How to Make Your Own Homemade Dog Toys
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!
Make Dog Toys for the Shelter
When making dog toys, don't forget about your local animal shelter. They always need more toys, and it's very easy to make a few extras to donate to them.
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 Homemade Fetch Toys
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:
- Wad up newspaper into a ball.
- Cover the outside of the ball with duct tape; make sure not to leave any sticky sides facing out.
- You can use other items for the stuffing, including rags or other paper.
- 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).
Make a Dog Toy Out of a Sock and Tennis Ball
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.
- Take several sheets of newspaper and wad them together into a big ball.
- Make sure the ball is too big to be choked on.
- Toss it—the dogs will have so much fun ripping into it.
DIY Dog Tug Toys
A Word of Caution: Be very careful with all rope toys. If any strands pull loose, your dog could swallow them and long, stringy things can cause a lot of damage to your dog's digestive system.
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:
- Cut fleece into three strips.
- Tie the ends into a knot, then braid the fleece pieces together.
- Tie off the other ends.
Ta-da! You have a fast and fun dog toy.
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:
- 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.)
- 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.
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.
Make a Dog Toy Out of Old Jeans
More Tug Toys and Rope Dog Toys
- Dog Tug Toy Ideas
There are several different tug dog toys listed on this page.
- Make a Tug and Toss Ball Toy for Your Dog
This toy is great for dogs that like to throw toys in the air to amuse themselves, ones that like to play fetch, and also ones that enjoy playing tug.
- Dog Toy From Recycled Pants: 7 Steps
Make an easy dog toy out of an old pair of jeans.
- Make a Rope Dog Toy: 6 Steps
A complex dog toy made of rope.
- Rope Ring Dog Toy
Create this two-tone ring dog toy by combining two lengths of the basic 4-strand crown knot.
- Poochie Person Play Toy for Dogs
This is a cute dog toy made out of rope and a tennis ball and made to look like a person. It's very cool and different.
DIY Stuffed Dog Toys
Stuffed Bone Toy
A fun and simple toy is one like the bone toy shown below:
- Cut out some bone-shaped pieces of fabric.
- Stitch them most of the way together.
- Stuff the toy with cotton balls or pillow stuffing.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Make a Sponge and Sock Dog Toy
A spare, clean sock and a sponge make an easy dog toy.
- Make a Cardboard and Sock Dog Toy
This toy is super easy and uses items you probably have around the house.
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:
- Cut a few one-inch holes (depending on the size of your dog) in the box.
- 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.
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:
- Find a plastic tub (e.g., a butter container).
- Cut a small hole in the side, just big enough for dry kibble to fall through.
- Fill it with some dry kibble and put the lid on.
- 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
Carrot and Sock Dog Toy
This is a quick and easy dog toy to make:
- Take an old, washed sock.
- Snap a plump carrot in half, then put the carrot pieces into the sock.
- 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:
- 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.)
- Remove the lid, rings, and any labels from the bottle, then smash it flat.
- 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.
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:
- Get a wheelbarrow tire or some other small (avoid narrow) tire from the hardware store, or use an old one from around the house.
- Tie a rope through the tire.
- 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.
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.
The Wrong Kind of "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.
More Dog Toy Ideas
- Make a Sock Monkey Dog Toy
Use a ball and some old socks to make a fun dog toy.
- Make a Whipwhir Dog Toy
Make a fishing pole style dog toy.
- Make Paddio Sticks
Cover sticks to make them more interesting.
- Make a Jean Cube Dog Toy
Make a cube toy out of old jeans.
- Make Dog Toys Made Out of Old Socks
Lots of ideas here for dog toys to make out of spare socks.
Questions & Answers
© 2009 Alisha Vargas