Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our December-January issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.
A new year comes with new goals. I don’t know about you, but for me that includes looking at my budget. Riggins, my adorable, sweet four-legged boy, takes up a huge chunk of my disposable income. I love him, and he deserves the best!
Is “the best” always necessary, though? Taking a look around the house at Riggins’ possessions, I see the ripped shell of a stuffed toy, a well-worn dog bed, the carcasses of a few dozen tennis balls, and half-chewed food bowls.
To Riggins’ credit, I am a dog sitter, so he has had lots of help in destroying these and many other items. Most of these things didn’t stay shiny and new for long and yet are still treasured by Riggins and his friends. Was it worth spending all that cash? Maybe not.
There are many items that you can feel safe purchasing secondhand for your pup. Here are just a few to get you thinking:
Inspect all of these items for problems and over-use. Make sure they aren’t too worn and/or can’t harm your dog (loose buttons, for example).
Anything that isn’t actually new should be washed and disinfected. You might need to get crafty with some items — like dog beds — and make a new cover out of inexpensive sheets or material you find on clearance. I once made my sister’s dog (who is enormous) a cover for his dog bed (which he had chewed beyond recognition during his puppy stage) from a duvet cover I found on sale. Other items, like food-dish holders, may need a fresh coat of paint.￼￼￼￼Where should you look for some great bargains on these new-to-you items? Here are a few suggestions:
My sister recently told me not to get my niece any more clothing. Why? Apparently, the little girl’s closet is already bursting at the seams with tiny shirts, pants, and dresses she has had passed down to her from friends. If you can take on pre-loved items for your child, why not your dog? Chat up your friends at the dog park. I bet you’ll find that lots of people have items their pup was never really into and that they would be willing to give away or even swap for something you have.
Remember when you first discovered eBay and the wonders of secondhand items for one-tenth of the cost of new? It just so happens that there is an entire section specifically for dog supplies. Make sure to limit your search to “used” to find the best deals.
It’s right in the name! At the Goodwill near me, you will find many of Riggins’ coats and sweaters that I used to make him wear before he put his paw down and refused to take part in such silliness.
I have an adorable dog bowl holder that I got at a very random flea market in Coarsegold, California (don’t worry if you don’t know where that is — no one does), while I was waiting for my niece to be born. Always keep your eyes open! A great find can show itself any time, anywhere.
You know the rules of good garage finds, right? Go early, bring one-dollar bills, and practice your best stone-cold negotiating face while you cruise the neighborhoods.
There is no doubt that in 2016, Riggins will continue to get new shiny things that take a bite out of my budget. But with some smart secondhand shopping, perhaps his piece of the pie won’t be quite as big as before!
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About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.