The Water Bowl
Breed & Health Resources

Everyday Household Items Useful for Pet Care

By Roxanne Hawn

Frugal by nature and necessity, I’m not one to spend scads of dollars on pet-specific items when something I have at home or can get easily and inexpensively at a regular store will do.


Stinky dog laundry makes using bleach and other harsh cleaners tempting, but inexpensive vinegar makes a decent bleach replacement in the laundry. If, like me, you get headaches from the laundry detergents whose perfumed smells last weeks, you’ll be grateful for the little or no scent of vinegar when items come out of the laundry.

Microfiber Towels

Simply wet one with plain water and wipe your pet down to remove pollen or other environmental allergens when she comes inside from playing. You can usually buy big packs of these towels at grocery stores, or even home improvement stores. Just be sure not to mix the ones you use on your pets with the ones you use to clean house.

Memory Foam Bath Mats

These make great crate mats, pet beds, and even padding for your own behind, if (like me) you spend a lot of time on the floor with your pet. I recently bought two large ones at my local membership warehouse store for less than $10 each.

Regular Bath Mats

Typical bath mats also make nice floor and furniture protectors if your pet becomes incontinent. I got a bunch at local thrift stores and garage sales. The rubber backing provides good traction and a moisture barrier, and usually these mats wash and dry easily.

Beware of the fancy microfiber/shag style bath mats though. Washing just one nearly killed my washing machine. It was crazy-heavy when fully wet. We have to take the ones I bought to the car wash now.

Old Flat Sheets

When I buy new bedding (rarely), I keep the flat sheet from my old sheet set to use as a “top sheet” on our bed. If you allow your pets on the bed, it’s much easier to wash and dry that one sheet than it is to wash a big bedspread or wrestle the down comforter out of the duvet for cleaning.

Old Sweater Sleeves

You can make easy, inexpensive small dog sweaters from an old sweater sleeve. For tiny dogs, you could even use an old sock.

Fleece Fabric

Certain times of the year, fabric stores put big bolts of fleece fabric on sale – at least 50% off the usual per-yard price. Time your shopping just right, and you can make fast, easy dog blankets - dog bedding that washes and dries like a dream. No sewing needed.

Share Your Pet Care Secrets

What other everyday or DIY items have you used for your pets?

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