Econo-Dog: The Toy Department

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
October 3, 2011

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Dogs don't care a bit about brand names and they don't feel hurt if you can't lay out the big cash for toys and equipment. Their main daily needs are for attention, affection, and physical and mental exercise. Hey, how much money does it cost to give Dogalini a walk?

As for toys, you can leave your credit card panting in agony after a trip to the pet supply store, or try some low-cost and no-cost alternatives.

Those $10 stuffed toys dogs love to disembowel can be found at thrift stores and garage sales, disguised as kids' stuffed toys. Choose ones stuffed with kapok rather than pellets, throw them in the wash to get rid of any fumigants, cut off buttons or other decorations, and for $0.25, you're good to go.

Food-dispensing toys? Do invest in a few durable ones that are safe for your dog to use alone (Kong and Everlasting Fun Ball, for instance). But if you're home to keep an eye on Dogalini, take an empty, clean, dry plastic soda bottle or milk jug, put some dry food in it, leave it open, maybe cut a few more holes in it, and let her shake and chew it to get out the food.

Save cardboard paper towel cores, put dry food inside, and fold over the ends. Rip! Shred! Recycle!

Get a cardboard box and some wax paper or newspaper (if your dog won't eat it). Wrap dry treats in twists of newspaper, toss them in the box, and add plain crumpled newspaper to fill the extra space, and turn your dog loose to sniff out the goods. Yes, there's cleanup involved.


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