Monday, August 6, 2012

Shopping and Cleaning Guide for Thrifty Pet Toys

For those without kids, pets are the next best thing. My dog is certainly no exception, and when I head out thrifting (or G-saleing), looking for goodies for him comes as a no-brainer. 
So how does one go about finding these goodies? Creativity, and knowing what you're looking for. All pets are unique, so take their personality into consideration when shopping! 
Important factors to consider: 
Size (are they a big dog or a small kitten?)
Type (Pomeranian's are smaller and timider than a Pitbull!)
Temperature (Do they prefer hot or cold? Chihuahua's get cold easily!)
Playing Habits (Are they a Frisbee catching dog, or ball of yarn type of cat?)

For example: My dog is a chihuahua/terrier mix, which means he's 20 lbs of playing machine, with a fragile body that gets cold easily. He loves tug-of-war over any other game, loves clothes (especially sweaters-no I'm not joking!), and has a collection of collars because he is very proud of his necklaces! ;)
 I carry a paper in my wallet with his measurements, along with a tape measure in case I come across any cute clothes or collars in his size! 
Shopping List: Sweaters, collars, blankets, toys-especially ones with lots of limbs or ropes to hold onto for tug-of-war!

Things to keep in mind when shopping: Stay away from plastic buttons and eyes as they can be swallowed, same with bean filling, anything with a zipper, metal piece or battery operated can be dangerous! Stay away from items with cat nip (it may have been filled or mixed with something else, or used to give meds)-always buy cat nip fresh!
What to look for: Pet toys are the obvious answer, but keep in mind kids have small toys-especially the fast food toys- that are the perfect size and safety rules for pets! Rubber toys, things like rubber ducks and tires on toys are great for dogs with bigger jaws. Ropes and string can be turned into cheap and fun toys as well for both dogs and cats! Just keep your pets personality in mind when shopping to ensure you don't waste money on items they will ignore!
So now you've found the perfect toys (at the perfect price!)-now what?
Pet Toy Cleaning Guide
This is a general cleaning guide, good for most toys in fabric, rubber, or plastic. Adjust to what you have on hand, or your comfort level around bleach! Note: Bleach will eat material, some more than others-rubber toys especially so either wash quickly or skip. But it does kill everything so its great for cleaning!
Tools:
-Bleach (color safe)
-Dawn Dishsoap
-Baking Soda
-Tub/bath tub
-Something to stir with (I used a plastic hanger)
1. Fill a tub with scalding hot water (make sure the area is clean before you start)! Put a spoonful or more of baking soda into the water, stirring to mix. Drop in the toys to let them soak for 2-5 minutes. The baking soda is a deodorizer, if there are no evident smells, or you don't want to do this step then skip it!
2. Depending on how dirty the items are you can empty the tub and start fresh, or move onto this step. This time pour in a cap or so of Dawn dishsoap, using your fancy hanger to mix it up (I may or may not have created bubble hair do's on Betty Boop...;)) I usually leave the toys in the water until the water is about luke warm, anywhere from 5-10 minutes. It gives them a nice long soak to get clean as the soap is antibacterial, plus its great smelling! 
 3. If you aren't comfortable around bleach you can skip this, but it is a great safety precaution. I pour in a drop or two of bleach, mixing it up, making sure the toys are getting a good soak. If you're concerned with colors, you can use color safe as well. Personally I don't mind because its just a pet toy, it will be destroyed soon enough anyway! I wait another 2-5 minutes before emptying the tub. 
4. I squish the water out and rinse for a few minutes. You could certainly stop there, but if you are concerned about left over bleach, you could refill the tub, mix with a tiny amount of dishsoap again, and rewash+re-rinse the toys a last time. Squish the water out, and let dry!
I set the toys outside on a railing in the sun to dry, and my dog impatiently pranced around below the railing keeping guard until he could attack the toys! You have to love getting 5 new pet toys for less than a $1 total! Enjoy! Do you do thrifty pet shopping?
 •This may or may not be linked up to any of the link parties!•

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this informative post on Simple & Sweet Fridays!

    Jody

    ReplyDelete

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