My dogs and I are kind of a package deal. www.instagram.com/eddyandsam
Published December 28th 2016
You don't have to empty your wallet to spoil your furbaby
The joy, laughter and love that a furbaby brings into their adopted family's life far exceeds any monetary cost that comes with caring for an animal, but let's be honest here - although dogs are such an important part of our lives and are a highly valued member of the family, they do not come cheap. With ongoing expenses such as daily food and regular tablet medication for fleas/worms/ticks, in addition to one-off expenses such as the initial vaccinations and perhaps a desexing operation should you opt to go down this path, one can easily spend thousands of dollars on their dog. Plus, coupled with pet insurance and/or any unforeseen accidents that require emergency surgeries, and you'd easily reach the tens of thousands of dollars mark.
With all these ongoing costs, it's easy to think that you don't have enough spare cash lying around to treat your furbaby from time to time - but you're wrong! Dogs thrive on human attention and love, and it doesn't take much to make them feel spoilt rotten - even a short round of undivided attention will make them feel like the happiest dog in the world. However, if you're looking to make that little bit more effort into making your dog's day, without breaking the bank, then you're in the right place - here are 10 different ways you can spoil your furbaby, all for $10 or less!
Cost: Free Time: Anytime (normally during daylight hours)
What better way to kick start this list with an activity that is easily accessible and free? Brisbane City Council provides over 120 dog off-leash areas (commonly known as dog parks) across Brisbane. These areas, equipped with seating, water, and dog waste bins, are generally fully fenced off, where dogs can have an off-leash romp within the confines whilst making new friends by socialising with other dogs and their owners. Some dog parks, perhaps the cream of the crop, even include agility equipment - teach your dog some new tricks while spending quality time together.
The following list includes Eddy's favourite dog parks in Brisbane with an explanation as to why, but it is important to note that there are so many dog parks in the Brisbane region that are worth visiting - we've still got many more to tick off our list!
Look how happy Eddy looks when he's allowed to run off-leash in the dog park!
With a little creek running through Beryl Roberts Park, the area here is picturesque and gives one the feeling that they are far, far away from the city - when in reality, they are only 20 minutes away by car. In addition to a bushwalking track meandering through the park, there is also an off-leash dog area, complete with multiple pieces of agility equipment. To top it off, there is even a toy basket available for doggy patrons - Eddy loved the pink ball there!
Faulkner Park boasts an expansive area of green, grassy area - it'd literally take at least a couple of hours for you to explore all the nooks and crannies. It has two generously sized dog parks, one for the little ones and one for the big boys (and girls). There are plenty of doggy bags outside, so stock up before you head in as a precaution! Agility equipment are aplenty here at Faulkner Park, in addition to shady resting spots for the supervising pawrents. Aside from a fun area for dogs, the children's playground area is equally, if not more, impressive. The play equipment at Faulkner Park all look new and modern, and has all the classic favourites - even including a flying fox!
With separate enclosures for big furbabies and little furbabies, space is not an issue here. Basic canine facilities are available, including water bubblers and doggy poop bags, in addition to a range of agility equipment for the dogs aiming for the canine-Olympics. For the human companions, there is a gazebo and several park benches across the two enclosures, for you to rest while your furbabies do a good job of tiring themselves out. Sedgley Park is all-encompassing and caters for the whole family, boasting electric barbecues, playground equipment, fitness equipment, and a walking track on top to boost.
With a wide range of facilities available to patrons to suit all ages from young children to older adults, Boyd Park is the perfect place to spend quality time with your close friends and families, for free. With a walking track (complete with a fitness circuit) meandering through the park, the off-leash dog park has heaps of agility equipment in addition to shady spots for pawrents to supervise. The community here is very friendly and welcoming to all, and is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon.
