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How to Make Your Own Homemade Dog Toys

I am an online writer with a love for animals. I love DIY pet projects—here are some of my favorites.

Instructions on how to make your own dog toys, sometimes for free.

Instructions on how to make your own dog toys, sometimes for free.

Why Make Homemade Dog Toys?

Dog toys are often expensive and don't tend to last very long, so creating homemade versions that are cheap is great, especially when you have a dog that really enjoys his toys. Don't waste money on dog toys that barely last half an hour; make better and cheaper toys that your dog will enjoy just as much—if not more— than the store-bought toys.

Some dogs will chew on anything, but surprisingly, many dogs love chewing on things they shouldn't, like plastic bottles. Objects such as these can be harmful. Having toys for your dogs helps to keep your puppy from chewing on things he or she isn't supposed to—and it saves your stuff!

Types of Toys Covered in This Article

  • Fetch toys
  • Tug toys
  • Stuffed toys
  • Foraging toys
  • Chew toys
  • Alternative toys

Safety When Making Homemade Dog Toys

Toys should only be used under appropriate supervision. Always be cautious. Strings can come off of rope toys and dogs might swallow them, buttons can come off and get choked on, and dogs can easily chew off pieces of things. Always use common sense, know your dog, and remember: If your dog can get him or herself in trouble, he or she will.

DIY Fetch Toys

DIY Fetch Toys

DIY Homemade Fetch Toys

Ball Toy

This toy is super easy to make and is nice for non-chewing small dogs, but it is not safe for large dogs or ones that chew up their toys. Here's how to make it:

  1. Wad up newspaper into a ball.
  2. Cover the outside of the ball with duct tape; make sure not to leave any sticky sides facing out.
  3. You can use other items for the stuffing, including rags or other paper.
  4. Make sure you make the ball big enough that your dog can't swallow it.

Tennis Ball Toys

The toys in the video below are good for most dogs to play with under supervision, but I do not recommend the final toy idea! Bells are extremely dangerous, and the thread used to close up the toy would be easy for most dogs to rip loose (if the bell is released, the dog might choke on it).

Newspaper Ball Dog Toy

This one is super easy, but just beware. My dogs absolutely love this toy, but they rip it to shreds and make a mess.

  1. Take several sheets of newspaper and wad them together into a big ball.
  2. Make sure the ball is too big to be choked on.
  3. Toss it—the dogs will have so much fun ripping into it.
DIY Tug Toys

DIY Tug Toys

DIY Dog Tug Toys

Fun Fleece Braid

If you have some leftover fleece from another project or have an old blanket ready to be used for rags, this toy is quick and easy to make and is especially good for kids to make:

  1. Cut fleece into three strips.
  2. Tie the ends into a knot, then braid the fleece pieces together.
  3. Tie off the other ends.

Ta-da! You have a fast and fun dog toy.

Fleece Pull Toy: Strips of fleece tied together can make a fun pull and tug toy for your dogs. It is a great way to use up fleece clothing that is no longer worth wearing.

Fleece Pull Toy: Strips of fleece tied together can make a fun pull and tug toy for your dogs. It is a great way to use up fleece clothing that is no longer worth wearing.

Rope Dog Toy

Odd sections of rope make wonderful dog toys and can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. Here is the simplest version:

  1. Take about a foot of rope, then tie a knot in the middle. (I like to really secure the knot in the rope by having two people each hold a pair of pliers and use them to pull on each end of the rope to get that knot as tight as can be.)
  2. A second knot on top of the first makes for a sturdier toy and gives your dog a good place to grip it.

Simple Knotted Toy

Tie a knot on each end of a length of rope for a fun tug toy; you can make these out of different lengths to give your dog variety.

Loop-Rope Dog Toy

You can also take a longer length of rope, about two feet, and tie the ends together to make a loop. This is fun for dogs who like to play tug and especially works great if you have a couple dogs since you can play tug with more than one at a time.

