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The 5 most expensive things my dog ate

Although our puppy budget included things like vet visits and training, it didn't account for the items our new canine companion destroyed.

By Oct 21, 2013 11:31AM

This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site logoThis year, my husband and I decided to adopt a puppy. Our past experience with pets consisted of fish and parakeets, so we had a lot to learn: We talked to friends with dogs, bought “Dogs for Dummies” and did some Internet research. Upon accepting a future full of chewed belongings, various odors and constant vacuuming, we went to a shelter.

 Man with dog © VStock LLC, Tanya Constantine, Tetra images, Getty ImagesIn March, we brought home Marvin, a 3-month-old mix of who-knows-what. He was a small guy, about 16 pounds at the time, and very shy. When he was small, he couldn’t even make some of his toys squeak because he wasn’t strong enough yet. Adorable.

That didn’t last long. Both the vet and dog trainer we use say he has exceptionally high energy, even for a puppy, and figuring out how to handle that has been an adventure. A costly one.

We planned for all sorts of expenses, but until recently, I hadn’t considered the value of everything he has destroyed. We’ve had him for nearly eight months, and our now 50-pound puppy has annihilated many things. Regardless of whether we were naive or misguided about pet costs, we never factored these expenses into our initial puppy budget:

Athletic equipment. Marvin loves to steal our workout stuff. He has a thing for my running shoes, which have a hole because of him, but they’re still usable.

The other day, Marvin tore apart my cycling gloves. I had owned them for a few years, so it’s not the biggest deal, but I had to replace them immediately.

Value: $30

Home decor. After at trip to Disney World (before we got Marvin), I brought home a particularly round stuffed Winnie the Pooh. Since the first time he encountered "Fat Pooh," Marvin loved it, but we were able to keep it out of reach for the first several months. Marvin finally succeeded in his attempt to kidnap Fat Pooh one day while I was on an important phone call.

He also ate three throw pillows last week. A relative made us pillows that looked like Scrabble tiles, spelling LOVE, and gave them to us for our wedding. Marvin and these pillows co-existed for months without issue. They were friends, you could say. He turned on them last Friday, which is problematic when you have pillows that spell things. We just have L now.

Value: $50

His belongings. The pillows weren't the first friends he turned on. After months of loving and carrying around the same toys, an owl and a man-shaped squeaky toy, he gutted them. We went through four owls because he liked them so much, but Owl IV lasted only about 10 minutes, so we stopped buying those.

We also subscribe to a monthly box of dog toys and treats. Most things don’t make it past their first night in the house — my favorite was when he broke a treat puzzle instead of solving it — but a few are still around.

Marvin doesn’t have a bed anymore; he now likes to sleep on a cheap fleece blanket, and he chews it from time to time. We should have started with the $7 blanket, rather than the three dog beds he went through, which cost $30 each and who-knows-how-much time re-stuffing and repairing them until we gave up. It was as if the new stitching were a challenge he couldn’t ignore.

Now, of course, he tries to sleep in our bed.

Value: $200

Our belongings. Like many dogs, Marvin likes shoes. He ate my husband’s Sperry boat shoes, and we’ve also both lost a pair of slippers, even though we do our best to never leave footwear on the floor.

Last month, we discovered how much Marvin loves tug of war. Unfortunately, we discovered that when the weather got cool and we started wearing long sleeves. I guess he saw sleeves as toys. We’re down four sweatshirts and a jacket. Upside: We learned how to properly play tug of war with Marvin.

Value: $300

Things that don’t belong to us. Let's hope my landlord doesn't read this. (If so, Eric, I'm sorry.) Aside from the usual wear and tear a puppy unleashes on a home, Marvin ate something we won’t be able to cover up.

He ate three patches of carpet in the townhouse we rent. Based on a little research, I think this is the most expensive thing he ate.

Value: $700

That’s about $1,300 in less than a year, but we haven't yet replaced most of it. Not everything is on this list, either.

While that’s a heck of a lot of destruction, I know there have to be stories out there that can top mine. What’s the most expensive thing your pet has destroyed? In the comments, tell us what happened and how it affected your finances.

