The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Life with a Dog
Is it possible to organize life with a dog? If you are blessed to have a dog, you know that he/she is so much more than just a “pet” – dogs are part of the family! Like any other family member, dogs can easily complicate our lives as we try to remember where we put the brush or when we gave them the last dose of heartworm medicine. If you have multiple dogs, the complications can multiply!
Nineteen Ways to Organize Your Pup
Simplifying life with a dog is really not all that difficult. In fact, I have created a list of nineteen easy-to-follow actions that will make life with your four-legged baby so much simpler! I’ve tested all of these tips out on my own pooch, so I know they work. I’m all about keeping it simple, and that goes for my adorable Ozzie as well. (Isn’t he just the cutest?)
I’ve organized my tips by category, so you can implement them one “batch” at a time if you don’t want to jump in with everything at once. Read on!
You have to feed your pup every day – it only makes sense to do what you can to make the process efficient.
- Automate food delivery – especially if your dog is large and his food comes in heavy, awkward bags, it’s so worth it to have it dropped on your doorstep. Chewy.com has a great auto-ship system, allowing you to change delivery dates as needed, and you can add and subtract items anytime up until a few days before your order ships- they even send reminder emails! I’m a loyal Chewy shopper, but Amazon and PetSmart also have auto-ship available, so you can use the service you prefer.
- Keep dog food in a convenient location for you (but not accessible to your dog!) This could be on the pantry floor, the laundry room, or just inside the garage (my preference). To maintain freshness, and to keep your dog out, store the food in a bin with a snapping lid, preferably with wheels. Keep a measuring scoop inside, marked for the proper serving size.
- Wherever you feed your dog, make sure the food and water bowls are set on an oversized, waterproof mat, to curb spills and drips as much as possible.
Even the healthiest dog will need heartworm and flea protection, and an occasional prescription, too.
- Keep all medications in a box with a lid, out of the reach of curious children, and away from human medication.
- Give your dog her recurring meds on the first of every month, or put a reminder on the calendar in your phone, so you don’t miss doses.
- When your dog receives boosters at the vet, ask them to send the records to your boarding facility so that they are always up-to-date. You don’t want to need last-minute boarding in an emergency, only to be turned down because your dog’s records are outdated.
- Keep a folder with all of your dog’s paperwork together in one location – ideally, right in the medication box. This should contain vet records, emergency visits, and rabies documentation.
- On the first of the month (right after the routine medication), go through your pet’s toy basket and remove all toys that are worn out, or need to be washed or repaired. Just like children, your dog will get bored with the same toys all the time, so consider rotating, and only giving her a few at a time. She will be much more interested in them than if she has the same huge pile all of the time.
- Speaking of toy baskets – use a basket with handles, so it’s easy to move around as you pick up toys or when you are vacuuming. Choose a basket that your dog can access so that she can get toys on her own when she wants them. Avoid plastic or woven baskets if your dog is a chewer. Also, note that depending on how much your dog likes to spread his toys around, it may make sense to have baskets in several different rooms.
Make an effort to walk your dog consistently, even if you have a large yard for playtime. Walks teach the dog about the world around him, encourage socializing, and provide quality one on one time with you.
- Store everything you need for walks near the door you will leave from. You could toss everything in a basket, keep items on a shelf or in a drawer – whatever works best. You’ll need a leash, poop bags, sunglasses (for you), ear buds, sneakers (again, for you), and perhaps sweaters and/or booties for your dog, depending on your climate.
- Purchase a poop bag holder that attaches directly to the leash, so that you always have extras. You never know when you’ll need them.
- Keep a supply of old towels near your exit door so that you can dry pup off on rainy days.
- Create a treat station on the kitchen counter, with each type in a different container. Label containers if any treats are for medical purposes (arthritis support, probiotics, etc.), or if you have more than one dog but certain treats are only to be given to one of them.
- Invest in one or two treat-dispensing toys such as the super-popular and indestructable Kongs. I recommend pre-filling them with small treats and yogurt or peanut butter, and keeping them in the freezer for last-minute use.
- On hot days, freeze broth in ice cube trays and give a couple of cubes at a time to keep your dog hydrated and cool.
- Keep a portable water bowl, towels, balls, and a visor or ball cap (for you) in the trunk of your care for last-minute trips to the beach or park. Toss in a water bottle or two right before you leave. Note: do not store filled water bottles in the car, as they can heat up and chemicals in the plastic can leach into the water.
- Pre-pack a daycare/overnight bag with bowls, blanket, toys, and instructions for emergencies, for easy transitions to boarding facilities – just add food and treats, and your pup is ready to roll.
- Stock a grooming basket/caddy with your dog’s brush, furminator, shampoo, nail trimmer, toothbrush, and any other supplies.
- Designate one location for all pet supplies, so that you always know exactly where to find whatever your pet needs. The toy basket and walking supplies are exceptions, but everything else related to your dog should be stored together in a convenient location such as a closet or laundry room.
Follow these tips, and I’m sure you will find that life with your pup is indeed simpler and less stressful. And you know what that means – more time for playing fetch and giving belly rubs. Everyone wins!
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