1. Plastic Bowls
Plastic food and water bowls may be cheap and easy to use, but plastic is much more difficult to effectively clean than other materials, and chips and cracks can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Plastic is easy to chew and chip, and if your dog is unsupervised for even a short time, the shards can be a choking hazard or cause internal bleeding. Also, as the plastic begins to break down, it can leach into your pup’s food and water, and it’s full of harmful chemicals that can cause serious health problems. Toss out the plastic bowls and stick with a safer material like stainless steel or silicone.
2. Old Or Damaged Toys
Your dog may have a favorite toy, and that toy probably has ages worth of bacteria living inside of it. These bacteria can cause everything from diarrhea to gum disease. Some toys can be microwaved or tossed in the laundry for a quick cleaning, but that doesn’t stop the toy from becoming a choking hazard as it ages and starts to fall apart. Stuffing, stray threads, or tiny parts that fall off can all wreak havoc on the digestive system. Dog toys are typically inexpensive, so try finding your pup a new favorite instead of keeping the old one around.
3. Expired Medication
Maybe your dog got sick one time and your vet gave you a prescription. After the condition cleared up, you figured you would keep the medicine around in case you ever needed it again. This may seem like a cautious move, but it’s not a good idea. Medicine expires and loses its effectiveness after some time. Also, your dog’s medical needs might not be the same as before. Some owners might think that a medication for one pet can be used to treat another pet, but this is also a mistake. Different animals have different needs. Toss the old meds and go to the vet when your dog needs you to.
4. “Special Occasion” Treats
If you’re like me, you get Halloween treats for all the trick-or-treater dogs in the neighborhood who come to visit. Maybe you’ve got some special birthday treats or nice bones for the holidays. Those are nice, but it’s best not to keep them around until next year. Check the expiration dates on the package and do not give your dog expired treats. Food that has gone past expiration loses nutrients, and the preservatives break down leaving the treats open to contamination, mold growth, and bacteria infestation. Get some new treats once a year for special occasions, and if they aren’t finished, throw them out.
5. Dull Grooming Equipment
If you groom your dog yourself, you may have scissors, sheers, nail clippers, and all sorts of grooming items that are getting worn down. The problem with dull blades is that they tend to crush instead of cut. That can lead to tugging on your dog’s fur during the grooming process, and when it comes to clipping nails, crushing is very painful. Grooming can already be a stressful thing for your dog, so don’t add pain on top of that. Replace any dull equipment.
6. Old Bedding
A new bed can take some getting used to. Most dogs like the smell of their old bed and find it comforting. But that doesn’t stop an old bed from falling apart. Like old toys, tattered bedding can pose both a choking hazard and a problem to the digestive system if your dog chews on it. Threads, pieces of cloth, and stuffing can cause blockages and obstructions that may hurt your pup. If your dog is having trouble adjusting to a new bed, use positive reinforcement and familiar scents to ease your pup into it.
7. Damaged Carriers And Crates
As carriers and crates get used and beat up, they can become dangerous. Faulty latches can let the door swing open, chipped plastic or broken wires can be sharp, and broken zippers or tears in fabric can present choking hazards. If your crate or carrier has seen a lot of use, it may be time for a new one. Inspect it thoroughly, and if you find anything dangerous, get rid of it.
8. Incomplete Or Outdated First-Aid Kit
A first-aid kit is a must for any pet owner. If you’ve had one for a while, you could have already needed to use it. Replacing old bandages, wound cleaners, and other materials might not be on the top of your to-do list, but you don’t want to be unprepared when you need those things the most. You may want to get a completely new first-aid kit if yours is getting outdated, or you may simply need to replace the items you’ve already used.
9. Worn-Out Or Old Tags
Over the years, collar tags can get worn down to the point of being difficult to read, and if you’ve moved recently, you might not have gotten around to updating the information on the old tags. If your dog gets lost, you’ll want him to come home as soon as possible. Make it easier on whoever finds him and update his tags with fresh, legible information.
10. Knotted Or Torn Leashes
Over the years of walks, your dog’s leash has probably gotten a lot of use. Small tears and knots eventually happen even to good quality leashes. You might be thinking you can get a few more uses out of a leash like that, but it’s risky. When a leash develops a tear or a knot, tension starts to pull strongly in those areas, affecting the integrity of the leash. You don’t want it to break when your dog runs for something interesting in the street. Throw out the old leash and invest in a new one.
What other items should dog owners throw out or replace? Let us know in the comments below!