This dog park is unlike regular dog parks who have a fully fenced off area specifically for dogs to run off-leash - here at Turquoise Place Park, the off-leash area is only partially fenced off. In place of fences are markers that indicate the boundaries of the off-leash area - it's unique design sets it aside from the large majority of Brisbane City Council dog parks. In addition, by following the shared pathway (Downfall Creek Bikeway), you can walk all the way to Virginia Train Station, or even Chermside shops - yes, it's that close! The stroll takes you through beautiful bridges overlooking a little creek, with paths flanked by lush trees, and littered with beautifully coloured flowers. There is also playground and fitness equipment along the track.
Although not a park per se, Green Hill Reservoir is very unique in that canine patrons are allowed to walk off-leash with their owners around the reservoir (one of the largest potable water reservoirs in Brisbane). The off-leash area of the reservoir starts at the first pair of boom gates that you see, directly in front of the car park. The off-leash area ends at the next set of boom gates you see, after walking past 3 sides of the concrete reservoir. Plus, there's a great mural of many different breeds of dogs here, including a pug!
Although technically not quite in Brisbane, Kroll Gardens is only an easy 40 minute drive from Brisbane City. Kroll Gardens is home to 5 hectares worth of off-leash dog areas that is fully fenced off - here, you can let your pooch roam as much as they want, yet rest assured knowing that they are still within the confines of this beautiful park. There is agility equipment for the dogs, and resting areas for the humans, one of which is an old bus stop!
What is your 'go-to' park when unsure of where to go?
Have I missed any amazing parks that deserve to be on this list?
Exercising - Hiking, Bushwalking & Swimming
Time: Anytime (normally during daylight hours)
In keeping with the theme of spoiling your dog without forking out any money, taking your dog out to do some exercise in the form of hiking, bushwalking, swimming, or a romp on the beach is another great option. Although the majority of hiking and/or swimming spots do not allow dogs, you will be able to find places that do with some patience and some (i.e. a lot of) research... or through this article!
Hiking & Bushwalking
The reason why the majority of hiking spots do not permit dogs is because the best hiking spots (i.e. the ones that grant the best views) are usually classified as a National Park. Dogs are not permitted in the large majority of National Parks around Australia, with the exception of assistance dogs. However, there are plenty of conservation parks and state forests around that do allow dogs, which is great news!
Located within an hour's drive from Brisbane City, Plunkett Conservation Park is extremely rocky, reminiscent of the granite belt area in New South Wales - the ground leading up to the top can be quite loose at times. It's hard to believe that this sort of rocky country is within an hour's drive from Brisbane City. The ascent itself is manageable - although it can get quite steep in some sections, anyone with a moderate level of fitness should be able to accomplish it. Once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, although the view is not uninterrupted, with many trees in the foreground. Nevertheless, the view was stunning, and it is a great place to stop, catch your breath, and immerse yourself in to nature's beauty.
There are two main areas in which to park, with the first being Sunnydene Road, or Chadwell Street (where the picnic area is). The walk from Sunnydene Road to Chadwell Street through bushland takes approximately 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. The paths are generally quite wide, but do be mindful of nature's obstacles that one might expect to find while bushwalking, such as fallen trees and/or branches, spiderwebs, and horse excretion (as there is a horse riding trail here). En route to Chadwell Street Picnic Area, you will pass by a fishing platform that grants amazing scenic views of Tingalpa Creek. For the fishing enthusiasts out there, good news - you can fish here!
It's so hard to find places that dogs are legally allowed to swim, and by swim, I mean a proper swim, not a paddle at the beach (unless you go really far out from the shore!) - the quarry at Neville Lawrie Reserve is truly a hidden gem amongst the hidden gems. The walk from Daisy Hill Forest to Neville Lawrie Reserve Quarry is quite a strenuous walk slash hike, especially on a hot summer's day, but with enough breaks, plenty of hydration throughout, and a fair amount of persistence, it is very manageable for the average person. Once you reach the end of the track, you'll be granted amazing panoramic views of the quiet and serene quarry. Upon inspection, the water at Neville Lawrie Reserve Quarry is clean and littered with beautiful lily pads - the water is calm, making it the perfect outdoor swimming pool.
