What To Do With Your Dog's Old Toys

As dog owners, all we want is for our furbabies to be happy. Usually, this means chew toys, belly rubs, rope toys, walks, squeak toys, food, bones, and fetch. 

Inevitably, our dogs end up with a never-ending supply of toys to play with. This is usually because they chew through their toy supply at an alarmingly fast rate, but sometimes they just hit the Christmas jackpot. Either way, our dogs end up with piles of toys that are either never touched or never left alone.

But what do you do with your dog’s toys when they’ve 1) outgrown them, 2) stopped playing with them, or 3) they are no longer recognizable as a toy?

We’ll give you a hint - the trash is certainly not the first option, nor the last.  

Keep Dog Toys From Landfills 

Since the world already has an increasingly problematic landfill situation, we don’t want our pup to contribute any more than they have to. The best part is - not every dog toy needs to be destined for the landfill. Luckily, there are few ways to give new life to your dog’s old toys so you can reduce your dog’s waste and potentially help other dog families in need. 

We’ll be honest, responsible dog toy disposal and recycling can be a challenging issue. That’s why we want to help you repurpose or recycle your dog’s toys and reduce your pup’s carbon pawprint, one toy at a time.

Here are four ways to keep your dog’s toys from landfills and reduce your dog’s waste!

Extend The Toy’s Life

Too many owners throw away dog toys long before they lived their full life. Many toys can last a lot longer than you think. If you can repair a toy, do it. Excellent sewing skills are not required. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box if you need to.

If your dog rips the head off a stuffed animal - sew it back on. If they’ve destroyed (or eaten) the stuffed animal’s head, sew something else (like another toy) in its place. Or just sew up the hole without the head. We’ve even found old socks and old rags to be useful makeshift toys to extend the toy’s life, too.

And don’t worry about your sewing abilities or aesthetics, your dog won’t care what their toy looks like, we promise.

Donate to Animal Shelters

Animal shelters are always on the lookout for blankets, food bowls, and toys. Not all animal shelters take used dog toys, so it’s important to check before - but most do if they are in good condition. This can be an excellent option for those toys your dog never played with. 

Another option is to donate the dog toys to a homeless shelter. Many homeless people have beloved pets who also need support, and this option is often forgotten or unrealized by most. If you know of a family in need that has pets - donate! 

Recycle Materials

We get it, some toys are beyond repair and have definitely outlived their usefulness. But don’t throw them away! Sure, some might be pretty worn, but certain materials - no matter how badly chewed - are still recyclable. 

Depending on the toy, You might need to break it apart to separate the materials, but if you can save any part of it from landfill, we encourage you to do it (this also applied to toy packaging!). Materials that can be recycled (or repurposed) include wood, fabric, and certain types of plastic.

If you need a rundown on recycling symbols and numbers and what they mean, Good Housekeeping has a great post that breaks down each symbol so you know exactly where and how each toy can be recycled. Another great resource is the Earth911 Recycling Search that helps you identify local recyclers of each type of plastic. 

What can you do going forward?

First of all, we highly recommend that you buy any future dog toys from a sustainable and environmentally oriented pet company that specifically seeks to reduce dog waste and keep dog items from landfill! 

We just so happen to have built our company on providing sustainable toys for dogs! ;)

It’s also important to consider what type of toys your dogs are playing with. Buying toys that use eco-friendly materials like natural fibers, biodegradable plastic, and recycled paper helps your dogs contribute to their own zero-waste journey and reduces the number of toxins they are exposed to. 

If you are crafty and want to take the budget-friendly, DIY route, there are easy toy patterns to make for your pups that are durable and environmentally friendly. There are plenty of alternative options for your dog’s play toys. 

While dogs probably don’t produce as much waste as their humans do, every eco-friendly choice - no matter how small - makes a difference in reducing their landfill waste. And sometimes, the easiest step you can take is responsibly recycling or repurposing your dog’s toys. Never underestimate your actions!

Are you ready to take your dog’s zero-waste journey even further? Learn more about going sustainable with your dog here.


  • Josette – you can donate them to a local animal shelter. Most accept “good” condition used toys. I wash them in hot soapy water (Dawn) and pass them forward. There have been many toys in our house that were picked up and dropped. Toys are expensive and if your local shelter won’t accept them, I am certain a rescue will.

    Best of luck!

  • What do I do with toys my dog never used? They’re not new, but they’re not really used.

    Josette Nichilo

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