With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, many of us are thinking green. While green is associated with the celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, it is also associated with environmentally friendly practices.
As pet owners, there are many ways we can stay eco-friendly. We can use products that are safe for both our pets and the environment, and purchase products made of recycled materials.
We can also reuse things, making use of some common household items for our pets. For example, an old blanket can make a great pet bed, and a simple cardboard box provides hours of entertainment for a creative kitten.
Here are a few other ways you can make use of ordinary household items for your pets:
Sock and ball toy — Just remember not to use a sock that has already been worn, as you don’t want your canine companion to associate your socks with something to chew! If you want to recycle a sock that has lost its mate on one of those one-way trips through the dryer, consider soaking the sock in vinegar to ensure your scent is removed. Simply place an old tennis ball in the bottom of the sock, tie a knot, and you have a simple way to reuse a few household items for a simple and fun dog toy.
Rope and ball toy — You’ve probably seen these in the store. Ropes and balls make popular pet toys, and are a very simple do-it-yourself project. Simply cut or drill a hole through the centre of an old tennis ball, and place a rope through. Tie a knot on either side, and you have a great toy that costs pennies to make.
Tug ropes or knots — You can make some great tug toys by simply cutting strips from a kitchen towel or even an old pair of jeans, and braiding them into a rope. You can also cut these tougher fabrics into wider strips, and make a simple chew toy for your dog by tying it in one big knot. And for your feline friends, small knots and braids make great cat toys, too.
Crinkle toys — You can purchase expensive pet toys that are simply sleeves that are used for empty water bottles that your dog can chew and crinkle. However, there are a million different things that can be used as a sleeve for a water bottle — socks, oven mitts — or how about those old toys that have already been de-stuffed by your dog?
Feather and stick — For your feline friends, creating a toy that dangles from a stick is simple and easy to make. Tie a thick string to any kind of stick, such as an old wooden spoon or a ruler. Then tie a feather, furry fabric or even an old pom-pom to the other end of the string. Just be sure the item you use is not small enough for your pet to swallow, and that items are tied securely so they do not come loose.
Remember to always put your pet’s safety first, and take care to always supervise your pets when they are chewing or playing with toys — especially those aggressive chewers.
Remember to throw out small pieces, and to take away toys when they become broken or damaged.
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 14, 2013