Monday, May 18, 2015

Doggie Hack Stack!


This Hack Stack is devoted to pets! Save your bucks and still keep Fido happy. All these are tried and true with the same warranty I give with all my other posts. 


1. Frugal Pet Bed

I'm shocked to find so many people spending the big bucks on pet beds. First of all, every pet in the world will lay down and snooze with out a designated bed. They're not furniture fixated and they won't report you to any specific agency (unless they are a poodle...then all bets are off). As the human in the room, I'm the one that prefers she has her own bed, even if it is placed in a chair. 

Recycle your old pillows! Everyone has a pillow that has seen better days and I don't think you can wash it in enough hot water to totallly remove the scent of you - dog noses are phenomenal. Cover that pillow with a discount store pillow case and whip stitch the opening (that part is optional). Hand it off to Fido. Added bonus: it's a lot easier to keep clean. Just swap out the pillow case to get more mileage between washings.

Want to get fancy? Buy coordinated fabric or recycle an old sheet and make your own cover to match your room.

Don't be persuaded to buy tempra-pedic, memory foam, or bolster beds. Yes, there is such a thing for dogs and it is a waste. Your dog will love the bed that he (or she) associates with you. You're his (or her) pack, whether you like it or not. Use that money for dog toys.

Warning: If you have a dog that will eat bedding, take special consideration of what materials you use.


2. Make your own dog treats

One of my favorites comes from Cesar Millan's website, Cesar's Way. You'll need a dehydrator for this, but let me tell you - everyone needs a dehydrator, anyhow. 

If you have a dog that has food allergies or sensitivities, this is the way to go.

Leftovers trail mix

Combine any of the following leftovers from your refrigerator to create a flavorful trail mix, which you can pack for a hike or after dog park snack.

    Ingredients
Pieces of meat (if seasoned, make sure to rinse off any flavoring)
Potatoes
Vegetables (no onions)
Fruit (no grapes or raisins)


    Directions
    Cut ingredients into ½ inch thick pieces. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Place in a food dehydrator or into a 200 degree preheated oven until dried. 

    Are you in the mood to bake? Try this one:

Easy Baked Dog Treats
Ingredients:
2 cups 100% organic flour (like whole wheat, spelt, or rolled oats, or a mixture of these, etc.)
8 oz. of  pureed baby food - meat, fruit, sweet potato, etc. Avoid those with onion or onion powder (check the ingredients!)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix together to form a stiff dough and feel free to tweak, if necessary (more or less flour, etc.). You can't mess it up.
3. Flour a surface and roll out dough - about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares  or use a small glass to make circles. Want to get fancy? Use a cookie cuter. Amazingly, it's pretty easy to find a dog bone cookie cutter.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, place cutouts about 1/2 inch apart. 
5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.  Cool and store in a paper bag.
Wild geese make Coco want to escape!

3. Don't take pet ownership lightly (not a "hack," but it is an important tip). 
When Coco went missing last year, I visited every local shelter on a every other day rotation for six weeks. I was amazed at the number of dogs I saw day after day; purebreds, mixed breeds, all sizes. On a clipboard at the front of the dog's cage there was always a sentence or two that told how the dog came to be at the shelter. There were way too many "surrenders." Losing a dog is bad, but having a dog in your home, as a member of the family, and then dropping it off at a shelter is just cruel. 
Know your dog breeds and their characteristics. If you don't want to exercise a dog daily, don't get a herding breed for example. On the other hand, if you do like to walk daily and go for a run, a Basset Hound is not for you. That dog is a couch potato in the making. 
Be realistic about your expectations. You're making an 8-20 year commitment, seriously. The dog I had before Coco was named Cleo; she was a rescue that lived 18 1/2 years with us.
Be the kind of pet lover who is excited to make a frugal dog bed or bake treats.




36 comments:

  1. The last one can technically be a hack. Many people don't realize that the different breeds of dogs have different characteristics. I didn't know until after we had gotten a very hyper active, chew-happy lab...and constantly had to replace things she chewed up or chase after her when she ran out the front door. We had her for years, despite that. We ended up giving her up, but only because she developed a skin disorder that caused her immense pain and bleeding, and would cost $1500 a month for medication.

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    1. Because I've raised a lot of animals (used to show goats, chickens...had a donkey...) and have a pretty big yard (3+ acres), people assume I always want more animals. I'm constantly called about dogs people want to give up or train because "it's too hard." Many of these pets have "problems" that a blind man could have seen. They're breed specific and to be expected; the dog just needs an outlet for that trait, training, and constancy. Time and time again, they tell me they don't have the time for that. It's sad.

      I'd have a tough time handling $1500 a month for treatment, too. Unfortunately, my dog has allergies that require special medicine and food ($32 a bag!). But, if that what she needs, that is what she needs.

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  2. We are dogless for the first time in years. It's weird not having a dog waiting on the other side of the door when you come home.