Stuffed Toy and Rope Dog Toy

Stuffed Toy and Rope Dog Toy

Rope Toy Enhancement

You can improve rope toys by sewing a stuffed circle onto the middle (photographed above). This allows your dog to grab the toy easier, and some dogs love sinking their teeth into the stuffed part.

More Tug Toys and Rope Dog Toys

DIY Stuffed Toys

DIY Stuffed Toys

DIY Stuffed Dog Toys

Stuffed Bone Toy

A fun and simple toy is one like the bone toy shown below:

  1. Cut out some bone-shaped pieces of fabric.
  2. Stitch them most of the way together.
  3. Stuff the toy with cotton balls or pillow stuffing.
  4. Finish sewing it shut.

These toys can be made fairly quickly and easily if you draw a pattern and then cut through several lengths of fabric at once.

Give Your Dog a Bone

Give Your Dog a Bone

Thrifted Stuffed Dog Toy

This is an easy dog toy. Simply pick up stuffed animals from garage sales and thrift stores. Do not buy any with loose parts or button eyes, and remove any dangerous part. Sit back and watch your dog have fun playing his new toy.

Crazed Dog With Stuffed Dog Toy

Crazed Dog With Stuffed Dog Toy

Add Sound to Toys

To make a toy that makes sounds but is a bit safer than squeakers, put some dry beans in a clean prescription bottle with a child-proof lid. Place the bottle inside homemade stuffed toys or in an old, clean sock for a fun toy. This will attract dogs that like a bit of noise out of their prey.

More Stuffed Dog Toys

  • Make Gutless Fleece Toys
    Learn to make gutless stuffed animals, and maximize the amount of toys you can make out of a section of fleece. If making lots of toys for an animal shelter or dog rescue, this would probably be a great site to start at.
DIY Foraging Toys

DIY Foraging Toys

DIY Treat and Foraging Toys

Cardboard Box Dog Toy

Any smallish and clean cardboard box can be used as a dog toy. Old cereal boxes, boxes from Hamburger Helper, or just about anything about that size or smaller will work. Here's how to make them:

  1. Cut a few one-inch holes (depending on the size of your dog) in the box.
  2. Spread a bit of peanut butter inside and tape close the open end of the box.

Your dog will spend lots of time trying to lick out the peanut butter and will push the box all over the room to do so. Just watch carefully to ensure your dog doesn't get her tongue stuck inside any of the holes. She may also rip apart the cardboard to try to get at the peanut butter, so it's best to use this dog toy in an area that's easy to clean up.

Treat-Dispensing Toy

This toy would be especially good for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety. Fill it up and set it on the floor as you leave and your dog will be so busy trying to get the treats out, that he or she won't even notice that you are gone. Here's how to make it:

  1. Find a plastic tub (e.g., a butter container).
  2. Cut a small hole in the side, just big enough for dry kibble to fall through.
  3. Fill it with some dry kibble and put the lid on.
  4. Show your dog that treats fall through the hole when he or she moves it and let them have fun.

Note: Beware of using this with chewers—they will chew up the container and possibly swallow pieces.

DIY Chew Toys

DIY Chew Toys

DIY Chew Toys

Carrot and Sock Dog Toy

This is a quick and easy dog toy to make:

  1. Take an old, washed sock.
  2. Snap a plump carrot in half, then put the carrot pieces into the sock.
  3. Tie the top of the sock in a knot and let your puppy play with it.

Dogs love to chew on these, and best of all, these toys are nearly free and very environmentally friendly.

Doggie Dried Yam Chewers

String rings of dried yam on hemp or jute rope for a chew toy that is healthy and will last a bit longer than some other dog chew toys. My dogs love them and beg for them any time they see yams.

