Your pet’s homelife can get dull, but playing with enrichment toys can add excitement to their daily routine. Before you click add to cart for a costly new toy, consider crafting do-it-yourself (DIY) enrichment toys for your pet. Get crafty and make your furry pal extra happy by following our MountainView Veterinary Hospital team’s DIY pet toy do’s and don’ts. 

DO look for do-it-yourself pet enrichment toy ideas and inspiration 

The internet is filled with creative and fun DIY pet enrichment toy ideas. Check out pet blogs, Pinterest boards, and other social media platforms for inspiration and instructions that match your crafting comfort level and material availability. Avoid limiting yourself to species-specific toys. Often, a toy designed for a dog can be modified to amuse a cat or vice versa. The key is to keep an open mind and let the wealth of available resources inspire you.

DON’T buy new materials to create a do-it-yourself pet toy 

Part of a DIY project’s appeal is their sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Rather than heading to the craft store or buying supplies online, look around your home for materials you can repurpose such as an old T-shirt, a cardboard box, and a tennis ball past its prime. You can transform these items into an enriching pet toy. By reusing these materials, you’re not only saving money but also reducing waste.

DO consider your pet’s play preferences

Each pet has their unique likes, dislikes, and play styles. Some dogs enjoy a rousing game of fetch, while others prefer a wrestling match with a sturdy tug toy. Similarly, one cat may enjoy a game of paw-and-pounce with a stuffed mouse, while another might relish a high-speed chase after a feathered wand toy. Consider your pet’s preferred way of playing, and design a DIY toy to suit them. By tailoring the design to your furry pal’s interests, you help ensure your homemade toy is a big hit.

DON’T use materials that can harm your pet

Prioritize your pet’s safety when selecting materials for a DIY project, and ensure you construct a toy from pet-friendly materials. Avoid using small or sharp objects that could fall off, posing a choking hazard to your furry pal. In addition, steer clear of potential pet-toxic supplies such as paints, glues, or treated woods.  If you’re not sure about a material’s safety, consult with your veterinarian before incorporating it into your four-legged friend’s toy. 

DO get creative with your do-it-yourself pet enrichment toy

Crafting a DIY pet toy is an opportunity to make something unique and personal for your pet while letting your creative juices flow. From a simple tug toy made out of an old T-shirt to a complex interactive feeder crafted from everyday household items, the possibilities are endless. A lonely single sock can be filled with catnip and tied at the end to make a swatting toy for your feline friend. An old shoebox can be transformed into a foraging game for your dog by cutting holes in it and hiding treats inside. These homemade toys offer pets enriching activities. Remember, your goal is not to create a perfect product. Your goal is to lovingly craft an enrichment toy your pet will enjoy. 

DON’T let your pet play unsupervised with any toy

While a homemade toy is more heartfelt than a store-bought product, a DIY toy may not be as durable as a commercial pet toy. However, you should never allow your pet to play unsupervised with any toy, and always closely monitor their play sessions to ensure a toy is holding up and that your furry pal doesn’t break off a small piece they might swallow. Regularly inspect toys for wear and tear, and replace or repair them immediately to ensure they remain safe for your furry pal to use.

DO have fun with your pet and their homemade toy

A toy’s ultimate goal is to entertain your pet and to provide you both with a bonding opportunity. Engaging in playtime with your pet and their DIY toy can strengthen your relationship, build trust, and create fun memories. Watching your pet explore, engage with, and enjoy something you made just for them can be an incredibly rewarding experience. So, take the time to play with your four-legged friend, enjoy the fruits of your labor, and revel in the happiness of knowing that a toy you created especially for them gives your pet joy. 

Enrichment is essential to your pet’s health and happiness. If you have questions about their mental or physical wellbeing or need to schedule your pet’s next wellness exam, contact our MountainView Veterinary Hospital team.