When the temperatures drop it may be too cold for your pet to go outside and play, but you know that he should be getting some exercise. Luckily, you can easily keep your pet active and entertained by making a few of these DIY pet toys.
Recycled Clothing Tug Toy
Gather up all of your old t-shirts and jeans, cut them up into long strips and braid them together to create a new tug toy. The wider the strips you use, the thicker and sturdier the toy will be. You can make this bigger by braiding smaller braids together. Large dogs and “chewers” will probably do better when you use a sturdier fabric like denim.
No-Sew Catnip Toy
What cat doesn’t love catnip? You can also use some old clothes for this homemade catnip toy, though feel free to purchase something new if you want something special. All you have to do is take a small swatch of fabric, put some catnip in the centre, then tie it up. Make sure the knot is done tightly so it doesn’t open and spread everywhere.
Cat or Dog Puzzle
How smart do you think your pet is? Find out by making a pet puzzle! Start by stuffing a box full of toilet paper rolls, placing a few treats into each roll. How long will it take him to get the treats? If this puzzle is too easy, you can try something a little harder by tossing the treats into an empty soda bottle with the lid removed. It’s harder to get the treats out of the narrow opening.
Cat Glove Toy
If you have a cat that loves chasing after ribbons and dangling toys, you’ll love this cat glove toy. Take an old glove and attach long ribbons to the end of each finger. If you’d like, you can also tie things like bells or little felt toys to the end of the ribbons. Put the glove on, then wiggle your fingers to give your cat something to entertain you and your cat.
Make a jingle ball by cutting open a tennis ball and placing a large bell inside. It should easily stay in there without having to glue it up. It will jingle when you toss it. This is an especially nice toy for dogs who are losing their sight. They can play a game of fetch by listening for the sound of the ball, and since you’re playing it inside rather than in a large field, it’s easier for your dog to find.
The Indestructible Dog Toy
Surprisingly, when you bake sweet potatoes in the oven at a low heat for an extended period of time, it dries out to become an indestructible dog toy. Slice potatoes into rounds that are about half an inch thick, then use a cookie cutter to remove the centre. Cook in the oven until they’re dry and hard - about two to three hours - then string on a piece of natural rope. Your dog will have a hard time taking it apart, but if he does, it’s OK because it’s all-natural and nutritious.
New Sew Socktopus
This toy is easy to make, and it has an adorable name. Simply take an old sock, stuff the end, then cut the rest to make the tentacles of the “socktopus”. While the picture at this site shows the toy with googly eyes, you may want to avoid using those for your pet. They could come off and make them sick. If you have a large dog, you might want to consider making this out of an old towel instead. Braid the tentacles to make them stronger.
If you have a dog that likes fetch, this sock and ball toy makes it a little easier to play inside. Take a long, thick sock and place a tennis ball at the middle. Tie a knot at either end. Adding the sock means that it doesn’t roll away quite as much, so it will land close to where you throw it. You can also use this as a pull toy if that’s a game your pet likes too. Finally, most dogs will pick it up by the ball, so the ends don’t get quite as slobbery, and that’s nice for throwing.
Keeping your pet active throughout the winter doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of these craft ideas use things that you already have lying around your home. Your pet will be so happy that you’ve created a few new things for them to play with.