Ask Nancy: Ping Pong Balls in the Bathtub???
While you and I might see a tub as a place for a shower or a bath, or as something that needs scrubbing, for the kittens the tub is their very own ‘half pipe’ where the ping pong balls roll up the sides and back down and all over, making marvelous noises and unpredictable turns, while never ‘escaping’ beyond landing in the drain hole. Well, every once in a while a strong hit sends one flying over the side of the tub but normally there is a human who handles the ‘offsides’ when they occur.
One can go out and buy all sorts of toys for pets but often the home made ones are just as amusing for the pet and much easier on our budgets. While I don’t make ping pong balls at home of course, they are pretty inexpensive at the Dollar type stores. The addition of placing them in the bathtub, or maybe a big box can make them hours of fun. Everyone of course knows that ping pong balls when left loose in the house tend to come to rest under low cabinets, furniture no cat can get under, or under the foot of some human who is not paying attention so I find the container idea works well. (Note: Do be careful if you also own dogs that are large enough to get a ping pong ball caught in their throat – keeping the cat toys away from larger dogs is usually the best choice.)
Other fun toys can be made from things you normally find in the home. For kittens a Q-tip with a paper stick center (the plastic ones are not so safe to use), a drinking straw, the rings off the neck of water or milk bottles where you take off the plastic cap, the old standard a toilet paper roll tube, sliced up paper towel tubes, or the cap to any smaller type container all can work as great toys. Plastic or paper bags also provide lots of amusement, as do hair scrunchies, ribbon and string. (Be careful that nothing gets swallowed.)
For dogs there are lots of entertaining things found at home too. A short length of natural fiber rope tying plastic milk jugs or juice bottles together can make a fun pull and chew toy. Scattering a few doggie treats inside the containers to rattle can add to the fun.
Pups can enjoy big boxes or even paper bags depending on their size. I’ve even snagged a packing crate from work, cut a couple of holes in the side for ‘doors’ and let pups play with that. I used the lid as a ramp to the top of the box. Of course you do have to check for protruding nails or splinters to make sure the box is safe.
Strips from old t-shirts or bathrobes or even sheets can be braided together to make toys for tug and fetch games. But you have to be sure your dog will not be mistaking your clothing as more of the same sort of toy so this isn’t a good idea if clothing is commonly left around your house within dog reach.
An oatmeal box, or a plastic peanut butter jar can make a good roll, rattle and shake toy with a few grains of kibble inside of it.
Of course for most dogs an appropriate sized bone provides lots of entertainment too.
With the addition of a length of stick and some string the old ‘boring’ soft toys that perhaps are now missing their squeaker can become a new chase interactive toy to play with. Many dogs enjoy chasing ‘prey’ that you move around with the ‘fishing rod’ much like cats and kittens do.
You can also stuff a toy the dog finds boring down into his kibble to make the toy smell much more enticing. A dog who might have little interest in the new tennis ball, for example, may find it lots more fun to chase and grab when it smells like food.
On a hot day ice cubes can be fun for a dog or pup. Some dogs are happy to play with plain bits of ice and others become more enthusiastic if the ice is flavored with a baby food meat or a spoonful of dog food dissolved in the solution before freezing. Just be careful not to add those to your own drinks!
Got any great ideas for home made pet toys? Tell us in the comments!