This post I started to write months ago and then never followed through because I felt personally I still had some changes to make when it comes to my pup Levi. These swaps are pretty simple and won't have your furry friend feeling any less loved I promise. Also prepare for an overload of photos of Levi.
Buy toys thats are appropriate for your pups needs. If you dog is a super chewer, don't buy toys that he/she will destroy in minutes. It's a waste of your time and money. Buy toys that will last, KONG makes toys for "power chewers" Also look into enrichment or puzzle toys that will shift your dogs focus from destroying to toy to figuring out how to get whats inside. Wild One makes dog toys and other accessories from natural resources and are intended to be pretty durable (like a stain and waterproof leash) and have a nice aesthetic. Have friends with dogs? Have a toy swap - your dog won't know the difference.
This is next on my swap list especially going through 2-4 bags a day it adds up quick. I currently have poo bags that are made from 50% recycled materials and are designed to break down quicker than regular plastic bags. There are now options of bags made from plants/cornstarch that have the ability to break down in a landfill within 90 days. I found a few better alternatives in order from least $ to most $$ below:
Like toys, buy a bed that is appropriate for your pups needs. If they are outdoors often then you'll probably want one with a removable cover that you can wash. There are elevated mesh dog beds that can be used indoors or outdoors and you can throw a blanket on as well and wash when needed. I find a comfy blanket is enough to make my pup happy, who also sleeps on my bed 90% of the time.
Barxby came out with a shampoo and conditioner bar equivalent to two bottles for your pup. All bars are vegan and made with natural ingredients. They offer a shampoo and conditioner bar and a "zen" bar for anti itch/soothing. I plan on trying these out once I finish up my current bottle of medicated shampoo I have for Levi (who has sensitive skin) and will keep ya updated.
Dogs need their teeth cleaned! And their toothbrush should be swapped out just as often as yours (unless you have the silicone finger toothbrush). Chewy offers bamboo tooth brushes for around $5. I have been brushing Levi's teeth every other week since his adult teeth came in. It's not something he looks forward to but he knows that if he sits still it'll be over with sooner.
We all love to spoil our fur babies - but so many treats and food comes in plastic packaging that can't really be reused. While sometimes it's unavoidable here are some suggestions:
1. Make your own - there are lots of dog treat recipes out there that are super easy to make. Levi loves when I make him pumpkin dog treats! I also give Levi fruits and veggies for a healthier snack and will use his favorites like peppers and apples during training sessions as a reward.
2. Buy in bulk - I buy a large box of milk bones for Levi that lasts me almost 6 months. When buying treats in plastic packaging I try to buy the biggest bag available.
3. Shop local: My local pet shop offers treats like antlers, rawhides, bully sticks, and all types of treats that don't have any packaging. Levi loves going because he gets to pick out his own treat plus get extra snacks from the workers. Not only will you not have any waste you'll be supporting a local business and you pup will love the adventure.
4. Buy treats in boxes: Opt for treats that are packaged in boxes rather than plastic packaging.
What I suggest for your own clothing wardrobe, I also suggest for your dog's. Essentials only and buy for longevity. Your dog doesn't need a dozen collars and leashes. Okay, maybe a few leashes at different lengths for different purposes like training. Buy what your pup needs, make sure it's good quality and make it last. I have one tactical military collar (that should last Levi's entire life), two leashes (a short and long), and a couple bandanas made from fabric scraps for when Levi goes on his dates with his girlfriend Vida. We are in the market for snow booties - so please give me any and all suggestions! If you have friends with pups - organize a local or online pet accessory swap if you get sick of your pups outfit. 10/10 times you pup would prefer a belly rub than a new collar.
When you're out on adventures with your pup - bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of buying a plastic one while you're out. I have this stainless steel one that works perfect for on-the-go.