The beautiful Neville Lawrie Reserve Quarry.
Otherwise, there are several beaches in Brisbane that allow dogs to run off-leash and frolic in the sand, and perhaps dip their paws in the sea too!
Where do you like to take your dogs out for some exercise?
Does your dog prefer the water or the hills?
Have you discovered any hidden gems in your local area that are great places to take your dog out for hiking and/or swimming?
Farms - Meet Other Species
Another great place to take your dog out in addition to hiking and swimming is Serendipity Farm Animal Centre in Upper Brookfield, just 30 minutes from Brisbane City. All the animals at Serendipity Farm Animal Centre are rescued farm animals - despite there being many different species at the farm, they cohabitate the same area peacefully. They are all obviously well-cared for, and have plenty of green space to enjoy.Entry to the farm is only a gold coin donation, with all donations going towards the costs of maintaining the farm, so its all for a good cause. Dogs are more than welcome at the farm, even inside the animal pen where they can make friends with other species, in addition to Teddy, the resident dog at Serendipity Farm Animal Centre. Entry to Serendipity Farm Animal Centre is just a gold coin donation.
Eddy meeting all the residents at Serendipity Farm Animal Centre.
Have you visited Serendipity Farm Animal Centre before?
Do you know of any other dog friendly farms in Brisbane?
Okay, so this might not necessarily be "spoiling" your pooch as such unless they're one of those rare gems who actually enjoys bath time! But, since it's a job that has to be done, you might as well let them have a bath in style, rather than at home in the bathtub. There are plenty of places that allow you to wash your dog in a safe and relaxed environment through DIY modern facilities for $10, which includes 10 minutes of bath time and the use of non-toxic grooming products. No appointments are necessary for these facilities and is conveniently fully self-contained. Plus, it beats having to clean up the bathroom each time you wash your dog at home!
Places that you can wash your dog at a DIY facility for $10 include:
Do you prefer to wash your dog at home, at a DIY machine, or have someone else do it?
Dog-Friendly Markets, with Dog Catered Stalls
The large majority of dog-friendly markets have free entry, which is great because that means you still have the full $10 to spend on your pooch! You might be thinking that $10 isn't a lot when it comes to dog treats, which can be very expensive (and probably chock full of preservatives) when bought in pet shops. However, at the markets, you'd be surprised - $10 can go a long way, and besides, there's always free samples! Here are Eddy's 5 favourite businesses that sell dog treats at markets in Brisbane, listed in no particular order:
1. Soapy Moose - lots of different combinations of treats for $10 and under
In addition to handmade pet accessories (bandanas, collars, leads, bowties), Soapy Moose also sell 100% Australian made and owned pet treats which, as a bonus, are free from preservatives, chemicals and additives. Tasters are available at the stall, to find which one your pooch likes most - it'll be a tough choice to make! With a wide range of products available, from training treats to tasty long-lasting chews, there is a seemingly infinite number of treat combinations to make exactly $10, but here are a few of Eddy's picks:
1 x kangaroo bone & 2 x piggy trotters
1 x pig snout & 2 x peanut butter cookies & 3 x roo tendons
1 x small variety pack & 1 x vegie ear
4 x Australian pig ears
Soapy Moose can be found at the Kelvin Grove Village Markets.
Blending the goodness of wheatgerm and natural honey with fresh bananas and wholemeal flour, "Jack and Penny's cookies will provide your dog with a wonderful and healthy treat for any time of the day or night". Jack & Penny's offer very competitive prices - 165g bags of biscuit treats cost only $5, and bones, sold in packs of 3, are only $4 - what a bargain! With many flavours to choose from, buying just one bag is going to be a challenge. Luckily they're only $5, because that means you can get 2 bags and still be within the $10 limit!
