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Canine Consumerism

Most of my dog posts are based on my own lessons learned during the last decade of too many dogs. Lessons as an owner, as a trainer, as a foster mom, as a Pet Store Manager. I speak Dog pretty fluently. Then I do something super simple, and realize I am still learning.

These dudes needed new collars.


Not in an update their color palette for the season kind of way. Not that (ahem) I have ever purchased collars for such a silly, ridiculous, ludicrous reason such as that. Oh no. No, the dynamic duo there needed collars like they really needed collars.


In rough and tumble, wrestle too much, these things are starting to think about falling off of us sense.

Under normal circumstances, “normal” being any such occasion in the past 10 years, the dire straights of these practical fashion accessories would have been a spot on excuse for a new collar hunt. Because all my dog ministrations come with a huge heaping dose of consumerism. I like dogs. I like their associated stuff. Beds, toys, leashes, treats, chews, bowls, artwork, beds, beds, beds, and collars. My dog spending is almost as ridiculous as my grocery spending. In much the same vein though, I justify it. Dogs need stuff. Play stuff. Sleep stuff. Training stuff. And most certainly collars.

I’m also sensitive to the fact that my dogs live in a huge, ginormous pack. Most dogs do not. I’d rather they look a little better, behave a little better, eat a little better, and receive general compensation for the fact that they don’t have the benefit of being a single dog. My solution to this has been time and money. Money for stuff.

I am a champion for the fact that dogs are not cheap. Especially at certain points in their lives. Early on, and late in life. I’ve not even addressed vet care here, but we are currently dealing with some truly high water mark bills as my three girls age. The acupuncture and herbs make a big impact on their quality of life. Hugo and Jaime‘s collars, not such a big impact. The spending priorities here should be a no brainer. Especially when …


you’ve got these living in your closet. Brand. New. Collars. Almost. Even though Pug and Dalmatian have been sporting their current models for over a year, the last round was barely worn. Tucked away. Never to be used again, which is completely typical for me. I do not even know how many times I’ve retired such collars for new(er) and shiny(-er) alternatives. They sit in the collar box. Sometimes they are pawned off on friends, sold at garage sales, or donated. They are never resurrected for daily wear.

Until now. I think The Husband almost died when he saw what I was doing.

This is a small thing. Such a small thing. That’s probably $20-$25 worth of dog collar there. I can’t suddenly quit my job. My fake budget is not miraculously workable post Collar Epiphany 2012. It does get me thinking. Thinking about things I know, but do not often put into practice. Dogs don’t care. I hate that phrase. People use it as justification for all kind of subpar pet care, particularly crappy food and conditions. It certainly be taken too far. When it comes to my weaknesses though, to collars and beds and toys and bowls, dogs truly don’t.

The title here is canine consumerism, but its not the dogs spending this money. Its me. And my own weaknesses, insecurities, and concerns about their quality of life. When in actuality, we’ve got enough toys to rotate through time in memoriam. Even taking into account the untimely deaths of fluffy, squeaky. We invested in quality dog beds long, long ago. And plenty of them. We’ll continue to wash, repurpose and generally use the shit out of those for the foreseeable future. After raiding my collar stash, there’s enough there for an entire round of re-dress. The dogs are good. J and Hu look smashing in the 2nd round of wear for what were very attractive collars to begin with.

I’m giving myself (and you) permission to buy your dogs (or cats, or hamsters, or pot belly pigs) less stuff. Look at what you’ve got. Re-use it. Skip it (if you can). Question the motives behind the expense.

Do you buy too much for your pet? What are your weaknesses in that category?
What have you learned to do with out?

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Another timely post. I decided this month was a dog free spending month. We have more than enough cookies and food to last for the month. I will NOT buy anything dog related. I budget $100/month for 3 dogs (not including any vet bills). I think I use that $100 as an excuse to buy things they don’t need.
ps – I love the way Hugo always has his head cocked to the side like you have just said something very interesting.


An interesting twist on the no spend month! I like it. Yes a set budget can become an excuse to buy a new toy or cute collar. Just cuz. $100 for 3 dogs though. I envy your small dog army. 😉


I’m definitely guilty of spending unnecessary money on the animals, especially before there was “the kid.” Now all my unnecessary spending is on him, though I have less now to unnecessary spend with. I bought my black cat a halloween collar once because I thought it was cute (neither of my cats wear or like to wear collars). I have like 10 cat food bowls for two cats. (I was a cat person before our dog converted me.) I think it’s easy to spoil your babies (of all types) because they can’t do anything to spoil themselves… but then they become spoiled. It’s a viscious cycle! Now I try to just buy high quality replacements for worn items to get the most bang for my buck.


High quality replacements can be a trap too. Unless you actually need them. I went through a round of replacing a bunch of stuff… that didn’t actually need to be replaced. Ooops. Well.

10 cat bowls made me laugh. I don’t know how many times I’ve purged the collection of attractive water bowls I see to constantly accumulate. At least the beds stick around.


while I agree with you, I think you also had to take into the fact that the “stuff” was our JOB….for too long. we spent many an hour pouring over catalogs and wholesalepet looking for the newest coolest pattern to sell (at the right price, of course). so i feel like we have a slight excuse. when you spend so much time with those objects, buying them seems like a natural course….you are what you eat.

that being said, i went through a similar epiphany while moving, and found a freaking box full of collars, harnesses, leashes and various other accessories, hardly used….or could use a run through the wash. my husband almost fainted when he saw the blingy crystal embellished leather collar, and the vast collection of lucy themed corduroy collars. i will probably never have to buy them collars again! and yet, i still look…still go…”oh, she would look so good in purple hedgehogs!”


Agreed. We were living the consumerism. And a lot of that stuff came to us by way of samples, returns and tradeshow fodder too. Even if it wasn’t that we certainly didn’t pay full price for it.

Now its just flipping the switch. That isn’t my job anymore, and even if it were, purple hedgehog collars (cute!) aren’t that much different from the featured Eco Luck . They probably don’t need to be tried to be believed. Although looking at those catalogs and websites, picking styles and sizes for other people, its very very easy to get caught up.


It’s so true. Glad you realized you don’t need to get some pretty new collars.. but once the old ones are gone you definitely can go grab some shiny new ones 😛


That just won’t be for a while. We’ve quite a backlog. :)


I don’t think I spend too much on my dogs. If I spend too much, then it’s only to make sure they get the best quality food I can afford. Their collars are old, but aren’t worn out yet. I wash the collars when I wash the dogs. They get rawhides usually once a week. I think what’s most important for my dogs is that I spend time with them petting them and telling them I love them. Maybe it’s crazy, but I want them to know they are appreciated and have value.


Food is an exception in my book too. Time is definitely most important. Attention, exercise, training, that’s the real relationship building stuff. Don’t get me started on the rawhides though. 😉

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