Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cheapass Dog Fun: Food Packaging

There are lots of fun dog toys and dog activities out there, but unfortunately most of them cost money. They also tend to involve time and effort, and sometimes I am feeling sick, or lazy, or it's raining and my dogs refuse to go outside because they might melt. (We live in Southern California and they can easily go 8 or 9 months without seeing rain, so Brisbane and Ru always find it disconcerting.)

One of Brisbane's favorite, totally free, hobbies is shredding stuff. Josie enjoys shredding paper towels and toilet paper. Brisbane is only interested in shredding things that once contained food. He is also very good about not eating things that aren't food, so I never have to worry about him swallowing bits of potato chip bag or candy wrapper. This means that the vast majority of our food packaging takes a trip to Brisbane's lair before it reaches the trash can or recycling bin.

Empty cereal box? Hand him the entire thing and let him pull the bag out, rip it open, and lick the crumbs out. Restaurant takeout containers? Close them up tight and let him figure out how to open them to lick them clean. Empty peanut butter jar? Biggest Kong ever.

I wouldn't do this if Briz had a tendency to snarf down garbage along with his food. I am also careful to read labels and avoid giving him anything that might have traces of his allergens, or artificial sweeteners. Ru also occasionally enjoys a bit of shredding fun, but I am a bit more careful about traces of chocolate and other no-no foods because he is ridiculously tiny and therefore more susceptible.

Plastic bags can present a suffocation risk, so happy fun shredding time is a supervision-only activity. It also makes a mess and requires sweeping and/or vacuuming, depending on the type of floor. Still, it can add a few minutes of fun and problem-solving to Brisbane's day with minimal effort on my part.

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