I don’t get it. Why did my ancestors hate the mail delivery person? Clearly the mailperson’s only purpose is to bring big boxes full of things for me! At least, I rarely ever see him arrive without boxes that are for me, so I must be right.
It started only a few days after I arrived and hasn’t stopped since.
The first box had extra blankets, treats, chews, and toys! Then more toys (never enough toys). Foam mats for my play area. New beds that would stand up to my digging tendencies. Artificial grass for the garden so that I could lay on something soft rather than the stone that lines the full area. New harnesses and leashes that worked better for my walking style, as well as new martingale collars that didn’t pull on my fluff as much. I can’t forget how good the boxes with treats smelled every time they arrived! And how pretty I look in all the bandanas, which get me lots of treats when I pose for pictures.
Mom recently confessed in her own article that I broke her budget. Not much I can say about that other than, that’s life with a puppy! And we’re totally worth it.
The good news for my furiends is that I have tried and tested a lot of different things. I asked mom to help summarize everything she got me (her memory is slightly better than mine) and what we think are “do gets” and “don’t gets”. For a full list of my must-haves, you can visit my Amazon must haves or the Ambassador links on my page.
Joyelf plush bones: Maggie absolutely loves these! It was the perfect size and texture for her puppy mouth and teeth, and she has continued playing with them over time.
Zippypaws no stuffing squeaky animals: Of all her toys, she never managed to put a hole in these! Even though we played tug-of-war with them sometimes. And for a while, she would bring any one of these three toys with her on potty breaks.
Hide and seek toys like donut disturb, squirrels in a log, or moon and stars provide fun mental stimulation and the items can be stuffed back in repeatedly for ongoing fun. But it should be expected that these items will be torn apart after some time, and still should be given only under supervision. For us, the donuts and the stars are the only things that remain intact after months of play.
Look for products from Planet Dog because of their Orbee Tuff material, or products made of TPR. Maggie has several of these types of toys and despite being a superchewer, she has not managed to puncture any of them!
ALTERNATIVES TO BULLY STICKS
Good lovin’ pumpkin teething rings gave us some much-needed calm in the house! At first, it took Maggie about 20-30 minutes to chew through one of them, but by six or seven months, she could finish it in under 10 minutes so we no longer use them.
Brutus and Barnaby Sweet Potato sticks are fantastic for older pups (post teething stage). It smells amazing and lasts a good length of time.
I wish we discovered Ocean Chews Crispy Cod Fish skins (not wolfish skins) earlier! We love how Maggie prances away every time we give her one of these skins. This is the only thing she gets possessive about if we try to take it from her.
After trying many different types of treats, just about everything Bocce bakery is my go-to! But I was especially excited when they launched grazers. It comes in three flavors, and they’re perfect for “fine dining” while on a walk.
The quality of Willow’s Spoon treats exceeded my expectations, and I often forget that she’s a small business because of how consistent she is with the quality! It’s an accomplishment that should be given noteworthy praise.
Honest Kitchen makes great products, but the one that Maggie will do 10 tricks in a row for are these beef liver & cheddar chips.
FOR THE HUMANS
My emotional wellbeing was strained in the first few weeks/months of having Maggie home. One area that I could destress was cooking. Setting up subscriptions for Hungryroot and for CookUnity helped me relax on the couch longer, and also helped us avoid ordering more expensive and less healthy takeout.
All that dander and fluff flying around a car could make for some uncomfortable conditions when the windows are up. If you’re someone who is mindful of air quality, then the air purifier for your car helps a lot.
SUBSCRIPTION BOXES: The treats have a long list of ingredients, and the toys may not be a good fit. You’ll save more money by individually selecting the toys you know your pup is likely to enjoy.
The first PupBox was awesome! Maggie loved the toys, and we were able to let her play with them for an extended period (under supervision). Fred the Flamingo was perfect interactive toy for burning energy because she would bite onto one of the rope legs and we could run around with Maggie in tow. She also loved the teething rings and we ended up buying them for a few months, as well as other products from Good Lovin. Unfortunately, the contents (toys and treats) of the second and third box weren’t nearly as good, and we canceled it after the initial 3 month period.
The first BarkBox SuperChewer box was…. Okay. There were rubber and nylon toys, and Maggie either chewed up the rubber toy or dismissed the nylon toys for being too strong. When she did decide the nylon toys were good to play with, she made a dent in them which made us worried she would bite off pieces of nylon. BarkBox support team tried to make it better and send up replacement toys, but in all she only liked two of the toys. Then there’s the treats. The ingredient list is long and full of things we can’t pronounce. Needless to say, we will not be renewing our subscription and didn’t think it was worth the investment.
CHEAP TOYS: Toys that are cheaper are less likely to stand up to pups with destructive tendencies, and if they swallow parts of the toys then they are more likely to have intestinal blockages.
A friend got us a big package of 15 toys from Amazon, and even though it was a nice gesture, every toy we gave her had to be taken away within five to ten minutes. For context, we take toys away at the first sign of seams coming apart. When we found the product online, we saw there was no mention of the toys being non-toxic, so we put the rest of them in a cabinet that has since become our toy graveyard. There are a number of not-so-cheap toys in there too though: Kong wubba, Frisco Spring Flowers, everything nylabone and benebone, and Tuffy.
PROCESSED TREATS: Some of the most well-known treats are also some of the worst for your pup. Read the ingredients list to see what’s in their and if you can pronounce everything.
I mentioned in the subscription boxes section that the treats which come with pupbox and superchewer have very long ingredient lists. Milkbone is another well-known brand that is actually very bad for your dog. Giving your pup these treats is the equivalent of humans eating fast food. If you look on Instagram, you will find numerous high quality small businesses that are mindful of the ingredients they use. But of course, there are many larger businesses (Bocce’s Bakery and Honest Kitchen) that are transparent about their ingredients too.
What are some of your DO GETS and DON’T GETS?
Remember, life is what you make of it, so take the lead, dood!