Is your dog a de-stuffer, like mine are? Or maybe your dog (or you) gets bored of toys pretty quickly? If you find yourself buying new dog toys often, then you probably know how increasingly expensive they are! An average stuffed toy at a pet store costs anywhere from $4-$10. Over time, even one or two new toys a month can add up fast! So, what to do? Is there somewhere to get really, really cheap dogs toys?
Nope. Not that I’ve been able to find, anyway.
But there IS somewhere to get really, really cheap “people toys” that are just as fun for your dog! I’ve been buying stuffed toys at garage sales for 10-25 cents each for the past year, and it’s been great. My dogs get a few new toys every single week of the summer (and I put some away for the winter, too), and it doesn’t even put a dent in my wallet! They love it, I love it, and all of those ruined toys no longer make me cringe thinking about how much I’ll have to spend on new ones. Just $.50 can usually buy anywhere from 1-5 new toys at a garage sale. On the other hand, 5 toys at PetSmart would cost anywhere from $15-30!
Garage sales are my Saturday morning ritual all summer, but even if it isn’t a regular activity of yours, keep an eye out for signs on telephone poles. If you’re out driving around on Saturday morning, you’re sure to pass a few. Or, if you have a bit of extra time, take a look at the ads in your local newspaper, and pick out a nice neighborhood sale to browse. There are always lots of people selling old stuffed animals for virtually nothing. You might even find a few bargains for yourself!
You can even take your dog(s) along with you, as I often do. It’s a great opportunity for socialization, since there are people and kids and strollers and other dogs everywhere! Especially if you have a puppy, this is a great way to get him or her used to different people and surroundings (provided all shots have been finished, of course).
It’s true that the toys you buy at garage sales may not always be quite as cute as the ones at the pet store (although I have found some really nice ones), but believe me, it won’t make any difference to your dog!
Please think of your dog’s safety and use common sense when picking out toys. Make sure there are no plastic eyes or small parts of any kind that could be a choking hazard if torn off, and always supervise your dog during playtime to make sure he or she is not ingesting the stuffing, or any of the materials. This could be harmful with both dog toys and people toys alike. If your dog doesn’t mind “empty” toys, you could even do the de-stuffing yourself before you give the toy to your dog. Then there’s no mess, and no worry.
Luckily, my dogs aren’t toy eaters, they just like to rip everything out of the poor things and spread the “guts” around the room. That seems to be part of the fun for them!