Upcycling For Pet Parents


This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue

Pets are an important part of every family. Whether you own a dog, a cat, or a non-traditional pet, you love them as much as your children. These fur babies bring joy to our life, even if it’s for a short time.

Although pets aren’t as expensive as human children, they can still become giant money vacuums. Vet bills get expensive, food can be pricey, and all those toys you buy them can instantly be shredded up. Plus, sometimes they can lead to wasteful habits. Maybe your dog instantly chews up their toys, or maybe having a cat requires you to have a million and one plastic bags. How can we be more conscious about recycling for our pets and save money in the process?

Luckily, there are a lot of upcycling options for pet owners once you get creative. Here are some tips and tricks to helping your pet-friendly house be a little more earth-friendly too.

Play Time

When you first adopt your new pet, there are some essential items you need to get: food, bowls, and TOYS! Toys are vital for keeping your pets engaged, happy, and healthy. They provide your little predators with a chance to flex their hunting instincts, as well as have some wonderful bonding time with you.

Luckily, there are a plethora of options to upcycle some of your household waste into new toys for your pet. You can use cardboard, old sheets, plastic bottles, and so much more, plus it will help you save money on purchasing new items for your pets every time they destroy them.

Clothing is also a common household item that contributes to massive amounts of waste every year. Instead of throwing out old t-shirts, you can cut them up and put them together with a tennis ball to make a rope toy for your dog. For your cat, you can take your old t-shirt and make a cat tent with cardboard, wire hangers, and your shirt. Here’s a DIY video and a photo to show the final product.

If the rope toy or the cat tent is destroyed, you can recycle the clothing with your local recycling plant. Alternatively, you could save the scraps and stuff them into a new pet bed for your fuzzy companion. They’ll appreciate the familiar smells, and you’ll be able to appreciate the lack of waste!

Home Safety

Many of the upcycling options for your pets that you can find online are related to toys, but there are many other options for creating spaces around your home for your furry friend. For one, you could make shelfs and catwalks for your kitty, or could make toddler fences out of pallets to keep your dogs out of the kitchen.

Being a pet owner also means you have to be more mindful about what is in your home. Especially if you live in an apartment (where space is limited and balcony railing can be insufficient for your pet) you will want to keep safety in mind to help ensure your animal companion is safe in their own home. Find ways to elevate dangerous plants off the floor (or hide them away from your kitty) and reinforce any areas that might be harmful for the pet.

Also, ensure that your dog friend is getting plenty of exercise and time outside. The less space you have at home, the more pent-up energy they’re going to have. If left untreated, this can lead to destructive behavior, separation anxiety, and other health issues. Luckily, upcycling can also help with this. Use all those saved-up plastic bags to make a dog leash, or use old rope to make the perfect lead.

Cats also need exercise and playtime, but most cats should not be let outside. However, to help them get the exercise they need inside, you can make them cat-walks or castles to encourage them to explore their space from a new vantage point. Make scratching posts out of old carpet swatches and rope, and give them a safe indoor garden experience with cat grass and other natural (safe) herbs.


Car transportation is another safety concern to consider with your pets, and upcycling can be useful here as well. If you’re moving with your pet, there are some safety measure you will need to consider. Does your dog or cat have identification tags and a microchip? Do you have an extra leash and collar for them, as well as a crash-safe tested pet carrier? If you’re traveling long distances, do they have access to food, water, and a place to go to the bathroom?

Outside of traveling long distances, you can also use upcycling to create seat covers or dog “hammocks” for your car out of old sheets or drapes. This can help your fuzzy friend stay safe in case you have to pump the brakes suddenly, or your dog constantly tries to climb into the front seat.

Being a pet owner is a joy that millions of people in America can share. Our pets think we are the world, and they would do anything to make us happy. Sure, sometimes they can act out, but we love them no less because of it. It may seem expensive and wasteful to be a pet owner, sometimes, but luckily we can do our part to make both our pet’s lives and the world a little healthier.

Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.