Kellye Fox | 

14 Brilliant DIY Dog Hacks That Owners Should Know

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As a dog parent, you know that items like food, grooming tools, and toys can really add up. Wouldn’t it be nice to learn homemade dog food recipes, DIY dog toys, and natural cleaning products to ease your wallet?

Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or your favorite pastime is dog grooming, you’ll love these dog hacks. Don’t forget to check out more tips for your family after you’ve read through these.


1. Make homemade dog shampoo with baking soda, cornstarch, and lavender essential oil.

Make your own dry dog shampoo with baking soda, cornstarch and lavender essential oils.

Need a dog hack for dry shampoo and flea control? Create a dry shampoo using a reusable container with three simple ingredients. Cornstarch and baking soda absorb oils and help give your dog a shiny coat, while lavender oil not only helps your pup smell fresh but also protects him or her from fleas.

Check out the full recipe on how to make dry dog shampoo here.


2. Keep your pooch occupied for hours by filling a Kong with homemade dog treats.

Keep your dog occupied for hours by filling a Kong with homemade frozen treats.

This hack is a homemade dog treat and DIY dog toy in one. Simply take a cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt and mix it with a handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen) or a cup of mashed banana. Fill the Kong and then freeze until the mixture is solid.

And if you’re worried about getting your pet’s Kong clean, try throwing it in the dishwasher!


3. Freshen your dog’s breath by applying dog toothpaste to a lint remover, then have your dog lick it off.

Freshen breath by applying doggy toothpaste to a lint remover, then have your dog lick it off.

This is a great dog hack for a breath freshener in between dog grooming appointments. The bad-breath germs that live on your dog’s tongue will scrub off when he or she licks the toothpaste from the rough surface of a lint remover. Your doggy will never know that she/he had bad morning breath.


4. Price match competitors’ ads in store at PetSmart to save money.

Price match competitors' ads in-store at Petco and Petsmart.

Every dog owner knows how expensive dog food and supplies are, but did you know there are also easy ways to save? This is one of the best ways to save when shopping at these stores.

Be sure to check out the KCL PetSmart page to find the best deals before you head out. Here’s PetSmart’s full price-match policy and Petco’s full price-match policy.


RELATED: PetSmart Hacks You Won’t Want to Shop Without



5. Use a plastic pitcher as a dog food storage idea.

Dispense dog food easily with a plastic pitcher.

If you hate reaching into a giant dog food bag with a tiny cup twice a day, then this dog hack for pet parents will change your life.

Bonus! If you don’t like paying full price for dog food, then make sure to check our dog food coupons and deals page before you go shopping.


6. Protect your dog’s paws in the snow with Vaseline.

Protect your dog's paws in the snow with Vaseline.

First-time dog owner? Then you should know that dogs’ paws can be super sensitive to outside elements during dog walking. Apply Vaseline as a DIY dog trick to prevent salt and harmful chemicals from drying out paws.

Since dogs have a natural curiosity about new smells and textures, be sure to monitor your dog closely so they don’t lick the Vaseline off (which may cause an upset tummy). Try boots for dogs feet or a paw protector cream.


7. Repurpose an old tennis ball by turning it into a treat dispenser.

Repurpose an old tennis ball by turning it into a treat dispenser.

Here’s another DIY dog toy that’s fun and delicious. Cut a slit in a tennis ball, and squeeze to add dog treats. This idea is great for training puppies and for older dogs who still like to run around.

Check out these other amazing ways to save on cat and dog supplies, too.


8. Fill an empty syrup bottle with water and use it as a portable, squirtable water bottle.

Fill a clean syrup bottle with water and use it as a portable, squirtable water bottle.

Talk about a genius DIY dog hack for thirsty pets on the go. Thoroughly clean out an empty syrup bottle and fill it with filtered water. Attach a carabiner to the handle to easily hang the bottle to a belt or pack when you’re out dog walking.


RELATED: Unexpected Ways to Repurpose Plastic Laundry Detergent Containers



9. Use a shower cap as a DIY dog bowl when traveling.

Use a shower cap as a travel dog bowl.

Okay, it’s not a traditional dog bowl, but you get the idea. You’ll have to hold it open for him, but it’ll take up almost zero space in a backpack if you’re hiking. Plus, shower caps are cheap enough that you can buy a few in case it gets too slobbery.


10. Get rid of fleas with a DIY dog wash made from dish soap.

Give your dog a Dawn dish soap bath if he has fleas.

Dawn soap breaks down fleas’ exoskeletons, killing them almost instantly. Use it in the summer when you’re giving baths between dog grooming appointments. As with any soap, test a spot before proceeding. If skin irritation does happen, try an oatmeal shampoo for dogs as a non-toxic alternative.

If you like using Dawn, then we also have Dawn Dish Soap Uses That Will Make Your Life Easier!


11. Or, spray apple cider vinegar and water on your dog’s coat to get rid of fleas.

Cure your pet from fleas and ticks by spraying fur with an apple cider vinegar and water solution.

If you don’t have time to give a bath, then mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts water in a spray bottle to ward off fleas. As a DIY dog wash (or refresher), it’s a natural option that’s safe and doesn’t cost a lot of money.


12. Make a DIY dog toy by braiding strips of old T-shirts.

Braid strips of old shirts together to make a DIY dog rope.

Got an old T-shirt that you’re not feeling anymore? Upcycle it into a DIY dog toy. You’ll just need scissors, an old cotton T-shirt, and a ruler.


  1. Lay the T-shirt flat on your work surface with the front facing up.
  2. Starting at the bottom, cut the shirt into 2- to 3-inch-wide strips until you reach the top of the shirt.
  3. Gather your strips together and tie off one end.
  4. Separate the strips into thirds and braid. Tie off the other end.
  5. Trim any stray strips.

Pro Tip: A 2-inch strip makes a thinner toy, while a 3-inch strip equals a thicker dog toy.

You can also use old towels or jeans — anything your pup can sink her teeth into and that you won’t mind giving up.


13. Or, tie and braid strips of an old shirt around a tennis ball to make a DIY dog toy.

Make a dog toy out of a ball and an old t-shirt.

Cut an old shirt into strips slightly wider than the ball. One at a time, tie the strips tightly around the ball, alternating directions until the ball is covered completely. Braid the strips and tie off the ends to finish it.

Make a dog toy out of a ball and an old t-shirt.


14. Make homemade dog treats with pumpkin and banana.

I like to mix a can of pureed pumpkin with a banana in my food processor or blender. Then I spoon it into a dog-inspired ice cube tray and freeze. They’re great to help your dog cool down in the summer heat!


UP NEXT: Give Your Family the Best and Save Money with KCL’s Top Family Tips

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