If pets could talk, they would probably say, “Why on earth did you throw away that perfectly fine milk carton?” Alas, our feline and canine counterparts do not have the power of speech to tell us when trash isn’t trash at all, but hours of potential playtime. Recycling household items into pet toys is a great way to cut back on spending, as no toy, no matter how sturdily made, ever seems to last long. You can entertain not only your pets, but also yourself as you stretch the limits of your imagination and create imaginative playthings out of everyday objects. Here is a list of ideas to help get you started.
1. The Sealed Sneaker – Put some treats in the toe of an old shoe, then wrap the shoe in duct tape (more or less depending on the size of your dog).
2. The Cat Cap – Save your plastic bottle caps for the kitties, but if you have infants or toddlers in the house make sure they don’t get a hold of them.
3. The Tubular Sock – Stuff a clean, unwanted tube sock with treats, and then tie off at the ankle with yarn or string. Cut the top of the sock into strips for added fun!
4. Prescription For Fun – Want to add sound to your homemade toy? Put a few dried beans inside an empty prescription bottle and voila! This is perfect if the squeaky variety of noisemakers drives you batty.
5. Lint Condition – Take the sticky lint papers off the plastic lint roller handle and you’ve got a decent chew toy for the pup.
6. The Bottle Socket – Dogs across the board seem to love plastic bottles. Make them last longer by putting them inside socks or other similarly sized fabric, then tie off the ends or seal with duct tape.
7. The Treat Challenge – Don’t toss those empty butter and yogurt containers! Cut a few holes in a plastic container, making sure they’re just big enough for treats to pass through. Show your pet the treats inside, replace the lid, and enjoy the show. If your pet has trouble at first, help it win the treats so it doesn’t give up.
8. Guardian Of The Garden – An old garden hose can be transformed into several dog toys, depending on the length. You can make a ring out of a couple feet of hose by stuffing a thick piece of branch into each end and connecting them. Cut a piece of old t-shirt to fit the inside of the ring and you’ve got a decent Frisbee. Or, you can tie a length of hose into knots for a nice tug toy.
9. The Tireless Tire – Small, rubber tires from old wheelbarrows or wagons make for excellent chew toys that will last. Just be sure that whatever tire you use doesn’t have a steel belt, as this would really damage your pet’s mouth. In general, avoid bike and car tires.
10. Cardboard Carnage – Boxes, paper towel rolls, and toilet paper rolls make for an endless array of cardboard fun. Cats love the lightweight nature of toilet paper rolls and the comfort of squeezing into a “just too small” parcel. Large dogs will go nuts breaking down your sturdy boxes all over the living room.
11. The Kitchen Braid– Got a bunch of unwanted kitchen towels? Cut them lengthwise into three strips, leaving an inch or two uncut at the top, then braid the strips to make a braided tug toy.
With a few basic items like cardboard and duct tape, you can make an endless variety of play toys that cost next to nothing. But, always make sure to be cautious and provide proper supervision for your pet when he or she is playing with homemade toys. Always look out for small pieces coming off the pet toys and always be prepared for the worst (keep this puppy CPR guide handy).
So, if you need to give your dog or cat more to play with than its own tail, and you’re on a budget or just hate those high prices on most pet toys, reach into that recycling bin or donation bag and discover the cheap treasures within!
Author bio: Sandra Mills is a freelance writer who enjoys covering topics in the fields of arts and crafts, pet care, and has written extensively on veterinary career training programs.