We love our pets. We spoil our pets. I know my dogs deserve all the treats. Unfortunately, my dogs don’t really play with toys. And I have the “let’s-try-this” pile to prove it. I also have some costumes that we didn’t even think to put on them this past Hallowe’en, so what does that say? And let’s face it, do our pets even really like being dressed up? When we talk about pets, the tendency is to focus on dogs, but of course today applies to cats, rabbits, ferrets, small cage animals, birds… not sure about fish? You decide! (If you prefer to watch video, scroll to the bottom of this post.)
Today, I challenge you to go through your pet’s toys and supplies.
Starting with toys – any that are damaged or broken are not safe for your pet, so just toss them out.
I worked with a professional trainer for my dogs, and she taught me a couple of things about toys that I’ll pass on to you:
- The best toys are the rubbery kind like Kongs or Nylabone. The reason is two-fold – one, they are tough and can handle the abuse of chewing. (I know someone out there has a story of their dog that destroyed a Kong. LOL That’s one tough dog!) And two, there is generally nothing else in your home like them. And here’s why that’s important, if your dog has a stuffy, and your toddler has a stuffy, the dog does not understand why the toddler’s stuffy is off limits. Your dog is confused.
- The other bit of advice she gave me, don’t leave dogs unattended with toys that have squeakers inside, a dog can choke on the squeaker if they bust it out of the innards. Also, don’t leave them unattended with rope toys. These are great for playing tug of war with you or another dog, but put them out of reach when you’re not able to supervise. Again, the strings break off and there’s risk of your dog swallowing them and the string can get caught up in their intestines.
So, go through your pets toys carefully and consider which are their favourites, which did you spend money on but your pet doesn’t care, and have your keep, donate, and garbage piles at the ready.
The second area to go through today is pet supplies. Do you use that dog shampoo that you had all the good intentions of using when you bought it? How many leashes, collars and harnesses do you realistically need? Costumes – I know they’re adorable, but does your dog even like being dressed up?
Do you have treats in a drawer that your pet doesn’t like? Toss ‘em! And check those expiry dates. Any food where your pet turns their nose up? Your pet does not feel guilty about the money you spend. Only you feel that; if they aren’t going to eat it, remove the negativity from your home.
For on going maintenance, there’s a few things to consider. Before buying that next super cute toy that you know your pet will just love, consider if he or she needs another toy right now? If you bring a toy in, perhaps it’s time to suggest the “one-in-one-out” idea. One toy in, one toy has to go out. Same goes for cute collars, costumes, raincoats, etc.
Do your pet’s toys have a home for them to be put away when not being used. A container, box, or basket on the floor works well. We had a dog who loved to rummage through the toy box and take out all the toys. It’s great brain work for them. Of course, he never cleaned up after himself, but it was entertaining watching him select which toy came out next.
We also have a container in the top shelf of the closet by our entrance door for leashes, harnesses and poop bags. Then there’s a box in the laundry room for supplies needed less often like recovery cones and training supplies. I have a big glass jar that holds all the treats and a lockable container for kibble by the kitchen.
Take some time to consider what works best for your home. Do you need supplies in more than one place, or all in one place. Keep like supplies together when organizing. Keep convenience in mind as well. When do you use a set of supplies, how accessible do they need to be?
If you’re wanting some guidance for organizing your pet supplies and need someone to talk it through with, reach out to me, I’m happy to chat with you.
I welcome your ideas, thoughts, and questions in the comments below.
Remember you can share your journey with me and others by using hashtag #MarchMicroMinimizing, and tag me on Facebook or Instagram using handle @suzannegouldenILC.
Here’s me talking about decluttering pet toys and supplies!