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1. Kygen Slobowls
Dollar for dollar, the slobowls (~$12 on Amazon) may be the best investment I’ve made. They’re durable, well-constructed and dishwasher safe. I highly recommend these bowls to anyone with a speed eater, or anyone who wants to make mealtime a bit more of a fun challenge for their pup.
2. Simplehuman Pet Food Can
After breaking the dog food bucket for the 25th time, and after Eko broke into the bucket for the 45th time, I realized I needed an upgrade. I completely balked at Simplehuman’s $120 (!!!) price for a glorified bucket.
I happened to see a damaged-box one going for only $85 so I took a risk and bought it. It’s been worth every cent. The large, airtight can keeps food (and food-smell) neatly packed away. My cannister is battle-scarred from fighting off two would-be burglars but still works/looks great.
3. Big Barker Dog Beds
“Who would ever spend a lot of money on a dog bed!?” – Me, scoffing, while buying Eko’s fourth cheap dog bed and not grasping the irony of the situation.
I finally came to my senses when I considered the potential muscular/skeletal issues large-breed dogs face. I knew I should invest in an orthopedic mattress to help mitigate those risks.
After much research I landed on Big Barker. Nevertheless I winced, as despite my coupon, the bed cost $150. Later I realized I had blown at least that much on cheap beds. Eko’s bed is now four years old and it looks/works just as well as Penny’s new bed.
4. Leather collars/leashes
This is more about style/personal preference, but I love the pups’ leather gear. The leather ages well, feels solid in-hand and it’s the easiest thing to clean. Sand/dirt wipes right off and there’s almost no drying time.
My leashes are from Bullhide Belts ($50) and the collars are from Saddleback Leather ($40).
5. Chilly Dogs winter jackets
There was certainly sticker shock when I first saw Chilly Dogs $90 price tag, but these jackets are one of my best investments. Eko’s jacket is going into it’s fifth year of hard-winter use and still going strong. Whether human or canine, trust a Canadian company when it comes to winter gear!
If I bought all of the above products at once I would be bankrupt. But by saving, looking for sales/coupons and using credit card points I managed to take a bite out of each purchase. More importantly, these purchases are investments. With proper maintenance and care, every product on this list will last 10+ years.
Santa still may have a bit of room on his sleigh for Eko and Penny, so if you have any favorite “buy it for life” type products be sure to let me know.
I like leather leashes even when it needs a while to clean them with sadlle soap instead to throw them in the washer. And the coat we bought from equi-theme is in good shape after 3 years… and that means a lot when a coat survives 3 years with Easy :o)
Nice ideas you have there. The food bowls are something for Bailie, and the food keeper is real nice and even looks nice. We have one that works nice, but we keep it hidden in the basement as it is not pretty.
I agree with your purchases. We also tend to make ‘investments’ in our pet’s wellbeing and happiness sometimes to the detriment to our life savings $$$. Will: those bowls??? We worried about dry food and the impact on their teeth long term. Perhaps you could do one if you havent already on dry only vs other types of meals. Does that put alot of air into the dog’s body during mealtime. Will they not slow their eating eventually anyway??? We didn’t have that issue ever but then we fed our guy a bit too ‘well’. But he managed to thin out during the summer months and chunk up a bit during the winter just like all of us right??
p.s. the chillydog coats- amazing. best for ridgebacks.
If you buy cheap you’ll keep on buying again and again. Get quality and you buy only once.
thank you for sharing these! I must get that bowl, I keep intending to and haven’t yet. Just shared this too!
I just replaced the dogs’ L.L. Bean dog bed. They hold up really nicely, but I will admit that Eko and Penny’s look larger and more cushioned (and only slightly more expensive). I may be moving in that direction when they’re in need of an upgrade.
Thank you for this list!
We found Ruffwear jackets for our Monsta, she has a fleece and a gortex shell, both were on sale when we got them (at Jax) and both have been put though the Monsta test…chewing, rolling, going thru barbed wire fences and they still look brand new! We love that we can layer if we need to, or just pick the right one for the weather that day and Monsta loves that she can stay warm while terrorizing the park.
Cody used to enjoy playing with Kong toy. We would place peanut butter and treats into it and he would keep busy with it. That would be a definite go-to toy if and when we get our next dog.
I’ve always been curious about those bowls! I’ve wondered if they really worked well, but my biggest concern was how they fit in the dishwasher. We currently float his food in water, but he still devours it. He will drink that water out and then eat the kibble! He’s smart, that’s for sure!
Do the Chilly Dog sweaters just lie on their back after you put their front legs in?
Cool list! Cupcake used that slow feeder bowl for a couple of years. She doesn’t need it anymore, but it worked great to help her finally learn not to gobble her food, because the big dogs from foster care weren’t going to bite her head and steal her food. We also love the leather leash. We learned with it in obedience class. When I tried to switch to the cuteness of a nylon leash, there was too much give in it, and Cupcake started to get amnesia about what she had learned. We went back to leather quickly and permanently.
We always learn so much from your posts, Will. Thank you for going through the struggle of testing everything out FOR us – BOL! *ear licks* Noodle
Great list, Will. Proof that a little investment pays in the long run…especially when it comes to their health and comfort.
I had previously asked you about the food dish. So, it was on Ariel’s Christmas list. Ariel is my whirlwind eater. I have only had her about 6 months and I started out being her foster (yes I am a foster failure..:) She was 9 months old and had been through absolute hell. Whoever had her, cut off her tail and used her as a bait dog. Now she is half German Shepard and half golden retriever. So not a breed for docking ears and tail. Then she had been a stray for quite a while as she was 20 lbs under weight, sick (severe case of kennel cough), extremely dirty (took 4 shampoos the first time), and had at least 20 bites under her neck that were infected. So I know and understand why she eats like its her last meal, but I also know its bad for her.
Then there my lab, Axel. I adopted him at 14 weeks. He is the slowest eater I have ever seen. He takes 5 prices of kibble, crunches at least 5 times, drinks water, gets 5 more….on and on. The whole time Ariel is staring a whole through his head. LOL! So the slobowl is something very much needed.
I have not found ANY stuffed toy that holds up. Even the “indestructible” expensive ones. So I just buy cheap ones. However, the puzzle toys are awesome and worth the price. I have one that looks new 1 year later. I do not get the wooden ones though.
Kong’s treat dispenser is awesome. Waggle balls are incredible. They are indestructible and give hours of entertainment. W
Waggle balls make 20 different animal sounds and has indentations that allow dogs to pick them up easily. Highly recommended.
Well, we took your recommendation on the Chilly jacket and it is exactly as you describe so we are already saving for the Big Barker dog bed. The food dishes would be a great idea as well – thanks Will, Eko and Penny!
you gang has the best beds!!