With their bright, wide-eyed innocence and willingness to deliver their special brand of slobbery affection for no particular reason, it’s easy to understand why wet nosed, winged and scaled companions of all species, sizes and breeds tend to effortlessly wrap their little paws and claws around our hearts. For many of us, our first real exposure to one of life’s greatest lessons – unconditional love – can be experienced simply by sharing our lives with these silent yet eternally doting and ever-comforting creatures.
For all of the enriching, soul-fortifying gifts that they bestow on us, of course we want topamperour animal family members like we might our own children – and you’d think thatbuyingthem a whopping assortment of cute little accoutrements to make their lives as comfortable as possible would be a good way to do it. It turns out that store-purchased accessories aren’t the greatest choice for theirhealth. In fact,conventionally manufactured pet suppliessuch as toys, beds,collarsand even food bowls are often laden with carcinogenic chemicals such as arsenic, PVC, lead, mercury, many of which can lead to significant and even fatal health problems down the road.
The outlook isn’t all doom and gloom though, especially if you have a flair for the crafty, DIY side of life. Using recycled materials, the majority of which can be harvested from the neglected corners of our closets or scored for a song off of Freecycle, Craigslist or random neighbors’ curbs on garbage collection day, you can ensure that the sweet-faced, tender hearted pets in your life are treated to one-of-a-kind gear with no silently toxic consequences.
Feeling crafty? Your animal companion would probably love a...
Recycled Woolen Sweater Bed: Those circular pet beds that the major retailers sell for a tidy little budget-friendly sum may be tempting, but have you ever wondered why they stink to high heaven? That off-gassing is the result of stain-proofing and fire retarding chemicals, neither of which any animal or human should inhale or sleep directly on. This homemade stuffed pet bed, crafted out of a cozy old wool sweater, will hug your love bug with just the right dose of snuggly DIY style (and it won’t take much of a bite out of your busy schedule, either).
Pillowcase Hammock: Nine out of ten ferrets will agree that of all the goodies cluttering their cozy abodes, this neat little accessory rocks their world... but guess what? Kittens and assorted rodents also coo with delight when given the opportunity to chill out in a body-cradling hammock.
Recycled Suitcase Pet Bed: Ever heard the phrase when the cat’s away, the mice will play? It doesn’t really matter what type of creature you dote over, the moment you leave the house for work every morning, they’re probably going to make themselvesriiiiight at home into your bed. Reduce the apparently irresistible temptation by making them their very own slumber-inducing upcycled suitcase throne, fit for any creature that aspires to be a member of the royal family.
Recycled Shirt Collar ‘Pet Collar’: Love all that sparkly bling that helps to dress up your wet-nosed buddy’s neck justso? Sorry for the buzz kill, but the trinkets, fake rhinestones and glittery pizzazz are probably made with the help of copious amounts of lead, which means that when you touch your pet’s neck or steady its collar to attach a leash to it, you’re absorbing the toxic chemical through your fingertips, too. A surprising yet adorably chic alternative can be crafted out of an old cotton button up shirt, proving that green pet duds still have plenty of style to spare.
Super Deluxe Pet Feeding/Sleeping Station Made Out of an Old Secretary Desk: Want toreally pamper the furry one you love? Then clear your schedule this weekend so you can make this Mercedes Benz-like pet snooze zone that also boasts an elevated feeding station to take unnecessary strain off of their neck(s). Oh goodness, please don’t purchase a piece of chemically-impregnated particle board furniture from one of the big box stores for this project, either –you know, the type that’s meant to be disposable. If you are (or want to be) a member of the DIY nation rocking uniquely creative inspiration, try to keep your eyes peeled for a neglected diamond in the rough, instead. Someone’s old unwanted piece of junk is going to become your pet’s bestest new chill-tastic happy place – you’ll see!
For more juicy green goodness, follow Elizah via Twitter@elizahleigh