Reshape the jumper while it’s damp so that the neck is wide enough to fit over your dog’s head.
The arms should fit over the dog’s two front legs and the body of the jumper should reach about halfway down the back.
A weekly scrambled egg added to your cat’s or dog’s food will keep its coat shiny, and it’s a healthy treat most pets love.
Raw eggs are off limits, because of the risk of salmonella contamination.
When you replace your computer mouse mat, use the old one as a placemat for your pet’s food bowl.
Not only does it stop the bowl skidding around the kitchen, it also catches spills.
If you like this idea but don’t have an old mousepad handy, buy a new one for as little as $3 from local supermarkets or retailers.
Snip a small tree branch to put in your bird’s cage. It’ll be able to use it as a perch to see what’s going on, and will also peck it to sharpen its beak.
When your pet’s bed is between washes, remove odours by sprinkling it with bicarbonate of soda, then let it sit for an hour.
Shake off the bicarb outside and vacuum thoroughly before allowing your pet to use the bed.
What could be more fun for a frisky cat than chasing a torch beam in a large, darkened room?
Make sure not to shine the light in the eyes and remove any sharp-cornered furniture and breakables to avoid the crashing that inevitably follows the chase.
Save an old pair of nylon tights to make a glass tank or aquarium sparkle without using harsh chemicals.
Remove the resident reptiles or fish, the water and any ornaments and gravel, scrunch the tights into a ball and use them as you would a sponge.
Make a simple cleaning solution of one part white vinegar to one part water.
Dip the tights in and wipe the sides and base of the tank.
Rinse the tights to remove algae and repeat with the vinegar solution until the tank is clean and streak-free.
Use a comb as a belly scratcher for your dog or cat.
Fingernails will do the job, too, but pets seem to love the feel of a fine-toothed comb digging into their fur.
Almost all pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and guinea pigs, enjoy gnawing on cardboard.
So do some birds, such as cockatiels, so put empty kitchen or toilet rolls aside to keep them occupied and relieve their boredom.
Pets also like to gnaw on tissue boxes, but remember to remove the plastic liner on the dispensing slots.
Add about a third of a soft banana to 1½ cups of dry dog food.
Slice it, mash it or stir it into the pellets.
Not only does it add variety and a bit of healthy sweetness, which most dogs seem to love, but banana can also help settle a dog’s stomach.
There’s no reason to wrestle your dog to the ground to try and give him medicine.
All you need is strongly flavoured cheddar cheese.
Grate a small amount, warm it in your hands and roll into a ball with the pill inside.
It should go down in a matter of seconds.
TIP: If your pet detects the different texture of the pill in the grated cheddar, try wedging the pill in a chunk of cheese instead.
If you have ever been on a diet, you’ll know all about carrying around peeled baby carrots to satisfy a hunger pang.
The good news is that dogs generally love raw carrots, too.
They’re sweet and healthy enough to make them a regular part of a dog’s diet in place of biscuits or other treats.
There’s nothing pleasant about the smell of a litter tray, but there is a simple way to control odour.
Place half a lemon, cut-side up, on a saucer and put it on the floor next to the litter tray.
For stubborn odours, place several lemon halves on a paper plate.
At bath time, you can stop your dog’s hair from clogging the drain by placing a nylon scouring pad or a snipped-off section of kitchen sponge over the plug hole.
The porous barrier will collect hair, which can then be easily removed and discarded.