You never know what you’re going to find when you go to Dollar Tree.
In one trip, you’ll find a healthy mix of amazing deals, things that smell weird, questionable-but-acceptable knockoffs, and mini versions of your favorite products.
There are some things for my dogs I would never get from anywhere else EXCEPT from Dollar Tree.
There are some things I’ll pick up in a pinch to save a few bucks that will “get the job done.”
And then there are things I would never, ever let my dogs have, even if I were given them for free.
Here’s my list of top dog picks from Dollar Tree, and things you should keep out of your shopping basket.
Dollar Tree sells eggs. They’re not organic or anything, but if they’re good enough for me, they’re good enough for my pups. Eggs are easy to digest and highly bio-available, a great source of protein, and a wonderful topper for kibble, raw or cooked.
Remember when over 1000 dogs died after eating chicken jerky treats sourced from China before a recall was ever issued? The treats were sold under a few different popular brands, including Waggin’ Train by Purina.
I’m still wary of any chicken jerky treats, some of which you’ll find at Dollar Tree. I’m not saying these treats will kill your dog, it’s just that it’s tough to confirm that treats like these are not only made in the USA, made with USA sourced ingredients… and yet jerky treats are so easy to make at home.
Canine Carryouts in the blue bag are also found at Dollar Tree. I’ve seen a ton of stories circulating on Facebook about dogs who went into liver failure and/or died after eating them, but no reports of recalls, or any obvious reason as to why they’re rumored to be so deadly. They are, however, made with sugar, artificial colors, and preservatives, so just skip them.
Dollar Tree carries a few different brands of a dog food, some canned and some dry.
I won’t go into detail about the brands usually offered there, as I’ll be writing a post about how to choose a food. But I will say that I wouldn’t feed any of the food offered there on a regular basis, I would possibly just grab a couple of cans as a cheap reserve to have in case of an emergency.
Brands and formulas aside, if you like the food, or need something cheap if you’re in a financial bind, the small bags are fine for travel or for using as treats. You may also prefer them if you have a small dog and would rather not buy larger bags, which could mean having an open bag that goes stale faster than you can use it.
Also, make sure to check expiration dates. I’m unsure if the food tends to be less fresh than that sold at pet stores, but you should check for this no matter where you shop – especially online, when dog food might sit in warehouses for months before it is shipped out.
Kids’ toys are not great for use as dog toys because they may have beads or hard eyes and noses that your dog could choke on. Since they’re also not designed to be chewed, they may have a flame retardant coating.
Rubber vinyl chew toys contain phthalates, an additive that makes them soft and chewy, and that has also been linked to liver and kidney damage. Painted toys may be contaminated with lead, which is linked to neurological damage. So, it’s best to just stay away from those colorful squeaky bones.
Soft, fluffy toys from the pet section are made of polyester, a form of plastic. It’s unclear to me if they’re very different from the soft toys you’d find at a pet store, and whether or not the fluffy fabric or polyfill stuffing can contain toxic additives.
Naturally, dollar store toys break quickly, so your dog has more of a chance of swallowing or choking the polyfill stuffing or squeaker.
Cheap stuffed toys do not cost much more at a pet store, though, especially if your dog doesn’t mind playing with a clearance Christmas elf in February.
Collars, Harnesses and Leashes
Walking gear from Dollar Tree isn’t so bad. They can also be kept in your car as spares or to use if you find a loose dog in the street. This is also a good way to save money if your puppy is just going to outgrow their gear in a few months.
You can get rolls of poop bags at Dollar Tree, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, you’re better off with biodegradable bags that break down in landfills after a few weeks to 6 months, as opposed to the many years it takes for most plastic bags to break down.
You can find poop scoops at Dollar Tree, at least the ones you’d use to clean a cat’s litter box, but if you use two scoops, you can pick up even the stickiest of deposits. Then, you can yeet the poop directly into the trash, forgoing the poop bag altogether.
I use the clear plastic Betty Crocker containers with red lids to store some of my dogs’ raw food. It’s BPA free, but may still contain some toxic additives, just like any other plastic container.
But… I use them for my own food, and I’m probably not going to stop. Glass containers are a good alternative, but I like that plastic won’t shatter if dropped.
Price-wise, the containers are a good buy. If you decide to use them, just make sure that you never microwave them or otherwise heat them, as this greatly increases the chances that harmful chemicals will leach into the food.
Dollar Tree sometimes carries tinned sardines in water with no added salt. And yes, your dog can eat the soft bones. I haven’t seen them in a while, though, but have found them at Aldi.
You might also find cans of pink salmon there. Remember: looked for packed in water with no added salt.
Both fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids for both you AND your dog, so they’re a healthy, shareable treat.
Food and Water Bowls.
As for food and water bowls, try to steer clear of plastic. As noted above, plastics can have harmful additives that could leach into food and water. Also, plastic bowls tend to get scratches that harbor bacteria.
Go for their stainless steel or ceramic bowls. I use two large Dollar Store stainless steel bowls for water for Matilda and Cow. They’re very easy to sanitize.
Flea & Tick Products.
Flea and tick products, even when purchased from your vet, can be dangerous. The side effects can be severe, from seizures and tremors to death. For most dogs, they’re very effective at keeping pests away, so I personally don’t think people should stop using them, but that said…
Pesticides are toxic to pests, and they’re at least mildly toxic to pets. You have to get a product that you can trust.
But there is one flea and tick spray from Dollar Tree that I actually use sometimes. Their Nature’s Best spray is made with clove oil, cinnamon oil, and cedarwood oil. I keep it in my car and spray the dogs when we go on hikes, and sometimes I just put it on them because it smells really good.
But, I don’t know how effective it actually is at killing or repelling pests, and like any flea and tick product, you need to use caution, as your pet can have an adverse reaction to even natural ingredients. I also don’t know about the sourcing of the essential oils, however, this product has been available for a few years, and I’ve yet to hear any cases of dogs having bad reactions to it.
Puppy pads from Dollar Tree are fine to use, but at 4 for $1, they’re actually more expensive than almost anywhere else, including on Amazon, where you have a selection of scented, super absorbent, activated charcoal, and attractant scented pads. Puppy pads are also terrible for the environment, the plastic backing takes years, if not decades to break down. If I raise a puppy again, I may go with an eco-friendly alternative to puppy pads.