More from

Oct 21, 2013 12:28PM
1 sofa, 1 side chair, the bottoms of 2 dining room chairs, numerous picture frames and VHS tapes, Victorias Secret lingerie (only Victorias Secret), shoes, a new bottle of Rimadyl (17 tabs @ 75 mg/tab), (2) 4# bags of flour, a 12-pk of TP, dragged through the dog door one roll at a time.  The list is endless.  However, he's been a wonderful dog and is now in his final stage of life.  When it's time to say goodbye, he will be missed terribly.
Oct 21, 2013 12:38PM
How about our 2 year old chocolate lab eating my son's 4-year law school loan promissory note worth $184,000.00.  When pieced together, signed and hand delivered it brought bundles of laughs at the Law School's admissions office. 
Oct 21, 2013 12:10PM



Oct 21, 2013 12:21PM
My dog ate three $100 bills. Never got them back. Turns out they were counterfeit. He couldn't pass them :)
Oct 21, 2013 12:16PM

We have a 9 month old golden retriever. We got her as just a little puppy.. 10 weeks if I remember right. Anyways.. the average list of things she has eaten or torn apart up to now include:


My flip flops.. multiple pairs = $25

Stuffed dog toys = $40

Rubber dog toys = $40

Blankets - we first used as dog beds = $25

Dog beds - when we thought the chewing was done = $60

Blankets - after the 2 dog beds were destroyed = $20

Puppy pads while we were potty training, tore evvvvery single one apart = $25

Adult size popazon chair (the wood frame) = $75


Drum roll please.... the MOST expensive thing my dog as chewed...

I am a photographer and had a lens sitting in my 'photography room' one day. I had it sitting in a cloth sleeve to keep dust off of it, but not necessarily protect it from falls. I left my room for just a couple minutes... come back to find the lens on the ground and the cloth bag tore to pieces!

Lens = $400


Naughty puppy!!!


Oct 21, 2013 11:58AM
My dog loved electronic devices and remotes. I think it took more training to get the rest fo the family to not leave those things within his reach. Eventually he grew out of it because the family still hasn't learned.
Oct 21, 2013 12:51PM

I am certain I am putting my Vet's kid's through College.


Just 2 wks ago, my 4y/o Golden Retriever ate a whole new roll of toilet tissue. It was a jumbo roll, from a jumbo pack no less; the kind you buy  a warehouse grocery supplier so to save some money.........well forget that thought.


1 jumbo roll of toilet tissue mixed with aprox 1 quart of drinking water equals an emergency trip to Vet that lasted no longer than 20 minutes to make him ralph it all up(including his breakfast too). I roll toilet tissue = $248.


We will not even discuss the time he tore up the carpet 3yrs ago and ate the padding which remained lodged in his stomach(we didn't know at the time)and it stayed there for 2 years before it turned into a full blown blockage; to the tune of $4,000.


The look on our Vets face each time we walk into his office is........Priceless



Oct 21, 2013 12:35PM
my dogs are pretty good about not messing with things they arent supposed to. the problem we have is my chihuahua has certain toys he likes to sleep with and gets upset if the other dogs mess them up. he doesnt play with those. just snuggles and sleeps with them
Oct 21, 2013 12:27PM
I've owned my dog for 12 years and thankfully he outgrew his chewing after about 3 years, for the most part. He still can't resist the trash and things in plastic packages like bread, noodles, crackers, etc. Thankfully he just hides these items now & doesn't destroy them.
The early years: Dozens of mini blinds, half a wardrobe of expensive work clothes, the padding of 4 dining room chairs, a leather couch, more of my kids stuffed animals, shoes, gloves & socks than I can count, tennis balls by the truckload, lacrosse balls by the case, more dog toys than I could possibly count, carpet in a rent house, the door facings of 3 doors, a dresser, half a dozen volleyballs, and other various items.
Oct 21, 2013 12:26PM
I have 2 one year old Australian Shepherds, between them they have eaten 8 pairs of my sons shoes, 2 pairs of slippers, 2 pairs of boots, one couch cushion, 2 reclining chairs, 2 dog beds, jean jacket, 1 large whole in the carpet, fountain cord, lamp cord, 1 cell phone, 2 lawn chairs, 1 exercise ball, 1 hot tub cover, and about 100 dog toys (some within 10 minutes).  I don't want to estimate the cost of these things because the love and companionship we get from them is priceless.  I'm hoping within the next year they will get over the eating everything stage.
Oct 21, 2013 1:49PM
The list is too long.  The best, however, would have to be the bathroom door.  It was the worst set up to begin with.  Every dog Ive had has been locked it the dang thing because they go in to check it out and in the process of turning around they close the door on them selves.  Well, not anymore.  My most recent addition, another rescued husky, got himself stuck.  Instead of they usual damage done by the others of eating the trim around the door, he chewed through it.  Yep, big ol hole, along with the rug in the bathroom and the one in the hall.  That was $700, got the guy down thank god.  Then there are the handles on the freezer and the stove and the food they have taken out of both, rubbermaid, bowls, and countless boxes.  Paper seems to be the favorite.  The toys survive.  They also like redecorating by moving my pillows around the house and emptying the garbage cans out.  They have figured out how to open the one you have to step on to get the lid up.  Smart little buggars.  Annoying yes, the priceless looks of innocence totally worth it!      
Oct 21, 2013 12:15PM
Although my Beagle hasn't eaten anything expensive, she has eaten a few things that caused us to have her stomach pumped.  The cleaning lady left a closet door open where I had hidden easter candy.  Dog sniffed it out and ate about 3 lbs of chocolate.  Emergency visit to the vet cost me about $400.00.  She did this not once, but twice.  We are so conscience now about where we store things.
Oct 21, 2013 12:08PM
Lobster flown in from maine, He wanted to eat one too, So we gave him one
Oct 21, 2013 1:23PM
Boat oars, all the wiring off the boat trailer, bicycle pedals (chewed right off the bicycle), 2 bicycle seats, a portable hard drive with all my business records (that cost me over $900 with the IRS since I could show backup documentation), a brick of firecrackers, 2 roman candles, a pack of waterproof matches, a police/fire/weather scanner, side molding around numerous doors... I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting.

