11 Simple, Fun Ways to Make Pet Toys by Recycling Old Junk

Cat in cardboard box with round hole cut in it - 11 ways to make pet toys out of old junk

Pet toys can often be costly and an added expense that many pet owners don’t consider, especially if you happen to have a pet that can demolish a stuffed toy in seconds!

Fortunately, it’s easy to make cost-effective toys by repurposing items around your home. Not only is this a more budget-friendly way of keeping your pet entertained, but it also keeps abused pet toys, as well as some household items, out of the landfill. Win-win!

For a handful of ideas to help you get started with making this kind of toy, continue reading on below.

“Zombie” Toy

Create a new “zombie” toy out of old, torn-apart toys. Squeakers can be repurposed in homemade squeaker toys. Stuffing can be reused, and even torn-apart fabric may be salvageable for a rope toy!

Rope Toy

Cut up old socks, jeans, T-shirts, bedsheets or other fabric scraps and tie numerous knots throughout to make a “rope toy” for tug-of-war or fetch. For teething puppies, you can also soak fabric in water or bone broth and then freeze it for a cool teething treat, too. (Note: Denim is a particularly sturdy and durable fabric that’s excellent to use for hardy chewers.)

Old toilet paper roll with pet treat inside - 11 ways to make pet toys out of old junk
How to fold in the ends of the cardboard tube

Cardboard Tube Surprise

Cardboard tubes such as those from toilet paper rolls can be used to hide treats—simply put a treat inside and fold in the ends.

Puzzle Toy

Plastic containers of all kinds (water bottles, old peanut butter jars, yogurt containers and more) can be cleaned and used as puzzle toy treat dispensers. Poke some holes into the sides of each container that are large enough for treats to fall out, and Fido can roll the container around until he’s rewarded with a treat. He may need some guidance to understand how it works, but most pups pick this up in no time at all! This is a great activity for mental stimulation and makes a dog work for their meal.

(Bonus: My dog loves licking the residue out of an empty peanut butter jar or yogurt container. You can even toss a few bits of kibble in, to get coated in that yummy goodness, while they work away at it!)

Crinkle Toy

An old plastic water bottle can be deflated/flattened and put inside a long tube sock for those pets that enjoy “crinkle toys.” You can knot the sock at the top to keep the bottle securely inside.

“Flirt Pole”

Tie long fabric scraps to the end of a stick to make a “flirt pole” for your pet to chase.

Rabbit nibbling lettuce while in cardboard box fortress - 11 ways to make pet toys out of old junk
Rosie the rabbit munching on some lettuce from her fortress

Cardboard Box Fortress

Cardboard boxes are a great source of enrichment, particularly for cats and other small animals such as rabbits. You can also cut additional holes in the sides that are large enough for your animal to fit through—their own personal fortress! My bunny, in particular, enjoys being her own architect and doing some “bunstruction.”

Frozen Treats

Use an ice cube tray to make frozen “pupsicle” treats that will keep your pet occupied. You can use broth or wet food and place kibble or small high-value treats in the mix as well. If you have pet-safe foods that are about to go bad in the fridge, such as blueberries or carrots, those can be added, too

Tennis Ball Treat Holder

If you happen to have tennis balls around the house, these are fun toys in and of themselves, but they can also be altered to add some more mental stimulation to your pet’s routine. Simply make a few cuts large enough for your pet to be able to get a treat out, and slip some smelly treats inside for them to work on!

Rabbit playing with packing paper - 11 ways to make pet toys out of old junk
Rosie rabbit loves packing paper galore!

Packing Paper

Plain brown packing paper (such as that from Amazon deliveries) or tissue paper from gift bags are another great source of entertainment for cats and other small animals to dig through and crinkle.

Super Chewer

You can repurpose old rope by weaving it together for a super chewer, or you may want to cut a hole through a tennis ball and tie it onto a rope.

Please be mindful of appropriate supervision for the above activities, depending on your pet’s level of excitability or tenacity with toys. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these suggestions, and are able to turn some would-be trash into a treasure for your pet!

For a guide to another DIY project that involves repurposing, visit How To Use A Reclaimed Window To Build A New Cabinet»

image 1: Pexels

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