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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.

                                        More by this author

                                        Ivan Dimitrijevic

                                        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                                        Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                                        Feeling tired all the time?

                                        Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                                        I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                                        Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                                        If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                                        In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                                        What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                                        If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                                        Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                                        • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                                        • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                                        • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                                        • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                                        • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                                        • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                                        • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                                        Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                                        Unfortunately, yes!

                                        Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                                        Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                                        Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                                        Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

                                        Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                                        Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

                                        1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
                                        2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                                        3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                                        The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

                                        It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                                        Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                                        Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

                                        If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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                                        Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                                        Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                                        But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

                                        Symptoms of fatigue include:

                                        • Difficulty concentrating
                                        • Low stamina
                                        • Difficulty sleeping
                                        • Anxiety
                                        • Low motivation

                                        These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                                        Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                                        How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                                        The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                                        Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                                        So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                                        The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                                        Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                                        Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                                        If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                                        And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                                        It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                                        4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                                        Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                                        1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                                        2. Exercising regularly
                                        3. Using stressbusters
                                        4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                                        So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

                                        After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                                        In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                                        I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                                        Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                                        • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
                                        • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
                                        • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                                        • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                                        The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

                                        And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                                        But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                                        L — Living Healthy

                                        Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

                                        So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                                        In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

                                        As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                                        Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                                        1. Unplug

                                        Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

                                        So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                                        2. Unwind

                                        Do something to relax.

                                        Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                                        3. Get Comfortable

                                        Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                                        Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

                                        Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                                        Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

                                        If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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                                        Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

                                        This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                                        E — Exercise

                                        Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                                        That’s what happened in my case.

                                        But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

                                        As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                                        My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                                        That made sense to me.

                                        So, I decided to swim.

                                        I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                                        Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                                        Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                                        So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

                                        If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                                        A — Attitude

                                        Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                                        When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

                                        Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                                        Breathing.

                                        But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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                                        Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                                        1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                                        2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
                                        3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
                                        4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
                                        5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
                                        6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

                                        This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                                        When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

                                        Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                                        N — Nutrition

                                        Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                                        If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

                                        Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

                                        For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                                        Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                                        Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                                        1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                                        2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                                        3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
                                        4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
                                        5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                                        6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                                        7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
                                        8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                                        9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

                                        Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                                        That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                                        Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

                                        If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

                                        If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

                                        • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                                        • Regular Exercise You Love
                                        • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                                        • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

                                        Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                                        More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                                        Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

                                        [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                                        [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                                        [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                                        [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                                        [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                                        [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                                        [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                                        [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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