Playing with your dog or cat is fun, educational, healthy and a great way to bond with your pet. And it only gets better with home-made toys! Use old materials to create a sustainable alternative. Here are four ideas for sustainable dog and cat toys.
Snuffle mat for your dog or cat
Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, but this snuffle mat will make cats happy just the same. Challenge your pet by making a ‘discovery mat’ of fleece or another soft fabric. Got an old fleece rug that isn’t being used anymore? Cut the fabric into strips and sew them onto a surface. How many strips you make and how you arrange them, is up to you. Feel free to make the mat nice and messy to stimulate play. Create several layers for hiding the treats.
Toilet roll treat tap
If you are a pet owner, do not throw away your empty toilet rolls. They make for many hours of fun for your pet! A nice DIY project with an empty toilet roll: a treat tap for your dog or cat. Cut the toilet roll into four rings with a width of around 1 centimetre. Place the rings over each other to create a kind of box. Hide some kibble in the wall of the box by moving a strip sideways. Start with small treats. If those are too easy for your pet, try it with some larger ones.
Cups with balls, kibble or wads are sure bets when it comes to entertaining dogs and cats! For this game, use cups of bamboo or cardboard; they are lightweight and safe to use. Place the cups upside-down and hide a ball or other toy underneath one of the cups. Even a wad of old paper will do just fine. Move the cups back and forth and have your pet find the toy. Extra tip: hide something edible for guaranteed success.
Boxes and paper bags
Cardboard boxes and paper bags make for the ultimate sustainable toys. Cats in particular love curling up inside. Challenge your cat by moving your fingers across the outside of the bag or box. The slightest sound or shadow will challenge it to come out of its cardboard fort. Rest assured that dogs know how to enjoy a good box or paper bag just the same. Do make sure that your pet can exit the enclosure from two sides and can’t accidentally ‘lock’ itself in.
Even better: Turn a couple of boxes into a cat or dog palace.
Stick to materials that are safe for your dog or cat; no sharp or glass objects or things that are too small. In addition, minimise the use of your hands and feet during play, otherwise your pet may start seeing them as toys. The consequence? Playfully intended but painful bites and scratches. Click here for more tips on safe play with your dog or cat.
Play isn’t just fun. It is also very educational for your pet. For example, you can practice fetching with a dog as well as reduce any food aggression. In addition, play gives the animal additional exercise which helps maintain or achieve a healthy weight.
Sustainable toys with healthy treats
Hiding a treat is a great way of upping the challenge of a game for your dog or cat. Go for healthy treats or kibble to keep it responsible and fun. Check out our healthy treats for cats and healthy treats for dogs.
Want to know more about sustainability and how to keep your pet sustainable?