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  1.  “The best pet care advice I’ve ever received came from my grandmother. She said to use Dawn dishwashing liquid on my dogs instead of expensive pet shampoos, and I won’t ever have to worry about fleas. My dogs have been flea-free since their first wash with Dawn, despite how much we play outside!”-Cassandra Boyd, Evansville, Ind.
  2. “When my Cocker Spaniel Delilah was about eight months old, I took her to a training class. We learned a useful command that I’m so glad I taught my other dogs: ‘leave it.’ The dog steps back or looks away from something they’re not supposed to touch, like human food. I’ve used it so many times for small problems that when something dangerous happened, it was pure gold. This summer we’ve had three poisonous snakes come up too close to the house and I’ve easily been able to get the dogs inside.”-Cathy Whitney, Claremore, Oklahoma
  3. “Nutrition is key! If you invest in better foods for your pets, they will be rewarded with a much healthier life. Many commercial foods are loaded with fillers and by-products that make for pudgy kitties and pooches with pooches. Feed your pet like they would eat in the wild: high protein, low carb and as little processing as possible.”-Sarah Borchelt, Chesterfield, Mo.
  4. “Our vet showed me that the best and easiest way to clip our dog’s nails was to file them down quickly with a cordless Dremel rotary tool. My husband typically uses his to grind down rough edges. For dogs, it’s very similar to the Pedi Paws device that’s sold on TV, but that doesn’t have nearly as much power. The Dremel tool grinds well. No chipping, cracking or clipping the quick by mistake―no pain for the dog. It works great!”-Cindy Brickley, State College, Pa.
  5. “The best advice I ever received came from two colleagues at Heart Bandits American Eskimo Dog Rescue (I’m the nationwide transport coordinator for this organization). It has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years. The first tip: Buy pet supplies online at KV Pet Equine, kvvet.com. Their prices are the lowest of all the pet sites out there."-Le Ann Cayer Houston, Texas
  6. “The best tip I was ever given has to do with what pets can do for the human spirit―they calm us. Simply stroking a dog, cat, horse or even a bird can be so soothing. As a parent, it’s easy to get stressed, but having animals around makes those times easier. It brings a big smile to my face when I see my daughter playing with our bulldog Mable. They truly love one another. Mable has taken to my daughter as her ‘nanny.’”-Tara Lisciandro-Hornich, Piscataway, N.J.
  7. He’s sure to treasure these keepsakes: Create blank books with printer paper and encourage your kids to write a story about Dad or create a scrapbook with photos printed from the computer.
  8. Pay tribute to Dad’s favorite hobby and satisfy a sweet tooth and in one fell swoop. The simplest approach? Ice a cake or cookies with the colors of his top sports team. Blogger Meaghan Mountford of thedecoratedcookie.com took it to the next level, creating the cupcakes you see here. Rolled-out gumdrops become sweet fish and crabs for a dad who lives to fish. To complete the look, she used baker’s twine (threaded through the fish with a sewing needle) and a lollipop stick as a pole.
  9. A special gift is the prize on this fun hunt through the house or the backyard. Help the kids devise clues, written on small scraps of paper, that lead him from the garage to the basement and so on. Spoiler alert: The little ones might be more excited than Dad as he gets close to the finish.
  10. Using heavyweight wrapping paper or card stock, cut out the letters to spell We Love Dad or Happy Father’s Day. Blogger Sarah Hearts created the adorable sign at left; find the template at sarahhearts.com. Or create your own by printing out a message in a large font and tracing around the letters. (In addition to scissors, you’ll need an X-acto knife and a craft cutting mat for certain letters.) With a small hole punch, make two openings at the top of each letter.
  11. Get active as a family! Hike or ride bikes in a nearby park—and take along some of these fortifying, portable goodies. Popcorn Snack Bars Lemon-Yogurt Snack Cake Snickerdoodle Bars
  12. Even if it’s just in the backyard! Lay a blanket on the ground and fill a basket or bag with Dad’s favorite sandwiches, snacks and more. Each member of the family—the ones who are old enough, that is—can be in charge of one element of the meal, so the kids feel ownership of the occasion, too. Afterward, get the gang involved in a no-supplies-needed yard game: Simon Says, Capture the Flag or Red Light, Green Light.