Upcycled and DIY Toys

Upcycled Pet Treat Dispensers

Grant Emerson

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What Are Upcycled Pet Treat Dispensers?

Upcycled pet treat dispensers are creative and sustainable solutions that convert everyday household items into functional and engaging treat dispensers for pets. These dispensers not only provide mental and physical stimulation for your furry friends but also contribute to reducing waste by reusing items that might have otherwise ended up in the trash. The idea behind upcycling is to repurpose items in such a way that they serve a new and often higher purpose.

Why Should You Consider Upcycling for Pet Treat Dispensers?

Environmental Benefits

Making use of materials that are already in your home reduces the need to buy new items, which, in turn, minimizes resource consumption and waste. This effort contributes to a more eco-friendly lifestyle and helps reduce your carbon footprint.


Creating an upcycled pet treat dispenser can be a cost-effective solution as it eliminates the need to purchase a new device. Many household items can be repurposed with little to no extra cost.

Customization and Creativity

When you upcycle, you can customize the treat dispenser to suit your pet’s specific needs and preferences. This project also allows you to be creative and innovative, utilizing items that might otherwise be considered waste.

Bonding and Enrichment

Constructing a treat dispenser can be a fun and engaging activity that strengthens the bond between you and your pet. It also offers your pet mental and physical stimulation, which are important for their overall well-being.

Materials You Can Use for Upcycled Pet Treat Dispensers

You might be surprised by how many common household items can be repurposed into treat dispensers. Here are a few examples:

  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Cardboard tubes and boxes
  • Old T-shirts and fabrics
  • Wood scraps
  • Empty paper towel rolls
  • Mason jars
  • Tennis balls

Steps to Create an Upcycled Pet Treat Dispenser

Plastic Bottle Treat Dispenser

This is one of the simplest and most effective treat dispensers you can make.

  • Step 1: Take a clean, empty plastic bottle, preferably one with a screw-top lid.
  • Step 2: Cut small holes around the bottle. Make sure the holes are large enough for the treats to fall out but not so large that all the treats come out at once.
  • Step 3: Fill the bottle with your pet’s favorite treats.
  • Step 4: Screw the lid back on and give it to your pet. As they play with the bottle, treats will fall out, rewarding them for their effort.

Cardboard Box Puzzle

A cardboard box can also be transformed into an engaging treat dispenser.

  • Step 1: Take a small to medium-sized cardboard box and ensure it is clean and free from staples or tape.
  • Step 2: Cut several holes of varying sizes on the sides and top of the box.
  • Step 3: Place the treats inside the box and close it up.
  • Step 4: Let your pet figure out how to get the treats out through the holes. This will engage their curiosity and problem-solving skills.

Mason Jar Treat Tumbler

A Mason jar can be a sturdy and transparent treat dispenser.

  • Step 1: Take a clean, empty Mason jar with a lid.
  • Step 2: Drill or cut a small hole in the metal lid. The hole should be large enough for treats to pass through.
  • Step 3: Fill the jar with treats and screw the lid back on.
  • Step 4: Roll the jar on the floor to show your pet how treats come out. Your pet will quickly figure out how to knock it around to get the goodies.

Old T-Shirt Treat Braid

Upcycling old clothes is another creative way to craft a treat dispenser.

  • Step 1: Cut an old T-shirt into long strips.
  • Step 2: Start braiding the strips together, but leave gaps where you can insert small treats.
  • Step 3: Once the braid is complete, tie it off at the end.
  • Step 4: Give the braid to your pet. They will enjoy trying to get the treats out while chewing on the fabric.

Tennis Ball Treat Dispenser

A tennis ball can be transformed into a fun and engaging treat dispenser.

  • Step 1: Take a clean tennis ball and cut a small slit on one side.
  • Step 2: Ensure the cut is large enough for treats to fit through but not so large that they all fall out at once.
  • Step 3: Fill the tennis ball with treats and give it to your pet. They will need to squeeze the ball to release the treats.

Safety Considerations

While upcycling is a great way to create something new from something old, it’s important to ensure the safety of your pets.

  • Make sure all edges are smooth and free from sharp points.
  • Avoid using materials that can be easily chewed up and swallowed.
  • Ensure any small parts are securely attached so your pet cannot accidentally ingest them.
  • Supervise your pet while they are using the dispenser, especially when you introduce it for the first time.
  • If you notice any damage to the dispenser, replace it immediately to prevent accidents.

Benefits of Upcycled Pet Treat Dispensers

Mental Stimulation

Using treat dispensers challenges your pet mentally by encouraging them to figure out how to get to the treats. This mental exercise is beneficial for keeping their minds sharp and reducing boredom.

Physical Exercise

As your pet works to get the treats out, they will engage in physical activity. This can be especially beneficial for pets that need extra exercise.

Behavioral Improvement

Keeping your pet engaged with a treat dispenser can help reduce undesirable behaviors such as chewing on furniture or excessive barking. It provides an outlet for their energy and curiosity.

Emotional Well-being

Giving your pet a task that rewards them with treats can be very gratifying for them. It can increase their happiness and contribute to a positive emotional state.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what size holes to cut?

The size of the holes will depend on the size of the treats and the skill level of your pet. If you’re unsure, start with smaller holes and make them larger if the treats do not come out easily enough.

What types of treats work best?

Dry and crunchy treats are generally the best because they don’t create a mess and are easy to insert into the dispensers. You can also use small pieces of kibble if your pet is on a special diet.

Can upcycled treat dispensers be used for both dogs and cats?

Yes, you can design upcycled treat dispensers for both dogs and cats. Just be sure to take into consideration the size and capabilities of your pet when creating the dispenser.

How often should I replace the dispenser?

Monitor the condition of the dispenser regularly. Replace it if you notice any damage or wear and tear that could be unsafe for your pet.

What are some signs that my pet enjoys the dispenser?

Your pet will likely show excitement when you bring out the dispenser. They may also spend quite a bit of time interacting with it and might even look for it when it’s not around.

Finishing Thoughts

Upcycled pet treat dispensers offer a wonderful way to combine creativity, sustainability, and pet care into one rewarding activity. They are not only beneficial for the environment but also provide mental and physical benefits for your pets. By taking the time to create these engaging dispensers, you can provide an enriching experience for your furry friends while contributing to a greener planet. So, gather up some household items and get ready to see the joy and excitement in your pet’s eyes as they explore their new treat dispenser.

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