Homemade Pet Toys

Toby, AKA Fat Muffin, in his favorite box
I've seen pet stores sell toys upwards of $20. I have no idea what would cost that much that you couldn't get elsewhere for less, but apparently people are willing to pay. Frankly, I'd say they're insane because most of the toys can be made with random things around the house. Plus, our cats have been known to completely ignore a store-bought toy in favor of something that came out of the cabinet. If you'd like to know how to make toys both your pets and your wallet will love, here are some of our 'recipes'.

Keep in mind that, while you don't have to be quite as vigilant about toy safety for animals as you are with children, some items can still pose a risk.

Many dogs love a good game of 'tug of war'. If your kids have some long socks they've outgrown, tie them in a knot and toss them to the dog. Ditto an old bath or dish towel.

For a different sort of toy, stuff the sock with cotton or newspaper and stitch or pin the top closed. This is a good way to use the sock whose 'partner' got lost in the wash.

Those plastic rings from the top of the milk jug are my kitty Haley's favorite toy. She'll walk around the house with one in her mouth making this odd 'wailing' noise. I'd stick to larger bottles, though, because smaller ones can pose a choking risk.

On the same tip as above, they also enjoy old cloth ponytail holders.

You'll have to clean up after it, but some cats like to use cardboard boxes as scratching posts.

Put a penny in an empty prescription bottle and let them use it as a toy. They'll bat it around (and possibly irritate you with it) for hours. This is better for cats than dogs because dogs are more likely to use their mouths; unless they once held huge 'horse pills', the bottles could pose a choking hazard.

A crumpled-up piece of paper can be a lot of fun for a cat or dog to slap around the room.

Cats and ferrets love playing with boxes, especially if they can dive in 'head-first'. Put the empty soda-can box on the floor, tap the back of it and watch them lunge to see where that noise is coming from. :)

If you have an old sandal or flip-flop shoe, your dog would probably enjoy using it as a chew toy. Ditto sneakers or flats.

Animals are like little children; they love new toys, but can lose interest in them rather quickly. With these 'homemade pet toys', you can make them all the toys they'll ever need without spending an extra dime. Have fun!

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