Jack & Penny's can be found at the Jan Powers Markets at Manly Harbour Village.
Cherry Pie's Delights was founded by Danielle Maybery, the Practice Manager of a vet clinic, with the aim of overcoming the barriers that many pet owners face - for those suffering from allergies, the large majority of commercial pet treats cannot be consumed safely. As such, all Cherry Pie's Delights' treats are preservative free and made from natural ingredients, so there is no need to worry when it comes to your beloved pooch's safety. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they look good enough for us to eat too!
Cherry Pie's Delights can be found at Carseldine Farmers Markets, and occasionally at Nundah Farmers Markets too.
Jojo & Lola's Jerky Chompers have a range of jerky treats that are homemade with 100% human-grade ingredients, with no artificial additives nor added salt or sugar. They are also taste tested by owner Susan's own dogs for quality control, so they are bound to be yummy! Each of the products in their line is individually handmade in small batches, and cooked in a dehydrator for between 7 and 18 hours - a lot of effort is put in by Susan behind the scenes. Each pack cost only $5 (unless you opt for the gourmet chompers for an extra special treat, which cost $7 per pack), meaning that your pooch can try two different flavours and still be within the $10 budget! Jojo & Lola's Jerky Chompers have also recently released a new product called "Bacon Infused Chicken Chewy Chompers", which contain 100% human grade chicken breast, pure homemade bacon bone broth, fresh parsley and thyme - this costs $10, but is bigger in size than the regular jerky packs. Plus, it smells heavenly!
Jojo & Lola's Jerky Chompers can be found at Nundah Farmers Markets, Carseldine Markets, and Mitchie Makers Market.
Hugo's Ice Creamery is a small, Gold Coast based company created by dog lovers for dog lovers, offering a range of single serve, dog-friendly ice creams for your doggie to enjoy! Three flavours are available: peanut butter and bacon, strawberry ("super healthy, super tasty", and salmon ("the crowd pleaser"). Hugo's Ice Creamery doggy ice creams can be found at the Gumtree Greys stall once a fortnight at Milton Markets and once a month at Manly Harbour Village Farmers Market. These ice creams cost only $5 each and are a great way to help your pooch cool down in the hotter months.
Hugo's Ice Creamery can be found at Gumtree Grey's stalls at Manly Farmers Markets and Milton Markets.
Has your pooch tried treats from any of these businesses?
Does your pooch prefer tasty small bites or long-lasting chews?
Which are your favourite dog-friendly markets in Brisbane and why?
Dog-Friendly Cafes with Doggy Menus
With the large majority of cafes allowing dogs to tag along with their owners provided that there is outdoor seating available, there are lots of dog-friendly cafes out there. However, the best dog-friendly cafes are of course, those who either have available for purchase dog treats, or those who give your furbabies free treats! Here are Eddy's 5 favourite dog-friendly cafes in Brisbane for the aforementioned reasons, listed in no particular order:
Located in the heart of Moreton Bay, Frenchies Cafe is a paradise for both pooches and dog lovers alike, with dog decor in every nook and cranny of the cafe. Canine patrons at Frenchies are treated like royalty - even though there are communal water bowls available, each dog also has their own personal water bowl, in addition to their own mat. Your dog can literally lie at your feet in style and comfort. They even have a doggy wall of fame here, comprising polaroid photos of the canine patrons that frequent Frenchies. In case your pooch gets hungry, Frenchies has a "Woofers menu" - or in other words, a menu specifically for dogs! From woofachinos to pancakes, to scrambled eggs and fried rice, your pooch will be spoilt for choice here.
Established in 2009, Bellissimo Coffee first started roasting coffee beans from their flagship store in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley in 2010, and have since become the current highest awarded coffee roaster in Australia. They are also very much dog-friendly. In addition to providing a communal water bowl for all doggy patrons to share, Bellissimo has a jar of dog treats that they encourage owners to give to their dogs - yes please, there's definitely no need to ask twice! The free dog treats definitely put Bellissimo way up there on Eddy's favourite list of cafes. Thanks Bellissimo!
