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Up-Cycling for Dogs

Updated on June 12, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

What is up-cycling?

The Oxford dictionary defines up-cycling as

Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original

The word dates back to the 1990s.

Up-cycling for dogs?

Obviously the title up-cycling for dogs is slightly misleading.

Dogs are not up-cycling but rather people are to make products suitable for dogs, products which are essentially free as opposed to costing too much

An old scarf was perfect for our little rescue dog after he felt the cold weather post grooming

Just the job
Just the job

You can’t buy love

Do you have a pet dog? If you have do you love it to bits?

Well we have a little rescue dog and yes we love him to bits and this means at times we have paid over the odds for unnecessary extras.

Well let’s get real.

Up-cycling can provide dog toys and beds

A dog does not care if you make their bed out of old clothes or an old cardboard box. The dog only cares that it is warm, comfortable and safe and that he or she is living in a happy environment.

Necessity is the mother of invention

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The face does not tell the story. That face is as he hates the cameraA few stitches and a scarf becomes a coat for Tinka
The face does not tell the story. That face is as he hates the camera
The face does not tell the story. That face is as he hates the camera
A few stitches and a scarf becomes a coat for Tinka
A few stitches and a scarf becomes a coat for Tinka

From scarf to coat with a few stitches

Our little rescue dog Tinka is complicated. He is the smallest dog we have ever re-homed and the most complex and problematic. He can also be one of the sweetest at times.

He came to his forever home, ours, almost six years ago after his owner died and he had been traumatized. Little Tonka as he was called back then was a known biter and we knew the risks.

But for Tinka it was us or the rainbow bridge.

Thankfully he has improved in leaps and bounds with some peaks and some troughs but if he is unwell or stressed he may still become snappy.

This means putting a dog coat on him is never easy.

A short back and sides then the weather turned cold

As I watched him shivering after a trip to the groomers I wondered how to warm him up.

An old micro-fleece scarf with just a few stitches along the back worked very well.

It is easy to slip this over Tink’s head, it is not restrictive for him to wear and best of all it cost nothing.

It was a scarf that had seen better days and was destined for trash.

Tinka looks so different at times which explains why he feels the cold after a haircut

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tinka in disguise?But sometimes if not well only an old throw will suffice
Tinka in disguise?
Tinka in disguise?
But sometimes if not well only an old throw will suffice
But sometimes if not well only an old throw will suffice

A sweater into a dog bed

One of the best up-cycling projects for dogs I have come across uses an unwanted sweater or jumper to create a dog bed.

You will need

  • A long sleeved sweatshirt, sweater or jumper. Use one that will not catch easily on a dog’s nails
  • Foam padding perhaps from an old pillow or cushions
  • Wool or thick cotton for stitching

A crew or slit neck sweater works really well.

Creating the dog bed

  1. Simply sew a straight line across the bust line of the garment under the sleeves. Pull the stitching to gather
  2. Stuff the body of the sweater with the padding. This will form the base of the bed
  3. Turn a small hem in at the bottom and over stitch to seal pulling the thread a little to shape the base
  4. Stuff the sleeves and top of the garment with the padding
  5. Sew the neck to seal
  6. Bend the top of the garment up and pull the sleeves up and around the body of the garment which is now the bed’s base
  7. Tighten the cuff of one sleeve and push inside the other
  8. Attach the sleeves circle to the base to form a doughnut type of dog bed like the one shown below

Make sure there are no loose ends and definitely no pins and or needles left behind.

Always try to use non-flammable materials, those that will wash easily and efficiently and are non-toxic for your pet.

A standard shop bought doughnut dog bed

This is the shape you are trying to recreate
This is the shape you are trying to recreate

But there are so many dog beds you can create by up-cycling

A favourite toy

One of Tinka’s favourite toys, and trust me he has many, is a long piece of nylon come cotton rope my husband tied into knots.

This so-called toy has been washed in my washing machine and has stood the test of time.

Now and then my husband re-ties and tightens the knots and it is quickly good to go again.

Make sure if you create such a toy that the material used is safe for your dog to chew.

You can also tie an old T-shirt or towel to create this type of toy.

Fun toy from old rope

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Tinka up-cycling by playing with an old curtain

All images (c) Eileen Kersey a.k.a Ethel Smith

© 2018 Ethel Smith

Comments

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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      21 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Audrey what a lovely comment. He has been hard work at times, most complex and smallest rescue we have had, but worth it. And most of the time such a playful sweetheart

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      21 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I would cross an ocean just to hold little Tinka in my arms. What a cutie he is. And what a great hub this is. Your articles are amazing and this one is unique, helpful and valuable for all dog owners.

      Love the scarf idea. Thanks, Eileen.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      21 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I think choc Labs are just so playful and youthful for so long they can be a bit chewy

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      21 months ago from UK

      I'm hoping that, as he gets a little older, the eating/chewing stage will pass with the chocolate labrador.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      21 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Ouch Liz. Our first dog was destructive as a you gster and he was a cross lab

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      21 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Great idea Alison. With Tinka we could probably not get that in to him lol Thanks

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      21 months ago from UK

      Some great ideas here! We up-cycled a charity-shop baby-grow for our little Jack Russell after her spay - it avoided the need for a 'cone' and only cost 50p!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      21 months ago from UK

      This article has some great ideas and is very topical. Unfortunately, our grandog (daughter's labrador) is very destructive. Socks have been eaten, dog beds, hats, and slippers have been destroyed.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      21 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Tinka is our sixth down the years, the smallest and most complex. But he is a looker

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      We have taken in many strays or abandoned animals through the years. Often they make the best pets. Your Tinka is certainly a cutie!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      21 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Peggy. He has his forever home now

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      So nice to know that you were able to give a good home to Tinka. I enjoyed all the photos especially that one at the top of the page. Good ideas you gave to make clothing, toys, etc. for our furry friends.

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