Dogs and cats are a lot like children. Buy them a new toy, and they’d rather play with the box. Keeping that in mind, there are some easy options in your home for entertaining your pet without spending a fortune… or anything at all, in some cases.
The first is tug toys. Most dogs like to play tug-o-war. They’ll tug with just about anything. The problem usually lies with whether or not that ‘thing’ will hold up to the tugging. Enter a retired pair of jeans. Rip three strips out of a old jeans leg, braid them tightly and knot on both ends. You now have a new tug-o-war toy for you dog. The length of time this new toy remains viable depends completely on how actively your dog plays with it.
A second option for a tug toy is an old sock. Tie a few knots in the sock, and it takes on a new life as a dog toy.
In the category of chew toys, my favorite thing is the cardboard tube at the center of toilet paper or paper towel rolls. My dog loves these. Clearly, these toys have no durability, but they are fun for the dog while they last. The downside is a little bit of human clean-up if, as mine is, the dog is a shredder, too.
I got this next idea from my sister. She gives new life to marrow bones she’s bought for her dogs by putting a shmear of peanut butter inside the bone a la Kong. Sometimes the dogs’ attention span is as long as the peanut butter lasts, but more often, the dogs are entertained for awhile by what was once an abandoned bone.
One last idea for cats. Whenever I open a new jug of milk, there is a bit of plastic in the form of a ring or a tab that needs to be removed to open the jug. I toss that to the ground, and my cat plays with it for a day or so then ignores it. Then, I pick it up and throw it away. Easy peasy. And my dog has no interest in a ‘toy’ this small, so no chance of her ingesting plastic.
Photo credit: Cindy Funk