RSPCA Black Cat Cafe recently opened its doors as a unique and interactive cafe with distinct characteristics. With both outdoor and indoor cat enclosures located adjacent to the cafe, patrons can watch the cats play while enjoying delicious food and refreshments. Even though this cafe is named after felines rather than canines, Black Cat Cafe also caters for pooches - as expected from RSPCA, an organisation that places animal wellbeing first and foremost. In addition to water bowls provided for dogs, perhaps most importantly (at least for Eddy), Black Cat Cafe have vegemite treats available for purchase for lucky doggie patrons! All this, plus knowing that all proceeds will go directly towards supporting animals in need at RSPCA, makes Black Cat Cafe a great place to visit with your dog.
Eddy enjoyed yummy vegemite biscuits at Black Cat Cafe.
Our Place Coffee Garden describe themselves as a "takeaway coffee garden" - they have the standard coffees available, made by locally handcrafted, award-winning A.M Coffee Roasters. They also have a range of teas available. Our Place also has a menu just for the lucky pups that visit, including a wide range of treats from Pets at Home Care Bakery, a small run-from-home business just a 4 minute drive away. They make amazing homemade treats, and I fully recommend them for your pups - as a bonus, they are made with no salt, no sugar, and no preservatives! Our Place also has puppaccinos, which Eddy loves. His food came on a literal platter, which put the human's food to shame! Our Place Coffee Garden also has an off-leash dog area within the cafe - here, dogs are allowed to roam free within the safety parameters in the form of a fully enclosed area with secure fenced gates. This is definitely not your average dog-friendly cafe!
Woofissimo is a haven for dog lovers - the interior design and furnishings are canine-themed, and they are very much dog-friendly. Pictures and sculptures of a wide range of breeds can literally be seen anywhere you look, including many pugs! Woofissimo welcomes guests with cute statues of puppies saying "welcome", literally at their doorstep. Woofissimo staff then go one step further (no pun intended) and welcome your four-legged best friend with a biscuit, and a bowl of water. Dogs are treated like royalty here - it's a cheaper alternative to doggy spas. There is also a small 'doggie menu' section on the menu, for your furry best friend to peruse. They get to choose from a doggie biscuit, a doggie muffin, or a doggyccino. If you or your dog is finding it hard to choose, perhaps you could opt for all three!
Eddy enjoying a dog biscuit and doggyccino at Woofissimo Cafe.
Do you know of any other cafes that give free treats to dogs or have a doggy menu?
Do you like taking your dogs out to cafes?
Fresh Dog Bones
On the topic of food, there's no arguing that most dogs would not say no to a fresh, raw bone. In addition to keeping our dogs, especially the puppies and adolescents, occupied for up to hours at a time, feeding raw bones can also prevent anal gland problems - the bowel movements after feeding bones are harder, which helps express anal glands and get rid of toxins.
Note: Bones should always be given under direct supervision, and should always be given raw and owners should check with your vet first that raw meaty bones are suitable for your particular dog (e.g. may not be suitable for older dogs). In addition, too many raw bones may lead to constipation, but generally, 1-2 bones per week is fine. The bone must be large enough so that the dog cannot fit the whole bone in its mouth or swallow the bone whole.
One place to get raw bones for cheap is at Kurty's Quality Meats in Stafford City - you can get a big bag of assorted raw bones for dogs for just $5!
Another place to get raw bones is through Meat U @ Home, a meat van that supplies quality, tender free range grass fed meat, free range hormone free poultry and wild caught fish for the humans, in addition to both dried and raw pet food! They can be found at the Kelvin Grove Village Markets every Saturday morning. Julie and Gary, owners of Meat U @ Home, have 5 dogs of their own, and keep their dogs on a raw food diet - feel free to ask any questions you may have on raw food, as they are very knowledgeable in this area. After trying out a free sample at the markets, Eddy got a bag of raw chicken necks (price depends on weight) and 8 meals worth of raw food with all the necessary nutrients packed into it, vegetables included - the total came to exactly $10.
