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5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Beloved Pet Happy and Healthy At All Times


Keeping your beloved dog or cat happy and healthy at all times is what all pet owners strive for. Luckily, minor hassles that cause dry skin or even a barking frenzy can be fixed, thanks to these five easy pet care tips!

Help an aging kitty groom.

Your elderly kitty’s stiff joints make it hard for her to groom certain spots, and they seem to be more flaky lately. The connection? Less grooming means she isn’t distributing natural oils through her fur, resulting in dry skin. Help her out with a paper towel! Simply rub it in circular motions over the areas she can’t reach. The gentle rubbing will help distribute the oils to hydrate skin and reduce flaking.

Freshen up the house fast.

Argh! Even with regular mopping and vacuuming, the strong odors left behind by the pets in your house continue to linger in the air. Unfortunately, many air fresheners can be toxic to pets. But experts say this super-easy DIY solution can work safely for both you and your best pal: Before replacing the filters in your heating or air-conditioning systems, add a few drops of vanilla extract to the existing ones. The sweet scent will circulate through your house every time the air kicks on, masking any unpleasant animal smells within minutes.

Give your cat a cozy spot.

It makes you nervous when your kitty sneaks into enclosed spaces like your dryer or a dark closet because she might get trapped inside. But since cats find comfort in small, semi-enclosed spaces, you can create a “hidey” hole that your gal can crawl in and out of with ease. To do: Take a Styrofoam cooler, cut a hole near the top that’s big enough for your cat to fit through, place the lid on and flip the entire thing upside down; set a blanket and a toy inside. The Styrofoam will make the “house” extra warm and your sweetie will have a safe, comfy place to cuddle up in.

Stop Buster from barking at the door.

Every time your doorbell chimes or someone knocks on the door, it sends your pup into a barking frenzy — and you just wish he’d stop. To nip this pesky behavior in the bud, fill a glass jar 1⁄3 of the way full with uncooked rice and screw the lid on tight. The next time your pal starts making a ruckus at the door, shake the jar. The unpleasant noise will startle him so he settles down. Do this as needed, and he’ll soon associate the rice’s noise with barking and stop altogether.

Trick for easy, low-cost pet chew.

You love giving Fido a hard toy to gnaw on as a treat, and since chewing releases calm-inducing serotonin, you also like how it helps him relax. The problem? It gets pricey to keep buying him new toys. Save some cash and keep your pup happy with something you likely already have on hand — a carrot! Simply peel it, pop it in the freezer and when you’re ready to reward him, toss him the veggie. This vet-approved goodie is healthy to eat and will satisfy your dog’s urge to chew. Win-win!

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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