Is your dog’s toybox starting to become a little sparse or do their current toys look a bit worse for wear? Then why not look around your home for inspiration as DIY dog toys are now a thing.
Cost-effective, easy to make, and guaranteed to keep your pooch entertained, homemade dog toys can be as good as the real thing. So, if you fancy doing a little canine crafting, read on, as we stitch together our guide to 10 quick and easy DIY dog toys you can make right now.
How to Make Dog Toys
All of the ideas listed can be made from everyday items you should be able to find around your home, however, there are some key things to remember. The materials you use should be dog safe and non-toxic and there should be no sharp edges or small pieces that can be easily chewed off and possibly swallowed. And always ensure your pet is not left to play with their new handmade dog toys unsupervised.
Ok, let’s get started with our 10 easy-to-make DIY dog toy ideas!
1. Plastic Bottle Dog Toy
This easy-to-make dog toy is a win/win – your pet gets a wonderfully crunchy dog toy while you get to reduce the contents of your plastic recycle bin! This DIY plastic bottle dog toy is easy for your pooch to grip, he gets a fun sensation as he chews, and the end braids make throwing the dog toy a breeze.
You will need:
- A clean plastic water bottle (size appropriate for your pet)
- Approximately a yard of old fabric (a t-shirt or an old bedsheet work well)
Lay your fabric out on a flat surface then cut off four one-inch-wide strips which you will use as ties. Place your water bottle diagonally on the remaining fabric, about three inches away from the bottom corner, and wrap the fabric around the bottle, tucking in the excess fabric as you wind. Now use the four strips to secure the fabric in place. You should have some excess fabric at the cap end of the bottle – cut this into even strips, then braid three strips at a time, secured with a knot at the end. You now have one of the best toys for dogs you can make at home.
2. Muffin Tin Puzzle
Boredom can lead to destructive behavior in dogs which is why mental stimulation is an essential part of his playtime. And, if you have a dog that likes his challenges, then this super easy-to-make DIY muffin tin puzzle is a great way to exercise his gray matter!
You will need:
- A muffin tin
- Balls (different textures and sizes work well)
- A handful of your pooch’s favorite treats
No actual making is required for this easy but ingenious puzzle toy – simply place a sprinkling of the dog treats in the bottom of some of the muffin wells then place a ball into each well in the tin, covering the treats for one of the best DIY dog puzzles for your pet. Your dog will need to work out which ball is hiding the treats inside and then remove the ball to get at his reward!
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3. Rope and Tennis Ball Tug Toy
What dog doesn’t love a game of tug? But unless it’s one of the latest indestructible toys you can buy, many don’t last too long, when faced by a large and over-enthusiastic pup! If this is one of your doggo’s top games, then check out our DIY alternative. All you need is a tennis ball and a rope plus a way to make a hole and you can keep your pooch re-supplied with his favorite toy.
You will need:
- A dog-safe tennis ball
- A length of rope
- A drill or sharp knife
Cut or drill a hole on either end of the tennis ball, making sure the hole is large enough for the rope to be pulled through without being too loose. Thread the rope through both holes, knotting at each side of the ball to keep the rope in place. Tie a couple of extra knots at the ends of the rope so you can get a good grip of the tug toy when you throw. Now watch your dogs tug-and-go!
4. Flirt Pole
This homemade dogs’ flirt pole is a great way to engage your pet in a high-speed game of chase and burn off some of that pent-up energy. Also known as tantalizer sticks, these poles also have a lure at the end and, with all that fast-paced pole action, you’ll also get a good workout too!
You will need:
- PVC pipe or cane
- Bungee cord or thin rope
- Small soft toy (for the ‘prey’)
After sizing the length of the pipe or cane to work with your arms reach and your dog’s size, thread the cord through the hollow center, so a decent length dangles through. Knot the end several times to prevent the cord from slipping through, then securely attach your ‘prey’ dog toy to the loose end of the cord. The flirt pole is ready to flick and play with (note: this homemade dog toy is not suitable for growing pups).
5. Tennis Ball Treat Toy
Ok, you don’t have much time or crafting projects is not your thing. If so, our next idea is one of the simplest homemade dog toys to keep them busy you can make. All you need is a sharp knife or scissors, a tennis ball, and a handful of tasty dog treats. Carefully cut a slit in the ball (about halfway across) so you can squeeze open the ball, but it then closes back in place. All you now need to do is fill the ball with treats through the hole, let it close, and throw it to your dog. He’ll be happily entertained working out how to get those tasty morsels out!
6. Denim Dog Tug Toy
Even if you are not a fan of sewing, you can make a fun and tough tug and chew toy for your dog or dogs, using an old pair of jeans!
You will need:
- A leg from a pair of jeans
- A squeaker (optional)
Cut the pant leg into two long strips of denim and lay they out in a cross shape on a flat surface. If you are using the squeaker, pop it in the center then tie the opposite lengths of denim into a knot, then the other lengths, and so on, until you have a short chain of denim knots. Tie a double as the last knot, leaving four short ends of fabric and you have the ultimate cloth recycling project your dog can get his teeth into!
7. Interactive Dog Feeder
If you have a sturdy piece of PVC pipe, then you can make a fantastic DIY alternative to the best interactive dog toys you can buy. With small feeder holes and filled with treats, your dog will be happily occupied working out how to get at those tasty morsels inside.
You will need:
- Length of PVC pipe
- PVC caps
- Dog treats
Take the pipe and carefully drill around 10 holes in the body; they need to run the full length of the pipe, nicely spaced out. The holes also need to be just large enough for the treats to come through, with some movement and manipulation on your dog’s part. Sand the edge of each hole so they are smooth and not sharp then rinse, dry and fill with treats before securing the caps onto each end.
8. Sock Fetch Toy
If you’re plagued by the mystery of the single sock come laundry time, then put it to good use with this fun throw and chew toy to keep your dog occupied for hours. All you need to do is take your sock – a thick or fleecy-style sock works particularly well – and pop a tennis ball into the toe area. Now knot the top of the sock, leaving enough of the sock leg for you to grab. With the weight of the ball and the grab area, this sock dog toy launches beautifully to give your dogs plenty of throw and fetch exercise.
9. Towel Tug Toy
And still on the subject of laundry, you can breathe new life into an old towel by transforming it into your pup’s favorite tug toy. Plus, the soft toweling fabric will be gentler on their mouth and teeth.
All you need to do is take an old towel (clean, of course) and cut three strips – ideally about four inches wide and 12 inches long. Tie them together at one end (another short strip of towel should do the trick) then braid the three longer lengths into a tug rope, before tying them off at the end.
10. Sweet Potato Chew Toy
And finally, if your pup is all played out and is ready to chill in front of the fire, this easy to bake and make sweet potato chew toy will keep them happily occupied. Plus, the dried vegetable and the rope will help to keep their gnashers clean.
You will need:
- One large sweet potato
- Apple corer
- A piece of rope
First, scrub clean the potato and cut into inch-wide slices. Using the cutter, core out a hole in the center of each slice, then slow bake for five hours in the oven to fully dehydrate. When cooled, tie a knot in one end of the rope, and string on the sweet potato loops before securing with another knot for a tasty and natural chew toy.
- Stephanie Gibeault, MSc, DIY Cognitive Dog Toys for When You Are Stuck at Home – American Kennel Club
- DIY Toys For Your Dog Or Cat – Animal Humane Society