Eddy took home some frozen chicken necks and some raw, healthy pet food too!
There's nothing more fun than attending events that are literally run with only the dogs' best interests in mind, with lots of doggy catered stalls (including treats!), competitions, and much, much more. Plus, these events always attract heaps of dogs and their owners - your furbabies will have so much fun meeting other fluffballs, and well, as for the dog-loving owners, they'll be surrounded by other canines and be in doggy paradise. If you've never been to one of these doggy events before, you're missing out - keep an eye out for these events in the near future, and you won't be sorry!
To give you an idea of what these events look like, check out these past events, some of which run on an annual basis:
Go the extra mile and take your dogs on holiday with you! Obviously, this is going to cost more than $10, but it still deserves to be on this list because you would have spent the same amount of money should you have gone on holiday without your dog - contrary to what you might think, there are many accommodation places that are dog friendly who allow dogs in the room with you, for either a small surcharge (i.e. spoiling your dog for $10 or under) or none at all! I recently went on a two-week road trip down to Victoria and back with just Eddy, and had no troubles finding pet-friendly accommodation even in rural areas. Here are some of the best pet-friendly places that Eddy and I have stayed in:
Note: Even if the accommodation/booking website states the property to be "pet-friendly" do contact them directly to ensure what this means - some properties who advertise as "pet-friendly" only allow dogs to be on the porch or in a communal grass area for all the pets.
Phew, that was a long list of ways to spoil your dog! If you've done everything on the list so far, you and your dog are most likely pooped. It's time to kick back and relax with a glass - but no, not at home. It's time to head out to a dog-friendly bar! There are many bars in Brisbane that allow owners to take their dogs in with them, so you might as might as well take advantage of this:
Everyone's three favourite things in one photo: beer, cheese, and dog!
Of course, alcohol is extremely dangerous to dogs - liquor consumption means an immediate vet visit. Once your pup has consumed too much alcohol, he suffers from alcohol poisoning, which results in vomiting, difficulty breathing, coma, heart attack and, as the symptoms foreshadow, possibly death. Remember to keep your pet away from the alcohol you're drinking!
However, to ensure that your pet doesn't miss out, L'Barkery has come to the rescue with 'Paw Blonde Doggie Beer'. Paw Blonde is an all natural healthy faux beer drink for your dog - "your dog will love the all natural beef flavours of our Paw Blonde Doggie Beer with glucosamine for mobility and healthy joints". Each packet cost $6, and as such is well within the budget of $10 - you'll even get some change!
Eddy can't wait to get his paws on this Paw Blonde Doggie Beer!
* Would you take your dog to a bar? Why or why not?
Have you been to any of these dog-friendly bars? Which one was your favourite?
Do you think your pooch would enjoy Paw Blonde Doggie Beer?
Monthly Doggy Subscription Boxes
Yes, I am fully aware that 10 ways to spoil your dog has already been covered, but I thought I'd throw in an extra one! This last way to spoil your dog did not make it into the original list of 10, because monthly doggy subscription boxes cost more than $10 - however, if you divide the cost by the number of days in the month, the cost will definitely average out to under $10. In fact, some monthly subscription boxes average out to only $1 a day! Here are some of the best doggy subscriptions around, ordered in terms of price, that Eddy would love to get his paws on one day:
Doggy Delish Box from Gourmet Dog Barkery ($30) - a treat for every day of the month, all hand-made in store
Couldn't let my dog off the leash, he'd run away (used to be a stray but we've had him for 4 years now). In fact, 2 nights ago he escaped through a tiny hole in the window! Naughty dog. Anyway, I didn't know doggy ice cream existed! The dog in the poster for it looks exactly like your dog, haha