Bottle Dog Toy

An empty, plastic bottle can be turned into a dog toy. Here's how:

  1. Simply choose a bottle of the appropriate size for your dog. (Small dogs should get smaller, water-type bottles, while large dogs should get 2-litter bottles.)
  2. Remove the lid, rings, and any labels from the bottle, then smash it flat.
  3. Take a jean pant leg or other piece of fabric, put the bottle inside, and sew the fabric up around it.

This makes a hardy chew toy for your puppy that will keep her occupied for quite a while.

DIY Alternative Toys

DIY Alternative Toys

Tire Toy for Strong Dogs

Dogs with extremely strong jaws need toys that will stand up to a lot of abuse. Try a toy made out of an old tire. Tires have been used by horse owners for years, but dogs need one a bit smaller than the vehicle tires used for horses. Here's how to make one:

  1. Get a wheelbarrow tire or some other small (avoid narrow) tire from the hardware store, or use an old one from around the house.
  2. Tie a rope through the tire.
  3. Hang it from a tree at the dog's head level.

Once your dog gets used to playing with the tire, you may want to raise it a bit to make it even more fun.

Note: Make sure your dog does not chew pieces off of the tire. If he or she ingests them, it could make them sick.

Strong Dogs Need More Robust Toys

Strong Dogs Need More Robust Toys

Make a Dog Playhouse

A large box with a couple of holes cut into it can be used for doorways. Boxes also make a nice toy for smaller dogs. Though people don't realize it, many dogs like to play hide and seek in boxes just like cats do, and a playhouse can be lots of fun for them.

An inappropriate toy.

An inappropriate toy.

A Tired Dog Is a Happy Dog

Be prepared: Any toys you make will get torn to pieces, so plan accordingly. Part of the benefit of making your own dog toys is that the toys are free or cheap. Whether store-bought or homemade, any toys that start showing wear should be fixed or thrown away, and of course, any toys whatsoever should only be used under supervision.

Remember, a tired dog is a dog that won't be getting into trouble, so try and keep your dog busy and happy. Some dogs will go crazy without toys. Make sure your dog has plenty, and also switch them out regularly to keep them fresh and new. Ensure that your dog always has something new and fun to play with. This will keep them from going nuts.

A Tired Puppy After Playing With His Toys

A Tired Puppy After Playing With His Toys

More Dog Toy Ideas

© 2009 Alisha Vargas

Reader Feedback

Misty Hallsberg on February 28, 2015:

Wow! Great Advice- my kids made one and it turnded ot great-my dog loved it!

Tonya Mickelson on August 10, 2014:

Great ideas! Too bad my little doggy doesn't like playing with toys very often.... :(

angela-amor on March 09, 2014:

Great lens ! My dogs are going to be happy with these toys!

Aquamarine18 on February 23, 2014:

Great lens! I have shared it on my FB page so you can go and like it there too!

appelonia on February 18, 2014:

I really enjoyed this lens. Thanks.

adoptionfirst on October 23, 2013:

These are pretty neat. I bet it is much cheaper to make some of these toys then it is to purchase them. I might have to try these out for my adoptable dogs! Thanks!

Ben Olson on October 22, 2013:

Awesome Lens! My dogs will love these ideas!

anonymous on June 08, 2013:

these are pretty good ideas, even though some of them might be a bit hazardous. I'm definitely going to use one of these for my puppy!

Margot_C on April 25, 2013:

What a great idea. And thanks for suggesting making some extra for the shelter. We enjoy taking treats and other goodies to our local shelter.

anonymous on April 22, 2013:

Good ideas for my dog.

iSophie on April 02, 2013:

This is great!! Made some for my local shelter! Thanks :)

anonymous on March 11, 2013:

My dog loves it

rasnasah on March 01, 2013:

Great Lens.Thanks for sharing.

ATTHED LM on February 22, 2013:

This a great lens with some ideas that could even stand up to the destructive power of my dog!

ReesMarketing on February 15, 2013:

Mine love anything plastic have to keep taking them away from her.

TrezNafien on February 04, 2013:

A fitting addition to making your own cat toys! I look forward to making my dog some homemade toys!

