Products on the market for dogs are continuously growing, at a rate not dissimilar to our puppy Bella! You may have found that some are more expensive than you would expect. In this blog, we aren't discouraging you from buying these products but simply offering you cheaper alternatives as we know that in these times many are finding themselves in financial difficulty.
There's a choice of many treat mazes and puzzles available on the market, but I was shocked to see these priced at around £15. They usually involve lids for your dog to pick up or objects to slide in order to uncover hidden goodies. If you don't want to fork out for a puzzle your pup may work out within minutes, especially if they're a clever spaniel like Mickey, we have a few cheap alternatives you can make at home.
You may have noticed your dog loves plastic bottles, so why not make it into a toy? Simply cut a hole in the side and fill with treats, or thread a pole through and suspend it so your pup has to spin it for the yummies to drop out.
Perhaps even more simple, thread your dog's favourite soft treats onto a long line of string and hang up each side. They'll enjoy trying to get the food off the bouncing string. Examples of what you could use are cucumber and banana.
Keep It Natural
If you follow Tali's Tails, you'll know that I'm a firm believer in natural foods for dogs. Instead of spending five or ten pounds on a KONG 'Easy Treat' squirty bottle (which contains preservatives), why not fill your KONG with cheaper, more natural ingredients?
You can use natural yoghurt which costs less than a pound for several KONG's worth, and freeze it to reduce the mess. You can also stuff KONGs with peanut butter (made from 100% peanuts), frozen mashed banana, wet dog food, or mashed up softened kibble.
Is Your Pup A Softie?
If you're tired of ordering yet another expensive 'tough' toy which your dog pulls the legs off within minutes, why not save your pennies?
If you have any unwanted soft toys from your children, give these to your pooch (with permission), or find some in a charity shop. Just make sure they don't contain anything harmful your dog could swallow like buttons.
They may not have a squeaker but I'm sure your pooch will be parading his or her new toy infront of you in no time!
Keep Their Nose Busy
If you have a spaniel or any other breed which have been bred to use their nose, this one could be for you. A snuffle mat is a mat with fabric threaded through to create hiding places for food and treats, meaning the dog must sniff out the goodies.
You can purchase a snuffle mat for around £10-£20, or make one yourself like I did in the picture above. This is perfect if you're looking for a crafting project to occupy your mind, and it's really easy to create. All you need is a rubber outdoor mat and some fleece cut into 20x5cm strips. Knot them through the holes and you're done! This took me just a couple of hours to make, but has already entertained Mickey and Bella for many more hours.
No-one wants a wet dog running round the house (especially when they decide to rub themselves on things) so you may decide to invest in a drying coat for post-bath time. Pictured above is Mickey in his Ruff and Tumble drying coat, which does work fantastically, but comes with an eye-watering price tag of £40.
I decided that for my puppy Bella, I wasn't able to spend this again so I improvised.
Believe it or not, I didn't put this dressing gown on Bella just to look cute, although it definitely acheives that! I actually purchased it for her as a drying coat for around £10. It's actually a child's dressing gown, aged 3-4, and has plenty of growing room. Mickey's Ruff and Tumble coat does dry him better, but is it worth the price difference? I'm not so sure.