LazyPaw Animal Hospitals is all about toys lately, and though we’ve pointed out some amazing (and amazingly expensive) possible additions to your pet’s collection, we wanted to share the secrets of some of our favorite homemade toys that ring in at a total cost ranging between zero and just a few dollars. Bonus: They don’t take much time to make, and you probably already have everything you need around the house.
Remember, always supervise your pets during play and check the condition of toys regularly for potential choking hazards.
Give your pal Scrappy a scrappy toy.
Everyone has an old t-shirt that’s begging for a second chance at life (or a trip to the trash). Upcycle the old rag as Fido or Fluffy’s favorite plaything. Shred the shirt into scraps, remove loose threads that could cause choking, then tie scraps in knots however you see fit. You can create a braided rope with knots every few inches or tie multiple knots in the same spot to end up with a fluffy, toss-able ball of silliness.
A milk carton. That’s it.
For some reason, dogs large and small go gaga for plastic gallon size milk cartons. This can obviously be a major choking hazard if your pup is a chewer, so use extra supervision. Otherwise, you can rinse an empty plastic carton well so it doesn’t begin to smell, add a rumbly treat or two inside if you wish, and let Fido go to town.
Puzzles you can make at home.
Got a muffin tin? Excellent. How about tennis balls? If not, just about any ball will do. Put a few treats in random compartments of the muffin tin, and make sure your pet sees you do it. Instruct them to sit still and wait (try these tips if you need help with training), then put balls on top of each muffin cup, even if there is no treat inside. Your pet will have to sniff treats out and move the balls to find the treasure. If your pet gets extra good at the game, you can cover their eyes when hiding the treats, or spin the tray around a few times after you put the balls on top. If the pet overturns the muffin tin, try not to let them have any treats—start the process over until she learns the rules.
A busy buddy’s best friend.
With a single trip to the hardware store, you can make a quick toy for just a few bucks. Have a short length of pvc pipe cut to 6-10 inches, or use a manual saw on your own. Also buy two caps for every length of pipe you want to make a toy from. Drill a few holes on the sides of the pipe, but not too many, because those are where the treats fall out and you don’t want it to be too easy. Paint the pipe and caps if you prefer a more professional touch—you could even paint your pet’s name or decorate with an animal or sports themed design. Once everything is dry, add a few small training treats or broken bits of treat to the inside, then finish off with the cap. Your pet will have a big time nosing it around and trying to get the treats to fall out.