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on February 04, 2013:

Great ideas and lens! I will try some of these wonderful suggestions.

Takkhis on February 02, 2013:

I used to make handmade dog toys for my dog.

WhatAboutThat on January 20, 2013:

Nice lens. I'll have to try making some of these toys to keep my dog out of trouble!

Lee from Derbyshire, UK on January 19, 2013:

Really good lens, thanks for the insight

anonymous on January 11, 2013:

Love the ideas!!

dawnsnewbeginning on January 01, 2013:

Some great ideas

PestControlEasternSuburbs on November 28, 2012:

Some great ideas here. My dog, although very playful, is not interested in any type of toy.

Evelyn88 on October 17, 2012:

Love it! My dog (my 3,1/2 old ..puppy) is crazy about balls and pine cones. She can play with them 28 hours a day!

anonymous on October 15, 2012:

i know this is a comment but i sometimes put dry dog food into a rubber tube and stuff like bacon circles into the end it doesn't last too long but keeps em quiet

Emmaspetreats on September 05, 2012:

Great lens thanks!

Emmaspetreats on September 05, 2012:

Great lens thanks!

anonymous on September 02, 2012:

thanx i luv dogs and im getting a puppy tomorrow and these r the peerfect toys for her thnxs a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):):)

LivingLikeCrazy on August 14, 2012:

Thanks so much, great lens. I love making things at home.

thegrowlinggour on July 31, 2012:

Great Lens! I love homemade things for my girls. I bake all their dog treats.


audithedestroyer on July 26, 2012:

Sometimes I use an empty water bottle and fill it with a handful of dry kibble. It keeps my dog preoccupied and slows down his feeding time.

anonymous on July 11, 2012:

Great lens! I haven't heard this anywhere else, but my breeder told me that when dog's saliva mixes with a chemical in tennis balls that it can cause their tooth enamel to breakdown. Just thought I would share. I let my dog play fetch with them every once in a while, but I buy other balls for him to play alone.

bluelobsterclasp on June 04, 2012:

Great lens! Thanks!

anonymous on April 05, 2012:

Great lens. I love the Fleece Pull Toy!

aquarian_insight on April 01, 2012:

Haha, some brilliant ideas here. I remember when our GSD Masti was a puppy, he was always more interested in empty plastic bottles than the toys he had.

HomeschooledKid1 on March 29, 2012:

Great lens! I love the ideas in it (I need to try them out) ! I also have a cat, so I'm going to check out your other lens as well.

mohamedm on February 29, 2012:

Great idea and nice lense

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on February 28, 2012:

The tennis ball toy is a terrific idea!

TTMall on February 15, 2012:

nice lens

Adrijan on February 02, 2012:

great lens

mellie4 on January 30, 2012:

great lens!

Pangionedevelopers on January 29, 2012:

congrats, great info

Edutopia on January 15, 2012:

Ball in a sock is a great cheap and quick dog toy to make though you have to make sure that your dog doesn't start to associate all socks as toys or you could end up with some cold feet!

sherridan on January 03, 2012:

My dad used to swing his bulldog round while it gripped onto a tyre with its teeth - growled like mad and sounded ferocious, but just a pussy-cat! (Dad and the dog!)

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on December 27, 2011:

I like the spirit of this lens. Creativity + saving money = winning combination!

baby-strollers on December 09, 2011:

Nice way to save a few bucks. My golden is in constant need of new toys to keep her from chewing the furniture.

flashgordontags1 on December 02, 2011:

Great ideas!

PamelaDW on November 24, 2011:

These are some great toys. I'd be worried about adding squeakers, though. My little girl swallowed one and needed thousands of dollars of surgery to remove it. Scary!

DanielTiley on November 21, 2011:

Your other Lens about making cat toys is very good but this lens applies to me more as I have a 5 year old Golden Lab. I'll certainly be using some of these ideas. Thank you.

