Make Your Own Homemade Dog Toys

Updated on November 16, 2016

Why 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 last barely a half hour, make better and cheaper toys that your dog will enjoy just as much, if not more than the store-bought toys.

Picture from jambo13

Make Dog Toys for the Shelter

When making dog toys, don't forget about your local animal shelter. They always need more toys for the strays and it's very easy to make a few extras to donate to them.

Always Be Careful!

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 to get choked on, dogs can easily chew off pieces of millions of things.

Always use common sense, know your dog, and remember, if your dog can get himself in trouble, she will.

DIY Homemade Fetch Toys

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 that thread would be easy for most dogs to rip loose, releasing that bell so that the dog might choke on it. If you do decide to make that third toy, be very cautious and ensure the bell cannot get loose.

Make a Ball Toy

This toy is super easy to make and is nice for non-chewing small dogs, but probably isn't safe for large dogs or ones that chew up their toys.

Wad up newspaper into a ball, then cover the outside of the ball with duct tape, making 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.

DIY 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 and the dogs have so much fun ripping into it.

Make Your Own Homemade Dog Tug Toys

A 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, and 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, and is a great way to use up fleece clothing that is no longer worth wearing.

Make a Dog Toy Out of Old Jeans

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.

The simplest version is to simply 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.

A knot on each end of a length of rope makes a fun tug toy, and you can make these out of different lengths to give your dog variety.

You can also take a longer length of rope, about 2 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.

A much more complex knotted rope toy is explained here: Make a Dog Rope Toy

Be very careful with all rope toys since 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.

Stuffed Toy and Rope Dog Toy

You can improve rope toys by sewing a stuffed circle onto the middle like the person in the picture did. This allows your dog to grab the toy easier and some dogs love sinking their teeth into the stuffed part especially.

You Don't Want Your Dog to Play with the Wrong Things

Dog Chew Toy
Dog Chew Toy

Save your stuff! Having toys of their own helps to keep your puppy from chewing on things he isn't supposed to.

Make Your Own Homemade Fleece and Stuffed Dog Toys

Give Your Dog a Bone

DIY Stuffed Dog Toy

A fun and simple toy is one like the bone toy shown above.

It's very simple to cut out some bone shaped pieces of fabric and then stitch them most of the way together, stuff the toy with cotton balls or pillow stuffing, and 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.

Crazed Dog

Stuffed Dog Toy
Stuffed Dog Toy

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 and ensure that your dog always has something new and fun to play, and doesn't go nuts.

An easy dog toy is just to get stuffed animals from garage sales and thrift stores. Make sure to not get any with loose parts or button eyes, and remove any dangerous parts, then 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 that will attract those dogs who like a bit of noise out of their prey.

Homemade Treat and Dog Foraging Toys

Create a 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..

Cut a few, one-inch holes (depending on the size of your dog) in the box, then 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, pushing 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 easy to clean up area.

Treat Dispensing Toy

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

First, take a plastic tub, like a butter container. Then cut a small hole in the side, just big enough for dry kibble to fall through. Fill 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. Beware of using this with chewers though, they will chew up the container and possibly swallow pieces.

DIY Homemade Dog Chew Toys

Make a Carrot and Sock Dog Toy

A quick and easy dog toy is to 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.

Click here for step by step directions.


Some dogs will chew on anything, but surprisingly, many dogs love chewing on plastic bottles. These can be harmful if they chew off pieces of the plastic, but may make a fun toy for your pup under proper supervision.

Make a Bottle Dog Toy

An empty, plastic bottle can be turned into a dog toy.

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.

Tearing Up Toys

Dog Chew Toys
Dog Chew Toys

Be prepared to have any toys you make get torn to pieces and plan accordingly. Part of the benefit of making your own dog toys is usually the toys end up free or cheap, but 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.

Make a Tire Toy for Strong Dogs

Dogs with extremely strong jaws need toys that will stand up to a lot of abuse.

One of these is 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.

Either get a wheelbarrow tire or some other small yet not narrow tire from the hardware store or use an old one from around the house.

Tie a rope through the tire, then 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. Make sure your dog does not chew pieces off of the tire, if she ingests them it could make her sick.

Make Other Homemade Dog Toys

Make a Dog Playhouse

Make a Dog Playhouse

A large box with a couple of holes cut into it to use for doorways makes 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.

Puppy Tired After Playing with His Toys

Tired Puppy
Tired Puppy

Remember, a tired dog is a dog that won't be getting into trouble, so try and keep your dog busy and thus happy.

© 2009 Alisha Vargas

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      Misty Hallsberg 2 years ago

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

    • Tonya Mickelson profile image

      Tonya Mickelson 3 years ago

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

    • angela-amor profile image

      angela-amor 3 years ago

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

    • Aquamarine18 profile image

      Aquamarine18 3 years ago

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

    • profile image

      appelonia 3 years ago

      I really enjoyed this lens. Thanks.

    • profile image

      adoptionfirst 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Ben Olson 4 years ago

      Awesome Lens! My dogs will love these ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Margot_C 4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Good ideas for my dog.

    • iSophie profile image

      iSophie 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My dog loves it

    • rasnasah profile image

      rasnasah 4 years ago

      Great Lens.Thanks for sharing.

    • ATTHED LM profile image

      ATTHED LM 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      ReesMarketing 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      TrezNafien 4 years ago

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

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

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

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      I used to make handmade dog toys for my dog.

    • WhatAboutThat profile image

      WhatAboutThat 4 years ago

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

    • leesholden profile image

      Lee 5 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Really good lens, thanks for the insight

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love the ideas!!

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 5 years ago

      Some great ideas

    • profile image

      PestControlEasternSuburbs 5 years ago

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

    • Evelyn88 profile image

      Evelyn88 5 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Emmaspetreats 5 years ago

      Great lens thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Emmaspetreats 5 years ago

      Great lens thanks!

    • profile image

      LivingLikeCrazy 5 years ago

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

    • thegrowlinggour profile image

      thegrowlinggour 5 years ago

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


    • profile image

      audithedestroyer 5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      bluelobsterclasp 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens. I love the Fleece Pull Toy!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      HomeschooledKid1 5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      mohamedm 5 years ago

      Great idea and nice lense

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      The tennis ball toy is a terrific idea!

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      Adrijan 5 years ago

      great lens

    • profile image

      mellie4 5 years ago

      great lens!

    • profile image

      Pangionedevelopers 5 years ago

      congrats, great info

    • profile image

      Edutopia 6 years ago

      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 profile image

      sherridan 6 years ago

      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!)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

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

    • profile image

      baby-strollers 6 years ago

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

    • flashgordontags1 profile image

      flashgordontags1 6 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • PamelaDW profile image

      PamelaDW 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      DanielTiley 6 years ago

      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.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image

      Sheila 6 years ago from Omaha, NE

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      kyhillbullies 6 years ago

      Loved it

    • profile image

      MustangHistory 6 years ago

      Great lens.

    • sallemange profile image

      sallemange 6 years ago

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

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 6 years ago

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

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      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 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      i love all things DIY! cheers

    • profile image

      bossypants 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

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

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      ZazzleEnchante 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago


    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 7 years ago

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

    • Cal-gal profile image

      Meredith Davies 7 years ago

      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 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

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

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      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 :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      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!

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 7 years ago

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

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

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

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      Cute ideas! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      Tarra99 7 years ago

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

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Nicely done. Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Lots of great ideas! Thank you

    • profile image

      harmonyforlife 8 years ago

      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 profile image

      kohuether lm 8 years ago

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