Welcome

Welcome to ThriftyDog.net, a site packed with ideas for cheaper, greener, more responsible dog ownership.

Life with a dog is a wonderful thing, but it can also be expensive. There's no point scrimping on things like vets bills and insurance, but there are opportunities to be more frugal without compromising your dog's health and happiness.

There are also concerns about the environmental impact of pet ownership or 'carbon pawprint'. Lots of us are thinking more about where our food and clothing comes from and how it's produced, but don't always extend this awareness to our pet's consumables.

The idea behind Thrifty Dog is that both of these issues can be tackled by a more creative approach to dog ownership. There are loads of cheap, environmentally friendly ways to keep your dog fit, healthy and entertained, including making your own dog toys and accessories. So if you want to make dog ownership a bit more sustainble, cut down costs or just have fun making things and playing with your dog then you've come to the right place.

Homemade Kong stuffing

This isn't strictly a homemade dog toy; more a thrifty spin on an old favourite. A Kong is a sturdy, stuffable toy made of natural rubber. A well-stuffed Kong can keep Thrifty Dog entertained for at least half and hour. And you don't need to splash out on expensive treats or ready-made stuffing for your Kong when there are plenty of cheap, homemade alternatives...

Homemade dog neckerchief / dog bandana

Fashion isn't high on Thrifty Dog's list of interests (at least, it's below running around and getting muddy!), but there's no denying he pulls off this look. A dog neckerchief, or dog bandana, from an online pet shop costs £5.99 (about $9), but it couldn't be much easier to make one at home for next to nothing.

Wrapping paper for dogs

This may sound like a silly idea, but the fact is that most dogs really do enjoy unwrapping things. And this is such a cheap and easy way to entertain your dog that it doesn't have to be reserved for special occasions. You can even get away with wrapping up toys and treats that aren't brand new, without any of the embarrassment this would cause with humans!

Homemade dog toy: Stuffed rag toy

Another idea for a cheap, DIY dog toy. This is similar to the homemade rope dog toy in that it makes use of old rags or a second-hand cotton sheet, but this time the toy is stuffed with food or treats. It's made from fabric scraps and a few bits of dry dog food or leftovers, so this dog toy costs just a few pence to make - super frugal dog entertainment!

Homemade dog shampoo

This idea comes from a handy article on hub pages. Commercial dog shampoo is expensive stuff, and as with many dog products you can't help feeling that it's pretty basic stuff packaged up with a cute picture of a bichon-frise slapped on the bottle.

Homemade dog toy: Rope dog toy

Rope or 'raga' dog toys are a long-standing favourite. They are good for indoor games and dogs seem to find something comforting about gnawing on what is essentially a big chunk of cotton. Thrifty Dog practically falls asleep while chewing on his raga toy.

The trouble is, as with so many commercial dogs toys, rope toys don't come cheap. For a decently-sized rope toy, for a dog like Thrifty Dog who has decently-sized jaws, you can easily pay over £5 ($8) for something that doesn't even last that long. But don't despair, there is a quick and easy way to make similar toys at home for a fraction of the cost.

Dogs on trains

Most dog owners don't think twice about bunging the dog in the back of the car for a walk, day out or holiday. But cars are not the only way to travel with your faithful friend. Taking your dog on the train could offer a cheaper and greener alternative.