1. Make your own healthy dog treats. I know, I know what your thinking "when do I have time for that!" or "is this really going to save me money?" OK, first the time issue. You would be surprised at how little time this actually takes plus you might be even more surprised at how this is kind of therapeutic. It's a little bit of time that allows you to "zone out" from the pressures of the day. Or if it's been one of those days at the office, you can take out some frustration by kneading and punching the dough (insert bosses face here). And come on, your doing it for your babies - which are totally worth it! Now second, YES, this does save you money! Depending on the recipe and where you shop will determine how much money you will save. Also take into consideration that these are natural and healthy treats which are good for your dog, and the healthier your dog is, the less you spend at the vet! Here is one of my (and Conner's) favorite recipes.
Peanut Butter Goodness Dog Treats
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 cups white flour
- 1/2 cup natural or organic peanut butter
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbls. oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (*see note). Combine oil, peanut butter and water. Add flour one cup at a time, forming a dough. Knead dough into a firm ball and roll to a 1/4" thickness. You can use a small (1") or medium (3") cookie cutter in the shape of your choice - Conner likes the bone shape of course (he's old fashion). Or if no cookie cutter, just cut into the size you want. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
*Now, the baking time and temp is what the recipe calls for. However, your treats will last longer if you naturally dehydrate them by cooking them on a lower temperature for a longer time. I bake these at 250 F for an hour and a half. Depending on your oven, I would suggest checking them periodically after the initial hour. When they feel pretty hard, they are done! They should last 3-4 weeks (unless Fido finds the stash and eats them all up!).
Average total cost of these ingredients is $10.00. You should be able to make 4 batches with a 16 oz. jar of peanut butter, which works out to be $2.50 per batch. If you make small treats you should get around 90 - 100 treats per batch (that's about $.03 per treat) and around 30 of the medium size treats (that about $.08 per treat). Saves money? You bet! And you will feel rewarded when your dog thumps her tail in appreciation!! You can visit www.all-natural-dog-treats.com for more great recipes!
2. Buy Eco Friendly Dog Toys. Eco Friendly doesn’t always mean recycled. It also means long-lasting, durable, sustainable goods. You want to invest your money in dog toys that are going to “take a licking and keep on ticking” or better put "take a chewing and keep on squeaking"! Now that being said, Conner has shattered the myth of the indestructible dog toy! But, I have found many toys that have lasted quite a while, such as toys from West Paw Design and Kong. Also for the pooches that enjoy soft toys, buy toys made from natural or organic cotton or stuffed with recycled material. And if your dog de-stuffes a toy, try to save the stuffing and re-use it in a homemade toy from a sock or old towel. How does all this save you money? The longer lasting the toy, the more time your best friend has to play with it and the less money you spend replacing it. OK – Shameless Website Plug coming……. Check out all the cool eco-friendly dog toys on my website at www.hipgreendogs.com. (ok, plug over). Want to see some in action? Watch this real world video featuring toys made of Zogoflex from West Paw Design.
3. Use Natural Flea & Tick repellents. Fleas and ticks – YUCK! Price of popular, chemical filled, preventatives – BIGGER YUCK! I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly enjoy shucking out anywhere from $50 to $100 every six months for flea and tick preventative. Plus, I really do not enjoy Conner’s reaction every time I tried to apply it. As soon as I brought out the package, he ran and hid. Once I coaxed him out and put it on, he would go nuts, run out side and roll all over the place like the poor baby was on fire. We hated it!!! Do you know what they put in this stuff??? It’s scary. It just not safe for pets or animals. Check out www.greenpaws.org. It is a great site with a ton of information about the dangerous chemicals in these products. Here are some ideas for Natural Flea and Tick prevention and treatment. Regularly bathe your dog with natural shampoos, Brush and comb your dog often, after outside time check for fleas or ticks. If you find a tick remove it immediately (try using dish washing soap, they hate it) or for fleas try using a natural flea repelling shampoo, Use Cedarwood Essential Oil which repels critters. (Uh Oh – here comes another one of those shameless plugs) Check out the many natural flea and tick treatments and natural shampoos I have at www.hipgreendogs.com including the Cedarwood Oil. Note, I would not recommend applying Essential Oils directly to pets. They can be extremely sensitive. I would suggest putting it on their collar. Or you can dilute it with olive oil (6 drops olive oil for 1 drop cedarwood oil) and apply drops along their spine. However if it seems to bother your dog, discontinue use.
4. Reuse and Recycle! Turn an old sock or cut up and braid an old towel and use as toys. (Remember, to always supervise your pet with any toy). Time for a new collar or leash? Donate your gently used ones to a local shelter or rescue group. Updating your dog bed or getting a new toy? The shelters can use these too, please donate your gently used ones. Speaking of shelter and rescue groups – the ultimate Eco Friendly Tip – ADOPT! There are so many adorable, sweet, dogs out there that need loving homes. If your considering adding to your family, please visit your local shelter or rescue group and bring home one of these babies.
These are just a few tips on how going green will save some green. You may also want to explore the dog food you are using. Many vets are recommending a raw diet which is healthier. Try to use as many natural or organic dog products as you can. The healthier your four legged baby is, the happier you both are and less money spent on those costly vet bills! Also, even though money can be tight, consider spending a little more on things like eco friendly dog beds, collars and toys. Even though these may cost a little more up front, they save you money in the long run by being more durable and lasting longer. Oh yeah, and it just so happens to help erase those carbon pawprints! Woof!
Happy Holidays from Conner and Heather at HipGreenDogs.com Here’s a cute video from all the Hip Animals to bring you some holiday cheer! Hope you enjoy!