Maybe you’re doing some spring cleaning, or maybe you’ve got a kid at home that has outgrown some of their toys and it’s time to get rid of old junk. It’s great to clear out the clutter, but before you throw everything away, consider that you can reuse and recycle your kids’ old toys by using them as new, fun dog toys. There are plenty of children’s toys that can be enjoyed by pups, and you won’t have to spend a fortune on new items for your pooch. Here are 11 old kids’ toys that you can use as toys for your dog.
1. Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals can get chewed up pretty quickly, so instead of buying more, you can use some of your kids’ unwanted stuffed animals as playthings for your pup. Just make sure they aren’t falling apart too bad, and remove any buttons or plastic parts that can come loose. Always supervise your dog when they are playing with stuffed animals and put them away when they aren’t in use.
This is a great way to reuse stuffed animals, as many donation facilities don’t take them out of fear of bed bugs, lice, or other pests and germs. If you know that your stuffed animals are fairly clean, your dog will be happy to take them off your hands instead of you having to throw them in the garbage.
2. Deflated Footballs, Soccer Balls, Or Basketballs
For dogs that have strong jaws and chew through toys too quickly, deflated footballs and basketballs can make tough, durable toys that your dog can use for fetch or just as comfort items to chew on. Again, supervision is key, and if there are any bits of the ball that are falling off or coming loose, it’s best not to take chances with choking hazards. Put them away when they aren’t in use.
3. Used Frisbees, Baseballs, And Tennis Balls
Throw-able toys are fun for playing fetch, and even if they are too worn out for kids to play with, dogs will still love chasing them down. In fact, shelters are often looking for donations of old tennis balls and other items for their dogs to play with. As you can imagine, they go through toys pretty fast, so even if your dog isn’t up for a game of fetch, you can still donate old toys to a good cause.
Tunnels are fun for kids at crawling age and a little older, but eventually youngsters get too big to enjoy them. Many dogs, however, will love going through tunnels, and you can incorporate them into a fun little obstacle course that will give your dog a physically and mentally stimulating challenge. Some dog breeds particularly enjoy tunneling, like Dachshunds, and will especially get a kick out of tunnels.
5. Kiddie Pools And Sandboxes
Eventually kids get too big to play in the kiddie pool or the sandbox, but these toys can get some new life when dogs have a chance to play with them. If you don’t live near water or have a full pool, these are easy to move around and fill whenever you want, and they give dogs a nice place to cool off on a hot day. You can even use them indoors as a place to store a dog bed. As always, make sure there are no parts that are falling off.
6. Sprinkler Toys
Dogs never seem to outgrow the joy of running through the sprinkler. There are several sprinkler toys that are designed just for dogs, but if you already have some sprinkler toys that your kids don’t use any more, you don’t need to spend the extra cash. Use these on a hot summer day to give your dog a chance to stay cool.
7. Hula Hoops
Hula hoops are always going in and out of fashion, but they can always be used as fun toys and training tools for dogs. One of my dogs was an excellent jumper, and we decided to put that to use by training him to jump through a hoop. He had a blast, and it gave him a physical and mental workout that helped him burn off energy.
If your kid has a little red wagon–or a wagon of any other color–don’t throw it away. There are so many uses for wagons that you might not even think of, but one great way to use them is as a chariot for dogs that can’t walk very far but still want to enjoy the outdoors. This is especially nice for senior dogs who have trouble walking. Just load the wagon up with some comfy cushions and pillows and take your pooch out for a stroll.
9. Paddles Or Scoops
Paddles and scoops can make it easy to throw balls even farther than you can on your own, and with much less effort. If your arm gets tired easily or you just can’t keep up with your energetic pup, use these toys to play a long-throw game of fetch and wear your dog out. These are great for people who have large, open spaces to play with their dogs.
10. Playhouses And Castles
At some point your kids aren’t going to fit in their playhouses any more, but rather than get rid of them, you can use them as nice little pads for your dog as a sort of home away from home. Think of them as a dog house with more space. Your dog can take a break and get some shade while still being able to spend time outdoors. This is a fun idea for dogs that can’t stand being cooped up inside when the whether is nice, but still want a place to relax and feel safe.
11. Pool Noodles
Pool noodles have tons of uses, so don’t be so quick to throw them out. You can find a bunch of tutorials online on how to use pool noodles to make dog beds, devices to help disabled dogs, items to help with bathing dogs, and more. One of the uses I’ve found, however, is to just use them as flotation devices like they were intended to be. This can help dogs get used to being in the water and learn to trust you while you swim with them. I found noodles helped my older, arthritic dog stay afloat and get a little bit of hyrdotherapy without having to worry about getting too tired. They let dogs experience the water, but unlike rafts, they allow for dogs to continue using their legs, which gives them more freedom and exercise. Just remember not to let your dog chew on pool noodles, as they can come apart fairly easily without supervision.
What other old kids’ toys do you think dogs would enjoy? Have you recycled any old toys to be used by your dog? Let us know in the comments below!