Life with a puppy can sure add up. It goes beyond just buying food on a regular basis. On average, a dog owner will spend anywhere from $700 to upwards of $3,000 per year on a dog. That’s an average monthly cost of $90 to $290. Of that total amount, anywhere from $25 – $100 of that is focused on toys.
Now, there are some areas of dog care where you’ll likely not go the inexpensive route. You want the best classes and training. You want the best veterinarian around. You want to give your dog quality food, so that he lives a long and healthy life.
But when it comes to toys, you have a bit more leeway. Consider dog toys like kids’ clothes. Why spend a lot of money on a growing baby’s clothes, when in a week the clothes will no longer fit.
Dogs don’t necessarily outgrow toys, however, they do have a knack for destroying even the most “indestructible” toys. And believe it or not, puppies can be the biggest culprits of the toy-mutilation epidemic. Puppies’ teeth are incredibly sharp. While a dog can playfully nip at you without your feeling a pinch, a puppy’s teeth are so sharp that you’ll probably think you were just stung by fifty bees. Now, imagine how a toy must feel.
The other thing to factor is that puppies go through teething cycles, so they spend a considerable amount of time chomping away at toys. During the first year of your puppy’s life, you could go through a boatload of toys. Why then should you spend tons of money for something that probably won’t last the month?
You don’t have to. There are inexpensive toys available for you, including some make-it-at-home toys that your puppy will love just as much as an expensive, store-bought toy.
Make Your Own Toys:
Let’s start with the most inexpensive option you have out there – the make-your-own toys. These toys incorporate items you likely already have at home, meaning it will cost nothing to make, aside from a few minutes of your time.
Plastic Bottle Bonanza
If you have any plastic milk or water bottle lying around, you have one of your puppy’s favorite toys at your fingertips. First and foremost, make sure you throw away the cap. The cap is a choking hazard for your dog.
Next, get a handful of smelly treats that your puppy loves. Stick them inside the bottle. Now, give your dog the bottle. He’ll go wild for so many reasons. For starters, he’ll love the crunchy sound made as he chews on the bottle (you might not love it, however). But he’ll also focus on his main goal: getting all those treats out of the bottle. It might take him a few hours to get all the treats out, meaning you just entertained him for the afternoon with little effort on your part.
Sock and Ball
All you need for this toy is, well, a sock and a ball. Let’s be more specific though. You don’t want a baseball; you want a tennis ball. All you have to do is put the ball into the sock, tie a knot above the ball and, voila, an instant toy. This can be a chew-on-your-own-time toy. It can be a tug-of-war toy, and it can be a let’s-play-fetch toy. Not bad for a simple two-object toy, right?
Is your puppy in one of his serious teething modes? Okay, replace that ball with a few ice cubes. The cold will help numb away his pain.
If you have an old teddy bear lying around, then you have a great puppy toy. However, you’ll absolutely want to remove ALL stuffing from the teddy bear.
Other Inexpensive Toy Options:
Here’s the ultimate “let me do nothing while you do all the work” toy. All you have to do is sit on the couch, and move your hand around, all while holding one of those laser pointers on the ground. Your dog will go crazy trying to capture that blasted red spot. Chances are he’ll chase it forever, so be mindful of that. Only use it in small doses so he doesn’t overexert himself.
Rope toys are relatively cheap, and, more importantly, are pretty sturdy. Forget the rope toys that have fancy objects in the middle. Just get a simple rope toy. Your dog will love it, and the toy will probably last for more than a year.
Remember when you were a child and you thought that a cardboard box was the coolest toy in the world? It could be a spaceship, a hotel, and a fort. You might have grown out of that phase, but your dog is always in that phase. Simple objects can be the greatest toys on earth to your dog. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to entertain your new puppy.