Things I Upcycle Into Dog Toys

Things I Upcycle Into Dog Toys

I always joke that my dog is in charge of the recyclables in my home. This started with my previous dog. She loved to wake up every morning and walk over to the recycling bin to see what fun stuff might be in there for her to chew up. So, I started paying close attention to what I put in there. And over the years, I’ve learned to recycle/upcycle all kinds of different things into dog toys. Sometimes they don’t last long, but at least they get that second life. Plus, it saves some money on store-bought dog toys.

Here are some of the things I’ve recently recycled into dog toys:

A Friend’s Hose

My dog’s favorite new exciting thing is a 100 foot hose that a friend couldn’t use anymore. The hose had busted in too many places, so it was leaking all over the place and wasn’t useful as a hose. However, it seemed like such a shame to send it to the trash when Bumi loved it so much. So, she brought it to me to recycle for her.

Eventually, I’m planning to actually cut it up and upcycle it into cute dog toys. I’m pretty sure I can create strips of the material to crochet or macrame into toys. At the very least, I can knot it up in smaller sections to create a variety of different toys.

For now, though, this hose is in a box in the living room. And every day, pup lugs it out of the box. He drags it around the house. He tires himself out playing with that hose. Then, at the end of the night, I put it back in the box for the next day’s adventures.


This was my last pup’s very favorite and current pup loves it, too. Pretty much any cardboard in the house is fair game as use for a toy. I leave big boxes around the house for him to knock over, jump into, and tear up. I fill toilet paper tubes and empty contacts boxes with little treats and let him open them up. Cardboard milk and food containers go into the recycle bin. Sometimes he checks the bin out and takes those out to tear up. He loves to make a mess with them, then the pieces go back into the bin.

Magazines And Other Paper

Cardboard isn’t the only paper product he enjoys “recycling” for me. He likes all kinds of paper. Usually he doesn’t get magazines. I either use them for art-making or I leave them in a Little Free Library for someone else to enjoy. After all, if an item can be better recycled by humans than the dog, it makes sense to do that. However, every now and then I’ll let him have an old magazine, and he takes such joy in tearing it up. Then we recycle the paper.

Other Items Pup “Recycles”

Here are some of the other things that I let pup play with before they go to landfill:

  • Old shoes that are too torn up to donate anywhere. I didn’t do this at first because as a puppy he always tore up my shoes, but now he knows the difference between the ones he’s allowed to have and the ones he’s not.
  • Similarly, old fabric or rags that can’t be useful to humans anymore. He mostly likes to make beds of these and snuggle up.
  • Plastic bottles and other plastic containers. Usually these are in the recycle bin alongside the cardboard and paper and he takes them if he wants them. Sometimes I put treats inside and close them up to give him some extra enrichment.

Important note: My pup is particularly good about chewing things up but not swallowing them. These things aren’t safe for every dog! But they work for us, providing frugal entertainment for hours.

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