Sheila from Omaha, NE on November 12, 2011:

Love your lens! I have six Miniature Schnauzers here in my rescue and they are always destroying their toys! You provide many fabulous ideas, and I applaud your work! Blessings today from a Squid Angel.

anonymous on October 25, 2011:

just am going to make something like this so glad I ran into your lens tonight, earned a 'thumbs up' from this reader.

kyhillbullies on September 27, 2011:

Loved it

MustangHistory on September 21, 2011:

Great lens.

sallemange on September 17, 2011:

These are such great ideas. I like anything that is safe for dogs to pay with.

LoKackl on August 25, 2011:

Great ideas and I love your photos showing homemade dog toys and their doggies!! This is a first-rate lens!

Chazz from New York on August 14, 2011:

Thanks for some great ideas - Just adopted a new puppy and will definitely try a couple of these. Blessed on the Squid Angels Epic Back To School Bus Trip Quest. Your lens will be featured on âWing-ing it on Squidoo,â our lensography of some of the best Squidoo has to offer, as soon as the quest has been completed.

anonymous on May 27, 2011:

Your lens is very informative. I love the idea of making your own toys by reusing something you already may have. Great Lens to see.

Philippians468 on April 12, 2011:

i love all things DIY! cheers

bossypants on April 09, 2011:

There is definitely something for everyone, here! We used to have a blast when our dog and her doggie friend would rip old towels to shreds. Supervision was never a problem -- their playing was the main attraction!

anonymous on March 02, 2011:

@anonymous: I love this!!!!!!!!! I have a golden retriever and he loves it! thnx!!!!!!!

anonymous on March 02, 2011:

One more toy is a plastic bottle empty with NO LID OR LABEL, fin two old socks. Put the bottle in the other sock and put it over the end that is showing the bottle. This will keep your puppy occupied for hours, because its crinkly and soft.

anonymous on February 22, 2011:

Fab, fab, fab, fab, fab! I've shared this on Facebook too :o)

jackieb99 on December 30, 2010:

I'm going to try some of your ideas for gifts for my friends.

ZazzleEnchante on December 01, 2010:

Lots of great toy ideas, doable and meaningful, accompanied with videos. Very useful, informative, interesting lens. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

anonymous on November 29, 2010:


spritequeen lm on October 28, 2010:

These are really great ideas! Can't wait to try some of them with my dog ;-) Thanks for sharing!

Meredith Davies on October 09, 2010:

I'll be trying several of your ideas. We have 3 dogs here on our farm and I am always looking for ways to reuse things. Thanks for the great lens.

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on September 30, 2010:

What wonderful ideas! Angel will love to have some of these toys! Thanks!

clouda9 lm on September 29, 2010:

So clever! Loved your ideas, demos, links to more stuff...marvy! Thank you! BTW are you a Rocket Mom here on Squidoo? PM me if not, I'll get ya hooked up :)

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on September 28, 2010:

I'm all for tiring Daisy out with plenty of toys to play with! You've included some really great ideas for homemade dog toys. Thanks!

happynutritionist on September 28, 2010:

I have never thought of making my own dog toys for my little yorkie, nice selection:-)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 27, 2010:

These are all really cool dog toy ideas. Much better than letting the pups eat the furniture, socks or towels :)

eclecticeducati1 on September 27, 2010:

Cute ideas! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

Tarra99 on September 10, 2010:

Awwwww...great sister has a poochie...will forward this on to her for some ideas....thanks!

VarietyWriter2 on September 08, 2010:

Nicely done. Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on May 02, 2010:

Lots of great ideas! Thank you

harmonyforlife on December 29, 2009:

Hi, I have 3 collies and 1 of them,Tawney, really likes to tug with me, we tear up toys all the time, your suggestions are great, Murphy will like the cookies, and Pica, well she is 13 and just wants to be left alone. Great site.

kohuether lm on December 21, 2009:

I wish I had a dog so I could use these great suggesstion!