Save a Few Bucks on Fido with These DIY Pet Toys

by Amanda Finn

You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to keep your furry little friend occupied for hours and hours at a time.

Having a pet is expensive. They’re well worth the cost of companionship, but ensuring that they have a long and happy life can be a financial burden at times. That doesn’t mean keeping them entertained has to be!

You can buy all kinds of expensive gadgets and knick-knacks for your furry friend at a variety of pet stores or online and, depending on the brand, you could be paying a lot for something your Fido will destroy faster than you can get it home. When it comes to toys, their destruction is largely inevitable.

And if your critter isn’t a destroyer of toys they could very well just get bored with them.

There are plenty of ways to DIY your own pet toys to save your pocketbook from the fate of that stuffed tiger. These DIYs are easy, functional and (in many cases) using things you already have in the house so these projects also become recycling!


Rabbit chews.

Although less common, rabbits actually take up the third largest adoption spot for shelters in the U.S. and their DIY toys are by far the easiest. They are interactive and take less than a minute.

When you’re finished with a toilet paper or paper towel tube, so long as it isn’t covered in glue, save it before it goes to the trash bin. Cram some of your bunny’s timothy hay in the tube and voila! You have yourself a fun chew tube for your bunny. They’ll have a lot of fun pulling the hay out of the tube and shredding the tube.

Don’t worry, the cardboard is okay for them as long as you’ve made sure it’s not glue covered. Bunnies love to shred things so you can also give them some old phone books, takeaway drink trays from places like Starbucks and as many chew tubes as their little heart desires.

Doggie chew time.

Have any old t-shirts that are in too rough of shape to make it to the thrift store? Cut them into strips and make a chewable rope toy for your favorite dog friend! Bark Post (of Bark Box fame) gives a great step by step of how to do this.

You can even put a tennis ball on the rope to make a tug toy!

The same principle applies to old towels and dishrags too. You can make a rope or just tie one big ball knot. Either way, you’re recycling your old stuff and your dog is none the wiser—just happy to have a new toy to play with.

(Do be careful with toys made from anything resembling a blanket though, it might encourage your dog to chew on blankets.)

Jeans, although harder to cut, can also be tied into easy to make toys for Fido. Just be sure not to use any bedazzled pockets or your best pal might have some tummy troubles. The Instructables has a DIY for this particular project. CreativityUnmasked offers a different method for tying jeans, but this one is for tying them into a larger “fist” and not so much a rope or ball.

Cat chase.

If you need to finally rescue your hoard of hair ties from your feline friend, there are plenty of alternatives you can catch their eye with without going shopping for supplies. You already know all it takes is a stray bottle cap to keep your kitty happy for hours, but why not give them something a little more interesting?

Find a spare empty toilet paper roll and make an easy Sunshine Wheel for your cat to chase around. The Penny Hoarder says all it takes is cutting small, half-inch tabs all along each end of the roll. Then fold the tabs outwards to reflect the “sunshine” appearance.

Another way to use a spare cardboard tube is to make a treat toy!

The Penny Hoarder suggests taking some of your cat’s (or dog or bunny, this is an interspecies toy) favorite treats for this toy:

“Pinch one end of the roll together and fold it down in the middle. It should look like a pair of cat ears. Next, place several treats inside the roll and fold the other end into a triangle or v-shape. The ends won’t close super tight, so your cat will have loads of fun trying to swat the treats out.”

This same treat toy tactics can be applied with an old pair of gloves. Place a treat in one or more fingers and wait for your furry friend to wriggle the treat out of the gloves.

Treat your pals.

For pets, treat time is often the best time. But when it comes to helping their days go by while keeping them occupied, treats can also be your best friend.

The easiest DIY one can suggest to a dog owner is one found all over the internet and Puppy Leaks, which is to take an old tennis ball, cut a hole in it, and put some treats inside. Your dog will have a ball trying to get the treats out and a sweet victory snack one they do.

You can even make your own treat puzzle right at home with some spare tennis or crinkle balls and a muffin pan (mini muffin pan for cats). Hide a treat or two in various places in the muffin pan and place a tennis ball over where it is and wait for your dog or cat to figure it out and paw or nose the obstacle away. Even bunnies have a blast with this kind of puzzle, you may just need to use cat bell balls for them since rabbits are generally smaller.

Save today, win tomorrow.

The more money you can sock away for a rainy day, the less likely you’ll be to have to rely on no credit check loans and short-term bad credit loans—like payday loans, cash advances, and title loans—to cover an unexpected financial shortfall. To learn more about ways that you save money on everyday expenses, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:

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