Your kids' discarded toys and outgrown clothes are piling up in the basement. (You'll donate it eventually, right?) Meanwhile, your dog is constantly in need of new and sometimes expensive toys. Is there a way to repurpose some old odds-and-ends in your home to create fun DIY dog toys for your favorite pup?
Here are five easy ideas for turning old and outgrown kid and baby stuff into DIY dog toys.
Give your dog the perfect place for an afternoon nap by turning a crib mattress into a dog bed. Crib mattresses are the perfect size and a good alternative to a pricey brand new dog bed. You can use a fitted crib sheet as a cover or make a no-sew version with just two yards fabric of your choice, fusible bonding, an iron and some adhesive Velcro, creating an irresistible nap spot!
Tricky Obstacle Course
Use old pool noodles, a hula-hoop, and a tunnel to create your own backyard agility course. Pool noodles and hula hoops can be made into obstacles to jump over or through, while a hollowed out cardboard box is a natural chute. An obstacle course is also a great training opportunity. You can teach him hand signals and commands while he's having a blast and exercising.
Crinkly Chew Toy
Turn an empty plastic bottle and an old pair of your child's socks into an irresistible crackly plaything for your pup in under five minutes. All you have to do is put a water bottle into an old sock and simply tie the ends shut with string or twine. If the sock is thin, put the bottle inside three or four socks to ensure the water bottle is adequately covered. An exposed water bottle could rip or shatter, creating sharp edges that could injure your dog.
Durable Tug Rope
Cut strips of cloth from two shirts your child has outgrown (or stained beyond all help) to make a braided tug-of-war rope. BarkPost has a tutorial that'll have you completing this project in no time!
New Cuddle Buddy
Cut open one of your child's discarded stuffed animals, empty it of its stuffing and then sew it shut again. Your dog now has a cuddle buddy to carry around for comfort, and you don't have to worry about finding stuffing all over your house. When choosing a stuffed animal, make sure to discard anything that could become a potential choking hazard like buttons or tags.
While getting creative and finding new uses for your kids' old things is a fun and wallet-friendly idea, the top issue you should always consider is safety. You want to make sure whatever item you're repurposing can't hurt your pup. For instance, if a dog rips a stuffed animal apart and eats the stuffing inside, it could cause intestinal trouble that requires surgery. Or a dog that chews on a hard plastic toy, like a doll or block, could shatter a tooth. If you're afraid your dog has ingested something he shouldn't or has injured himself by chewing on something he shouldn't have, call your vet right away. Veterinary Practice News has interviewed a few vets who had to surgically remove everything from golf balls to a door hinge from their patients' stomach. Don't let this happen to your dog!
By using a little creativity and common sense, you can transform your two-legged child's old toys into new favorites for your four-legged baby, while also saving yourself money. However, make sure your dog knows which toys are now his and which to leave alone. Just because your kiddos have discarded a couple of old stuffed animals, doesn't mean that there aren't some that should still remain off-limits. With a little time and training he'll get the hang of things, so get to creating and then get to playing with your favorite furry friend!
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer in Erie, Pa. She has a goldendoodle named Maddie who carries old stuffed animals in her mouth wherever she goes.