We re homed him where he could get more exercise and stimulation.
Oct 21, 2013 4:11PM

This article is really about being a good (or bad) pet owner.


The author, Christine, tells us that she knew nothing about raising a dog, and then adopted a high-energy, large-breed dog?  That's a recipe for disaster, and it has nothing to do with the dog itself...  The picture accompanying the article shows a dog that is mostly boarder collie or something similar (a working dog).  To be a responsible dog owner (especially as a newbie) you have to know the breed and the natural tendencies that come with them!


I've raised golden retrievers for most of my life.  I've had 8 of them, and have never had a "bad dog" even though they're high-energy and get up to 100 lbs (or more!) as adults.  Shoot, they end up being service dogs and have helped me care for my aging grandmother and mom.


You have to understand the breed, train accordingly, and most importantly PUT IN THE TIME AND ATTENTION!  -You do that, and you won't have reocurring problems like those described in the article.

Oct 21, 2013 3:56PM
Our Maltese chewed Grandmas hearing aids.  Oh yeah...we think grandma didn't wash her hands after she ate so the sweeeet smell of food was them when she took them off.  Hopped right onto her bed and had a snack.  Bad news: not covered by insurance.  Good news: grandma couldn't hear with them anyway.
Oct 21, 2013 1:27PM
kennel him!!!  We have two that like to steal shoes, clothes, stuffed animals, papers, remote controls, etc.  The 3 year old likes to suckle our clothes and decorative pillows then chews holes in them.  Like the sweatshirt I bought my husband for his birthday.  He wore it once and then within a week she had chewed it up.  she loves it when someone leaves a pair of shoes out.  Her and her 11 month old brother cannot be trusted together.  they wreak havoc on the house if left alone.  The puppy gets kenneled while we are gone and since her partner in crime is locked up, the 3 yr old behaves.  the 3 year old has eaten 3 doggie beds.  she has a thing about eating the zippers off then pulling all the stuffing out.  I went and bought a marine boat grade super duper zipper to repair the last bed.  It seems to have done the trick.  I had a golden who ate 3 holes through the wall (which is where we think she got her cancer from - old old house).  The puppies seems to like my beautiful cherry furniture too.  I think my freak out cured him of that though cause I have not seen any new marks over night.
Oct 21, 2013 4:50PM

My husband rescued a one yr. old lab (molly)  She has eaten shoes, socks, chewed up tv remote control, countless couch pillows, and his hearing aids ($4,000)  All that in the first yr.... My 9 yr. old Cockapoo has never chewed or eaten anything other than her chew toys.  Go figure!

Oct 21, 2013 4:37PM

Our beagle puppy is running quite a tab- My favorite shoes, a TV remote, my prescription eye glasses, a sofa cushion, my throw pillows, my carpet, my door in my bathroom, my wooden trim work, our sliding glass door screens, every tea towel in the house, all paper napkins, a library book, and more.  Not to mention all of the holes in our backyard.


But not as expensive as the 50 cent piece of ribbon that the cat ate that caused $2,000 in vet bills, emotional trauma when he almost died and brought on years of diabetes, insulin and vet visits.  LOVE pets.


Don't get me started on how much has been spent on fresh water fish and the now empty aquarium in my kitchen.  It was called "TANK O' DEATH" for a reason!

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