I am not going to lie. I love to give our little pups everything they could possibly want. As rescue dogs, they have been through a lot. As we have been training Tasha to be a better canine citizen, we have been able to deduce certain things about her past, including the fact that she had been abused, most likely with a knife or other metal object. So, we really want to give her everything she needs for our own psychological peace of mind to make up for how she was treated in the past. We are, however, on a budget and love to do it for less. Here are some ideas we found to pamper both pups while staying within our budget:
1. DIY Dog Jackets
Being only 20 pounds, Tasha and Arccos both get cold extremely easily in the Wisconsin winter. I think any dogs would though. Inspired by the jacket we bought her last year for about $20, I decided to pick up some fleece (on sale at Johann Fabrics during the summer months!) and try my hand at making my own. I used 1″ nylon and some clips I found on amazon for the closures instead of velcro because velcro gets all kinds of gunk in it and then doesn’t close properly. All in all, the jackets cost about $5.00 each. You can get the directions here.
2. DIY Fleece Dog Toys
I hate having wasted fabric scraps so I used some of the leftovers from the dog jacket to make dog toys. I cut the scraps into strips and then made them into a big twisting lanyard. Unfortunately for me, Tasha is a power chewer and I doubt this toy will stick around for long.
3. DIY Dog Boots
Another use for your fleece fabric scraps is to make dog booties. I would love to make these for Tasha, but I doubt she would be willing to keep them on. Maybe Arccos would be willing. However, for those of you who do have patient dogs, here is a tutorial from Condo Blues.
4. DIY Healthy Dog Treats
Tasha has allergies up the wazoo so it is very difficult to buy her dog treats especially at a reasonable price. Because we don’t want to give Arccos anything Tasha can’t have, he is kept to the same diets. I have found that both LD and Tasha love dried fruit treats. We bought a food dehydrator soon after our wedding and love it! We got this one from Amazon for about $35 and we use it constantly, especially during the harvest season because fresh fruits and vegetables are so cheap. One of the best things we do is use a mandoline slicer to slice apples about 1/4″ thick and then dry them out in the dehydrator. After they are dry, we tear them into smaller pieces to use as training treats. Tasha goes nuts for them and even during the off season a pound of apples is less than $3. We have yet to see if Arccos will love them as much as Tasha.
5. DIY Dog Bed
Tasha has become a fan of curling up on our couch pillows if we leave them on the ground so I decided to make her her own dog pillow (and if she is nice to share with Arccos). There are many different DIY dog bed options out there, but this one from Craft Foxes is one of my favorites, as it is simple and even creates a little sleeping bag part for the dog to burrow into.
6. DIY Rope Dog Toys
I found this awesome tutorial on how to make a monkey’s fist dog toy on Instructables. I have yet to make it because Tasha is still loving the one we got in bark box a couple months ago, but when she eventually chews through it, I can’t wait to give this a try. Both dogs absolutely love rope toys and it’s their favorite thing to play with together.
7. DIY Dog Collars
I love making dog collars because they are so simple and make really good donations for animal shelters. I make them similarly to the tutorial here, except I usually don’t add a fancy ribbon.
8. DIY Agility Equipment
About 9 months ago, LD and I made Tasha her own agility equipment. The items cost less than $25 for both a multilevel jump and weave polls. You can find the tutorial here.
9. Tips on Getting Dog Food for Cheaper
As I have said before, Tasha has an insane amount of allergies. Because of this, we only have about 4 options for dog food, all of which are expensive. We have found that Chewy has the best prices for the higher end dog foods, all of which can be shipped for free if you get the larger size bags, but I would spend the 10 minutes to compare prices. It saved us about $20 per bag! However, if you are getting brands like Purina. Check the company’s websites constantly for coupons. They almost all have them. Back before we knew Tasha’s issues with chicken, I would be able to get manufacturers coupons, target coupons, and a cartwheel for Purina One, making the 18 lb bags cost less than $10. Blue Buffalo also tends to have coupons frequently. If you get a good dog food container, you don’t have to worry about spoilage when you get the larger bags. Tasha and Arccos each eat a cup of food a day, but we get the 27 lb bags of Canine Caviar. Back when we had only one dog, the big bag would last us 3 months and we put it a Vitties Vault, which seals really nicely and can even outsmart our devious little cattle dog by keeping her out. Even now that we have two dogs and the food goes twice as fast, I still love the vault. We even got three for our kitchen for bulk items such as flour and rice and have had no pest issues.
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