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    1. You could fix that, Mike. :-) There's a "good fit" dog waiting for you...

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  3. I love our Wallace and yes we have a doggie bed but we bought it on sale and he is too big for old pillows. He will eat things so we have to be careful. He is so sweet but is terrified of the outside-phobic so. Tonight there were fireworks and he refused to do his business so I am waiting until I don't hear them anymore so he can go outside and not feel terrified. He is a rescue and I think he was shot at. I agree with you about surrendering dogs. It is so cruel. I have a friend who got a wonderful Pitbull. he was so happy and affectionate. He had to kiss my face constantly. In Canada there is a no pitbull rule which I think is wrong since it is the person that can make the dog aggressive. Also one has to think of the dog itself. I have seen pretty nasty little dogs that could do damage. Anyway, once she had a child she got scared about the dog. Instead of finding a rescue place or even telling me about the dog, they put the dog to sleep. I thought that was horrible

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    1. I buy everything on sale; it makes me feels like I didn't get taken for a ride.

      All the terriers are my favorite and I agree - owners are responsible for the behavior. I think they don't see signs of problems soon enough. For example, fear biters. They know their dog cowers, etc., and they take that as a sign the dog is mild-mannered. Then something tragic happens.

      Coco is scared of fireworks, too. I expect to stay up late on July 4th. She'll start shaking with fear with the first bang and not stop till it ends.

      Delete
  4. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    These are all great tips. For the first 7 or 8 years of her life, our Toto hopped in our bed at night and slept with us, usually right in the middle between us. When she started having problems with arthritis in her legs and couldn't jump high enough to get into bed, we bought her a dog bed and placed it a few feet from ours and she did not hesitate to use it. I wish I had known a few years ago about that trail mix and the baked dog treat recipe. I'm sure Toto would have enjoyed those snacks. Your #3 point addresses a sad reality, that of abandoned, unwanted "surrendered" pets, not just dogs, but all types of animals including exotics. If you're thinking about adopting a pet make sure you do ample research so that you'll know what to expect. Will your family budget support the care and feeding of an animal over a span of 10 or 20 years? Does your lifestyle match that of the breed you are thinking of acquiring? Does you house have enough space and a yard big enough to support the needs of your dog? Truth be told, there was no research and advance planning involved in adding Toto to our lives. Mrs. Shady was visiting her sister in Alabama in the summer of '99 and a little neighbor boy happened by carrying a puppy. The boy said a litter had been born on his farm and he was going door to door trying to find homes for the pups. Mrs. Shady took one look at the one in his arms and claimed it as her/our own, our Toto. It was a difficult 14 years. Toto, a Cocker Spaniel, had chronic skin rashes, arthritis, food allergies and eventually started going blind. Did I mention her grouchy disposition? Yet, I wouldn't have traded Toto for any other dog in the world. I wish I could get another dog but boss lady says no. Those of you who are lucky enough to have a dog should give them all the loving attention and affection you can muster, each and every day of their precious lives.

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    1. I totally planned to have Coco, breed and all, and still ended up with a problem. I didn't recognize the fact that the whole litter had ringworm. It didn't look like anything I expected to be illness. She had something that looked like freckles in a few places on her stomach. I asked the owner about it and they said it wasn't anything; it would go away. They didn't tell me what it would take to make it go away - and it took over a year and big bucks. Hubzam almost buried me in the backyard. :-)

      Dogs add something special to your life that can't be replicated by anything else.

      Have a great day, Shady! Wear sunblock.

      Delete
  5. Number three is spot-on, and can't be repeated often enough. Three of our four dogs are rescues.

    While I often make homemade dog food, I haven't yet attempted making dog treats - I think I'm going to have to now.

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    1. Do it, Jacqueline! Dog treats are pricey, if you buy the good ones.

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  6. I'm sorry, I'm not going to bake treats for dogs. Their treat is when I toss them some fat or a bone off some meat. I have done the old pillow for a pet bed trick many times. Two years ago I bought the family little lightweight two dollar throws for stocking stuffers. Picked up one for our Lucy dog, too. She adores her blankie! Can wrap it around her own self.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead.

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    1. Once, I took an old quilt and cut it up into smaller pieces (like six from a regular sized quilt). I sewed binding on the edges and it made perfect dog beds. I'm pretty big on washing them often.

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  7. Very true, so many just toss pets aside. Idiots indeed. Cats are happy with a box, no fancy bed needed haha

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    1. Have you heard my story about why we don't have cats?
      Check it out: http://www.cherdoontheflipside.com/2014/04/i-killed-cat-person-that-became-my.html

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  8. I don't have a dog, but I've always wanted to make dog treats for my family members who have them. :)

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    1. I think that is the easiest way to control what they eat. I buy too many dog treats and I need to up my pet-baking game, pronto.

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  9. Awesome tips. I've always used old pillows for dog beds, and I'm a big fan of homemade treats. I forego the baby food, though, and just make my own sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree (when pumpkins are in season).

