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Every Dog Owner Should Learn These 20 DIY Pet Projects

Every Dog Owner Should Learn These 20 DIY Pet Projects

As every dog parent will tell you, having a cute and energetic doggie in your life – or even a lazy one that just wants to eat and snuggle all the time – is a true joy, but a serious obligation as well. You have to care for the little rascal, take him for walks, feed him, get doggie snacks and constantly replace chewed up dog toys, not to mention things like pillows and cables that puppies happily chew up while they are teething and know no better. A 2011 survey found that the average family spent more money per year on their dog/dogs than they did on alcohol, phone bills or men’s clothing. When you factor in things like proper nutrition and hygiene, not to mention medical bills, it’s easy to see why the bills stack up quickly. The following DYI project are a cheaper and more fun alternative.

1. Plastic bottle chew toy

Plastic bottle and socks

    To start off, here is a simple chew toy that your dog will love – take the cap and ring off a big plastic soda bottle, put it in an old sock and tie off the end. It is light, cheap, easy to replace and makes crunching noises when a dog bites into it.

    2. Paracord braided chew toy

    Paracord chew toy

      For those people whose dogs go through chew toys quickly, paracord may be the best solution. It is resilient, fairly cheap and can be braided into tough chew toys which can be easily replaced.

      3. Dog crate furniture

      dog crate furniture

        Since buying a combination furniture and dog crate can end up costing you several hundred dollars, it’s better to invest some time and sweat to make your own unique creation for a fraction of the price. Here is a great dog crate end table combo design that you can make for about $50.

        4. Old suitcase dog bed

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        suitcase dog bed

          One of the most overpriced pieces of furniture you can buy are fancy dog beds. I mean, really, I’ve found my dog sleeping on the floor next to his bed on several occasions, it’s not like they will know the difference between a $15 and $35 bed. For a fashionable, yet inexpensive dog bed you can get an old used suitcase, some furniture legs and a comfy pillow.

          5. Soft and warm doggy bed

          soft doggy bed

            Those with even the most basic sewing skills can make an even simpler doggy bed using an old hoodie, a pillow, pieces of cloth and some needle and thread. It won’t take much to complete, most people already have the needed materials lying around and the end result looks really great.

            6. Baked treats

            doggy treats

              Not only will you save money, but you will also know exactly what goes into the recipe and can make sure that your dog is getting the proper nutrients. With these few simple recipes you can bake a large number of dog cookies and similar treats.

              7. Crochet animal toys

              crochet dog toys

                Dogs love to have something to chase and play with, say a little animal friend, and you can create tons of fun and easily replaceable crochet animals. They can be designed any way you want and incredibly cheap to make.

                8. Boiled chicken breast, vegetable broth and boiled rice for an upset stomach

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                chicken broth

                  If your dog has a problematic stomach or is vomiting his food you should fast him, i.e. give him no food and only a bit of water for the next 12-24 hours. Then you can give them some nice chicken or vegetable broth that you can make yourself, combined with some boiled rice in a few small servings during the day for the next few days until he starts feeling better.

                  9. Yogurt for dogs with diarrhea

                  dog eating yogurt

                    Sometimes our little buddies will get some serious tummy problems, and it’s mostly due to the fact that they will put almost anything in their mouth. For those times when your dog has diarrhea it is important to keep him hydrated and not to upset the stomach further, and yogurt will help soothe the inflammation and promote the growth of good bacteria.

                    10. Homemade dog shampoo

                    Let’s not beat around the bush here – dogs will take every opportunity to get dirty. While decent dog shampoos can end up costing you quite a bit in the long run, an easy to make DIY shampoo can last you a long time and cost you very little. It doesn’t take a chemist to mix a few ingredients together and pour it into a bottle, so anyone can do it.

                    11. Tasty bacon sticks

                    bacon sticks

                      When you need a quick tasty snack and don’t want to spend a fortune on high-quality store-bought treats, you can make these delicious bacon sticks. You only need a little bit of each ingredient and you can make a bunch of very healthy and wholesome snacks that your pooch will enjoy.

                      12. Frozen treats for the hot summer

                      dog eating frozen treat

                        You can take all kinds of things from fruit to chicken broth and freeze them in a bowl of water to create a big frozen treat. Your dog has to spend some time licking away at the icy surface before he or she can melt enough of it away to get to the tasty treats inside. It can easily be a couple of hours of fun for your furry little friend and it will help him keep cool down and stay hydrated during the hotter months.

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                        13. Fancy DIY dog bowl

                        calk-board-dog-bowl

                          A very simple, yet very original project is the chalkboard doggy bowl. You’ll need a simple ceramic bowl, some tape to put around the edge and a can of flat black chalkboard paint. Once the paint has dried you can take off the tape and then write little messages with chalk.

