How to Entertain Your Pets Using Common Household Items Having been the proud (and destitute!) owner of three dogs and three cats for approximately 10 years, I consider myself well versed in converting items around the house into pet toys! My first piece of advice is to ensure the items you choose for toys are made of safe, digestible material should your animals accidentally ingest part of them. Also, be sure there are no "loops" attached to the toy that your animals may get their heads into. This means, if you decide to recycle some of your children's small stuffed animals as "sweeties" for your Chihuahua, you need to be sure to first clip off all plastic buttons, belts and bows from the toy. Dogs especially like to rip off and devour those wiggly eyeballs so be sure to clip them too! I advise against converting any stuffed animal with a squeaker or voice box, no matter how excited it makes your pet, unless, of course, you can easily remove the device. Another example of a homemade pet toy is the good ole worn out shoe. There is nothing better to a Schnauzer than a pair of torn tennis shoes! Unfortunately, dogs like to chew on new ones as well as the old, so be sure to stay disciplined and keep your leather pumps in the closet! Now, for the cats: Kittens cannot resist feather dusters! Just try to dust your house when they are around! To avoid accidental scratches (on you, that is!) be sure to play "birdie" with a duster that has an extended arm. And, since cats usually end up with a few feathers in their mouths, don't use a soiled duster! By the way, my dogs like this toy too! Lastly, how many of us have tried to tie a curly bow on a gift in the presence of a curious cat? One of the most entertaining toys I have ever come across for my cats is curling ribbon! They will toss it in the air and wrestle with it for hours, whether you are playing on the other end or not! To avoid Miss Kitty from literally getting all tied up, be sure to monitor playtime and dispose of the ribbon after she is done playing with it. Bonus tip: How can you help your pets distinguish between an errant, off-limit shoe and a chew shoe? Place all dog and cat toys in one spot when not in use. A round sheepskin cuddle bed makes an excellent compact storage container and can house quite a few "sweeties", chew shoes, and feather dusters! Not only would this container serve a tidy purpose, it is also identifiable to your pets as being associated with them.