Pets: 'Upcycling' has its benefits, even when it comes to pet-related goods and tools
Lorrie Shaw | Contributor
Sure, consuming less and making more careful choices in the products that we use each day help, but another aspect of going eco-friendly is smart and easy: recycling used goods and upcycling.
It's not a new concept by any means, but it's one that is proving to have a resurgence in our everyday lives. It helps to stretch those hard-earned dollars and help the environment.
Back when I was a child, I can recall being dragged to thrift shops and garage sales kicking and screaming.
These days, I make it a habit to check out what kind of deals I can snag at these area gems. There's a sense of things being more equitable when you're re-purposing items large or small; one person clears out stuff that he can't use any longer, while another gets what she needs — and in some cases, a nonprofit gains a benefit as well.
But did you know that the ideas of going green and upcycling are alive and well for many pet owners, too?
Using websites like Freecycle, endless garage sale listings and even swapping stuff with those that we know, it's easy to recycle usable pet-related items like dog crates, collars and leashes, baby gates, kitty carriers and other useful things.
I've even found nifty winter gear for dogs and stainless steel bowls at the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop. Woof!
One of the easiest and best ways to recycle gently used pet goods is to donate them to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. Contact the organization to inquire if what you have would be of use to them.
Create a custom dog bed
Use an old pillowcase (standard size for toy dogs and king for medium-sized breeds) and sew some Velcro tape or a row of snaps across the opening. Add stuffing that can consist of cushiony blankets or other recycled textiles and fasten closed. It's an easy-care option — simply toss in the washer, tumble dry and re-stuff. For our dogs, who are both large-breed, we've saved a few of the outer liners from dog beds that we've purchased over the years and used those.
Make a crinkle toy for your pet
Cats: Take an old baby sock, stuff it with some leftover cellophane (like the kind that is used for gift baskets) and catnip, and tie the end tightly. Cats love the sound and the smell. (You can also use little jingle bells instead of cellophane.)
Dogs: Use a discarded water bottle is ideal for making this toy. Simply stuff a men's cotton ankle sock with an empty, pint-size water bottle and tie the open end securely. If the bottle becomes damaged, just untie the sock and replace with another empty one.
Click here for more homemade pet toy ideas.
Create a stylish doody bag pouch
If you're at all crafty with a needle and thread, Amy Bethune has a clever project for you that can reuse some leftover fabric. As a pet sitter, I know that you never want to be caught without the all-too-necessary doody bags!
Make a functional, fashionable rain coat for your dog
Call me crazy, but I love doggie rain jackets and booties for venturing out on a rainy, muddy walks — it just makes coming indoors that much easier! HGTV has a great DIY project to sew it yourself using inexpensive tablecloth material.
Store your pet's food in attractive tin containers
Why pay catalog prices when you can upcycle large popcorn tins and create a secure, unique container of your own making? Momtastic has a DIY project using garage sale finds, wrapping paper and a few craft supplies that you might have around your home.
What ideas do you have for recycling, upcycling or re-purposing items when it comes to your pets? Share them below in the comments section.