Next time you’re about to toss an old T-shirt or socks out—don’t.
Or at least, stop and think if they may be useful for your pets. You can recycle your used items by finding a new life for them as toys, bedding, or another pet care device.
Here are a few ideas on how your pet can benefit from recycling:
T-shirts for Itchy Dogs
Having an itchy dog is a frustration for many pet owners—and one not always easily resolved. At the same time, pet guardians must protect a dog from inflicting damage on himself as much as possible when he is particularly itchy. For that, an old T-shirt can be used to help buffer your pet’s skin from his own mouth—especially when you’re not able to watch him (like overnight). Use a T-shirt that is long enough to cover most of your dog’s body, but not so long that he easily trips on it. And make sure the T-shirt isn’t tight around any areas—stretch it out if necessary.
Children’s Socks for Paw Wounds
Whether from itching or just roughhousing, dogs sometimes get wounds on their paws. It can be a challenge keeping your dog from licking his paw while the wound heals. To that end, you can try taking one of your child’s socks and placing it over your dog’s paw after it has been properly treated. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight.
Socks as Cat Toys
Anyone who regularly hikes or runs knows how quickly socks can wear down. But next time you start seeing small holes forming, don’t throw the socks out. Instead, turn them into some easy cat toys. Take one of the socks and roll it up inside the other. Also, sprinkle some organic catnip in there before tying the open end of the outer sock into a knot. Give it to your cat or throw it for him to chase.
Toilet Paper Roll Toys
Cat owners know how easily a feline can be entertained—for a time—with the right kind of toy. It can be as simple as a rolled up piece of paper destined for the garbage that didn’t make it into the bin. But after 20 minutes of intense play, that “toy” may easily be forgotten—which is why it is a good idea to have a variety of options. One common household item that lends itself well to this is the toilet paper roll. There are several toys you can make out of these rolls, including balls. It can also be as simple as just giving your cat the roll that he can unwind. When you make the toys, avoid using anything on the rolls that would make them unsafe or toxic, including staples.
Pillow as Dog Bed
Stuffable dog beds are a great way to keep your dog’s bed fresh and clean without waste. Though you can use everything from clothes to towels to stuff them, some more particular dogs may prefer the feel of pillows. So next time you have an old pillow you’re about to retire, save it for your pet’s bed.
Old Sweater as Cat Bed
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can turn an old sweater into a cute little cat bed. If you’re not, you can still take that sweater and put it on a hard surface or on top of his cat condo for your kitty to knead and snuggle into.
Our pets don’t always need the newest, store-bought toys, bedding, and clothes. In fact, he or she will appreciate something old and worn of ours because it will smell just like us.
Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.