                          14. Dog eating station

                          dog feeding station

                            If you have a bigger dog, chances are he or she is going to make a mess when eating as the bowl will get moved around as the dog enthusiastically chows down on the food. With a few simple items and a bit of elbow grease you can make a dog eating station that keeps the food and water bowl in place.

                            15. Light treat puzzle

                            PVC pipe dog treat puzzle

                              Treat puzzles are a great way to keep your dog occupied for a while and to help him develop his cognitive skills. The problem is that store-bought puzzles can easily cost $30-$60. Luckily, you can make some very simple snack puzzles with muffin tins, tennis balls or some PVC pipes that will keep your doggie excited and occupied. You can even just put some treats in a small cardboard box, and put it inside a slightly larger one, then just let your dog tear through it to get to the goodies.

                              16. Doggy backpack

                              doggy backpack

                                You often have to carry poo bags, snacks, some water and other items along on long walks or hikes, so why not have your dog carry his own stuff? If you know your way around a sewing machine you’ll be able to whip up a stylish backpack for your best friend using some basic dirt cheap materials.

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                                17. Cheap and easy tug of war rope

                                braided t shirt dog toy

                                  There is no need to spend any money on ropes and similar toys that can be easily destroyed and are often somewhat overpriced for what they are. We all have tons of old t shirts lying around, and you can cut them into strips and use them to braid your own rope. You can play tug of war and let your dog chew on it as much as he wants, as you will have a good supply of extra material that allows you to easily make new ropes.

                                  18. Sock ball for playing catch

                                  sock ball

                                    Old socks can also make a very simple, but incredibly effective dog toy. You just put a sock inside of another and keep rolling and covering, then add another one and another one until you have a ball of sufficient size. You can play catch or just let your dog slowly go through the layers. It is inexpensive and recyclable, i.e. you can make it again after your dog untangles it.

                                    19. Simple slingshot for playing fetch

                                    slingshot

                                      Using simple items like a branch and some rubber tubing you can easily make a great large slingshot which you can use to propel small balls across large distances. This way your arms won’t get too tired when playing fetch and you’ll be able to throw the ball really far, giving your dog a good opportunity to exercise.

                                      20. DIY dog tags

                                      handmade dog tags

                                        You can have lots of fun and come up with some interesting DIY dog tag designs in your spare time – this way your dog gets a great little dog tag, which can help you find him if he gets lost, and you get to spend some fun time crafting the perfect dog tag.

                                        I hope you find some of these DIY projects useful and that you can save yourself a lot of money, while at the same time keeping your dog healthy and happy.

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                                        Ivan Dimitrijevic

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                                        Published on November 14, 2018

                                        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                        With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                        For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                        In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                        Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                        Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                        It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                        For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                        Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                        Symptoms of Fatigue

                                        Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                        • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                        • mental blocks
                                        • lack of motivation
                                        • headache
                                        • dizziness
                                        • muscle weakness
                                        • slowed reflexes and responses
                                        • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                        • moodiness, such as irritability
                                        • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                        • reduced immune system function
                                        • blurry vision
                                        • short-term memory problems
                                        • poor concentration
                                        • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                        Causes of Fatigue

                                        The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                        • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                        • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                        • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                        • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                        Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                        Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                        If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                        Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                        Anemia

                                        Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                        Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                        There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                        This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                        Diabetes

                                        Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                        Sleep Apnea

                                        Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                        Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                        Thyroid disease

                                        An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                        Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                        • Lack of sleep
                                        • Too much sleep 
                                        • Alcohol and drugs 
                                        • Sleep disturbances 
                                        • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                        • Poor diet 

                                        Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                        • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                        • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                        • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                        • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                        Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                        Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                        • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                        • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                        • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                        How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                        Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                        1. Tell The Truth

                                        Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                        To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                        Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                        The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                        One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                        • How you feel
                                        • What time of day it is
                                        • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                        • How your mind and body reacts

                                        This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                        2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                        When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                        If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                        When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                        Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                        3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                        If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                        Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                        If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                        Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                        Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                        4. Express More Gratitude

                                        Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                        It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                        Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                        5. Focus On Yourself

                                        Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                        There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                        But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                        We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                        6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                        Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                        Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                        The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                        Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                        7. Take a Power Nap

                                        When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                        Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                        This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                        8. Take More Exercise

                                        The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                        Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                        The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                        You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                        9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                        To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                        Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                        My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                        10. Improve Your Diet

                                        Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                        Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                        On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                        To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                        Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                        Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                        11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                        Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                        When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                        Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                        My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                        12. Get Hydrated

                                        Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                        Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                        If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                        The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                        If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                        Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                        [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                        [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                        [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                        [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                        [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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