Frugal living for dog lovers!

Saving Doggie Dollars

by Brenda Nixon

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It's annoying to pay twice (or feel like you are) for the same product. Before you bail out, try these three money-saving tips to get the full value out of your purchases:

  1. We have a miniature dachshund, Opie. Like most dogs, he loves to chew and sleep on a cozy bed. When I go to pet stores, I'm appalled at the high price of pet toys. What do I do? I recycle my daughter's old teething toys. Why pay twice? After the toys have outlived their usefulness with my kid, I give them to the dog. Often I look for good quality chew toys at garage sales. Most garage sales offer a box of 10-cent items. I nose through the box to see if I can find stuffed animals or toddler teething toys. Opie's favorites are squeaky stuffed animals. When I bring them home, he chews, runs, and tosses "his" new toys around the room. By the end of the week, he's ripped it open and pulled out the squeak box. Then he loses interest. However, for a dime, I can afford short-term doggie entertainment.

  2. Another way to save my doggie dollars is to make my own pet biscuits. Many of the store-bought treats are expensive and unhealthy. They can contain added sugars and unnecessary fats for a dog's diet. I've found healthy recipes using ingredients already in my pantry. If the ingredients are already there for my family, they can serve double duty in pet treats. I go to for pet food recipes.

  3. Ancestors of today's domesticated canines were the original cave dwellers. And dogs still like a familiar, small personal "space" to sleep. From the first day we brought Opie home, we provided him a kennel for cozy, nighttime sleep. The kennel boundaries give him security and often he'll go inside for a daytime doze. I want to insure it's inviting. But why pay for a "dog bed" from the store when I've something already? I've found that an old, unused chair cushion is perfect for Opie's kennel. I utilize one that's outlived its service (or recycle someone else's from a garage sale). The familiar smell of his "pack" is appealing to a dog. And the over-stuffed cushion provides just the right padding to snuggle down in. Opie likes to dig. After several months, he'll wear away the material and "gut" his original kennel cushion. Then I toss in another old or unused cushion. These items have far too many uses to be thrown away when they're no longer needed by the humans in our homes.

With a little ingenuity, you can save money through recycling and avoid the crashing of a financial nose-dive. After all, why pay twice?

Brenda Nixon ( lives in Ohio with her husband, two daughters and Opie. She is a national speaker and author on parenting, her newest title, The Birth to Five Book is available at

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