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    1. Now you're impressing me...pureeing your own pumpkin. You're a real man (or real men, whatever the case may be).

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  10. I love my babies!! I have 2 rescue dogs that are my joy. My husband had never once owned a dog and now he loves them as much as I do. They both sleep with us under the covers. I couldn't wait to get home from my weekend away to them. I see countless people wanting to give up their dogs on facebook and it just kills me. I will live in a smaller home or under a bridge but I will not give up my babies. I've never baked treats for them but I totally should!! Maybe one day....

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    1. AND did I tell you how much I love you for the meme above of you wearing purple.?!!
      Thanks so much!!! This means so much.

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    2. It was my pleasure! I think it's important to draw attention to some of the things other people have to deal with day to day. You'll note I decked the whole blog in purple for you! :-)

      Delete
  11. Cherdo, wonderful post of ideas for our "best friends". We do pamper our dogs a bit, but I do like the recycled pillows idea. My two little doggies are traveling with us this week, and they have been really great.

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    1. Thank you, Linda!

      I don't usually travel with Coco, but I might this week. I hate to leave her alone while the Hubzam is at work. Even if she vegs out during the day (ha ha), she likes peeps.

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  12. My daughter has been wanting to get our German Shepherd a pet bed for the longest time. I refuse. He's perfectly happy passing out on the floor.

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    1. One year, I bought two beautiful rattan dog beds. One for my small dog, Cleo, and one for a larger dog, Ginger. Cleo laid in the middle of the large bed and never would let Ginger get in it. She'd stand my the bed and cry while Cleo pretended she was asleep. Eventually, they both got in the big one and the little one never did get used. I miss those two (both lived looooong, loved lives).

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  13. Love your post today.
    I do all the great ideas you have posted.
    The Square Ones love their crate but always mess up the blankets I put in there. An old pillow is perfect.
    When daughter was in Junior High school she started making dog cookies from "The Three Dog Bakery" do you remember that show. Just simple ingredients but every dog we knew went crazy for them.
    I have a dehydrator but haven't tried it yet.
    Now that both Square Ones need to be on special diets, it is easier to make as much of their food that I can. WITH NO FAT ! Fat is bad ! Especially for thehamish who now has added pancreatic to his list of illness.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Poor thehamish. I always lament the fact that the dog doesn't know what is going on, health-wise. But they know we love 'em!

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  14. That is cruel! Pets aren't things. They are family. You wouldn't dump your kid off like that, would you? Well, maybe I shouldn't ask that...

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    1. Alex, it's amazing how many people ask me to take pets, really. Or they'll say, "I gave a friend your name and number because they have a dog that needs a home..."

      People don't think before they (pseudo) commit. Or, more accurately, they don't commit.

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  15. 1- Scrappy sleeps with me. Not a bad deal, if you don't mind the two AM fart battles.

    2- Scrappy has been known to eat anything except sliced mushrooms from the jar and toothpaste. Snacks are a no-lose proposition.

    3- True that! They don't last forever, kids!

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    1. Scrappy has the preferred place.

      I used to have two dogs, one small and one big (they both have passed of old age) and both slept with me. Ginger, the large dog, used to work her way up to the pillow and I'd wake to find her snoring in my face.

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  16. I grew up with a dog - a poodle - and I miss it sometimes. As an adult, cats are far more my speed.

    I am so with you on irresponsible dog owners. They drive me nuts.

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  17. DOC CHERDO ~

    >>... everyone needs a dehydrator, anyhow.

    I can't help wondering if that might cure a hangover on the morning after the night before.

    >>... unless they are a poodle...then all bets are off

    Yeah, I've noticed that French Poodles are kind of uppity. (Whereas Chihuahuas are way downity.)

    "Coco the Wonder Dog"?!
    I thought TIPPY had a copyright on that boast:

    http://www.amazon.com/Tippy-Wonder-Dog-Gramps-Birthday/dp/B003J0BKQG

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Stephen:

      It would depend on what you're dehydrating, I suppose. I'm thinking LIQUID is more of what you need in the a.m.

      "...Chihuahuas are way downity." What am I going to do with you? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

      Coincidentally, my grandma (that I spent a lot of time with) named all her dogs Tippy. So I'm okay with a Tippy the Wonder Dog, too. Coco isn't, though. That dog is an attention hound.

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  18. Where's my comment? I wrote a long, intelligent comment stating that people should not buy "designer" dogs and they don't know what they're get into with a labradoodle, one of whom The Hurricane adopted. They are high maintenance dogs. I knew an idiot a few years ago who wanted a labradoodle. She showed me pictures of them online: $4,000. Put breeders out of business.

    And quit deleting my comments. You haven't done so in a while. I don't know why you started again.

    Love,
    Janie

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  19. It should be "getting into." It's your fault I made an error. You upset me so much when you delete my comments.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo