HEALTH & CARE

DIY Dog Toys: 14 Fun toys for Your Doggy

Homemade dog toys
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

DIY dog toys are not just a way to save money, but they are also a very fun way to spend time with your dog walking curious around you. It is a known fact that the toys available in stores are too expensive for what they are really worth, so you shouldn’t spend ridiculous amounts of money on something you can do yourself. In addition, you won’t have a minor heart attack every time your dog completely destroys a toy that you just bought for a small fortune. Besides the following 14 ideas for fun dog toys you can get creative and invent others depending on your doggy’s preferences.

A handmade object is valuable not just in case of dog toys, but also in case of making a gift. You can make any of these 14 toys for your friend’s dogs if you don’t have any or if you just feel crafty! The toys will smell like you unless you wash them, so the dogs that receive them will feel bonded to you thanks to the toy they’ve got and your smell. Also, playing with your dog after making it a fun thing to play with can be very rewarding for any dog owner or just dog lover!

Tee Shirt Yarn #1

For this project you’ll need some old tee shirts and a pair of scissors.

Tee Shirt Yarn

For tee shirt selection, you’re going to want to keep a couple things in mind, such as using different colored tee shirts so your braid will be nice, pretty, colorful and bright, and using tee shirts without labels on them because labels get all crunchy when you try to braid and it just doesn’t turn out as well.

  • Take your plain tee shirt and lay it down on a flat surface.
  • Take your scissors and cut along of the top of the seam on the bottom of the shirt and across the shirt right under the armpits. You should have a square material that is easy to work with.
  • Fold the closed end to the other closed end leaving about 1 inch at the top.
  • Taking your scissors, cut 1 inch strips all the way up pass the folded fabric. Once you are done cutting, it should look like a grass skirt.
  • Open it up and you’ll notice a spine. Take the first bottom slit and cut it out. Next, you can just cut from slit to slit. When you’re done, it should look like a lasso, so just cut the circle too. The end result should be one long string.
  • Foot by foot, you should stretch it out until the string curls. Next, cut it to about a yard and then tie them all together in a knot and get ready for the braiding technique.
  • You can place the knot between your feet and spread the strings in 4 sides. To make it easier and keep all the groups together, you can tie them into a loose knot at the top. Find the opposites and cross them over. Then, take the other 2 sides and make sure you go over one and under the other. Now take the other side and go over, and then under. When you pull it tight, it should make a square. In case you feel uncomfortable holding it between your feet you can always use a clipboard.
  • Once you have about 6 inches left, untie your loose knots and tie a big knot to end it.
  • Remember to also cut the excess off.

Jeans fun dog toy #2

This idea is super simple and all you need is to make strips from old jeans that you are not wearing anymore.

Jeans fun dog toy

Also, a pair of good scissors is needed.

  • Cut a bit from the bottom side of the jeans and then rip the fabric until you obtain your first strip. This way there will be less fibers (by ripping and not cutting);
  • Do one more snip and repeat the ripping process. You want your strips to be between 1 and 2 inches.
  • When you have enough strips to braid them, start with 3 or 6 or even 12 strips depending on the necessary thickness.
  • Make sure the bottom side is well secured with a knot before you start the braiding process
  • Start braiding
  • Put another knot on the end side stretch it well to make sure your dog won’t pull it apart from the very first second.
  • Another option would be to put another knot in the middle depending on what your dog likes.

A toy to pull or throw #3

You are going to need a cutter or a knife.

A toy to pull or throw

Than a pencil and a tee shirt for this great toy, as well as scissors and an old tennis ball.

  • Create strips from the tee shirt using either the ripping or the cutting technique described above.
  • Take the tennis ball and open up a little bit of a whole there using a cutter or a knife. Flip it on the other side and cut it there too, but in the other direction for the ball to be less likely to be split in half.
  • You will need something sharp and thin (a pencil for example) to introduce the fabric through the holes. You should be able to poke the fabric through the hole until it comes out on the other end. Keep going until you’ve got something to hold on to. Continue doing the same thing 5 more times.
  • When you’re done, pull them until they are pretty much equal.
  • Make a knot on the longer end and pull the fabric through the tennis ball until the knot reaches the ball. Put another knot at the bottom of the ball to make sure that ball isn’t going anywhere.
  • Braid it out using 2 strings each and put a knot at the end when you’re done braiding.

Tennis ball toy version 2 #4

You are going to need just one tee shirt, a tennis ball and scissors in order to make this different dog toy, and the process is really simple and it doesn’t take too much time either.

  • Slice one side of the tee shirt and then cut the strips. You need one thinner strip and 2 thicker, equal strips.
  • Next, lay one thick strip on the table and the other thick one on top of it, making a cross.
  • Put the tennis ball right in the middle and then wrap it up with the strips.
  • Take the thinner strip and use it to tie the fabric around the tennis ball.
  • The remaining strips should be cut in 3 and then they should be braided.
  • After all the braids are done, they should be knotted at the end.

Bottle sock toy #5

You’re going to need a long sock, a water bottle and some scissors in order to make this simple, fun toy for your canine friend.

  • Remove the cap and the plastic ring from the bottle so your dog doesn’t choke on them.
  • Take the sock, open it up and put the water bottle right inside of it. Slip it in all the way to the bottom.
  • Make a simple knot where the bottle ends and tighten it.
  • Cut the rest of the sock in 1 inch wide strips. You should have an even number of strips.
  • Take 2 strips at a time and knot them twice or three times just to give your dog extra things to chew on.

Rope toy for dogs #6

You can find rope at any hardware store. You need about 100 foot of nylon rope that is inexpensive if you want to make more toys like this one since dogs destroy them quickly.

Rope toy for dogs

Consider using cotton rope if you know your dog tends to swallow things because nylon rope may cause problems if swallowed.

  • Hold the rope from arm to arm 3 or 4 times.
  • Take the rope and fold it in 4 lengths. The thicker it is the better because it gives dogs more to chew on.
  • Do overhand knots. One at the very end and throughout the length of it. Make sure your dog is not able to stick its head or feat in the rope.
  • You can make this shorter or longer, depending on how many dogs are going to play with it. If there are 2 dogs, they might both pull on it and play, so a short one wouldn’t be useful.

Chewing and treats toy #7

You can combine rope with a water bottle or a plastic container in order to obtain a mixed toy that is great for chewing and also for releasing treats if the dog is persistent enough.

Chewing and treats toy

You’ll need a pair of scissors and dog food as well.

  • Find a slightly larger water bottle that has a handle or a loop.
  • Cut a long string of rope and put it through the loop.
  • Tie as many knots as you can, until you are out of rope.
  • Once you’re done, make small holes in the plastic container that are big enough for the treats to come out if the dog tries hard enough.
  • Put treats inside the plastic container and you’re done!

The stick toy #8

The materials needed for this dog toy can be found at any home improvement store. You can purchase burlap or any other fabric that is fun. You don’t really need burlap. Any old towels are fine.

The stick toy

Next, you’ll also need a PVC pipe that is 2 to 4 foot length. And then you also want to get a simple rope. The recommended length is 4 times longer than the PVC pipe.

In addition a clipping device would be ideal because it makes it easy for you to attach different toys to the end. You don’t always have to make fun things with burlap or towels. You can add any toys that you want.

  • Put the rope through the PVC pipe and pull it all the way down to the end.
  • Make a simple knot at the end and a little loop so that you can wrap it around your hand.
  • Make a double knot at the other end of the pipe and another one at the end of the rope after tying the clipping device on.
  • Make a fun toy out of burlap. Put the folded end of the burlap at the top and cut through the loose edges until about 2 thirds of the way through. You should make at least 2 braids and tie knots at the ends.
  • Use the clipping device to secure the burlap toy and you’re done!

Repurposed thrift toy #9

What you’ll need for this project is an old plush toy from your own collection or from thrift stores, a squeaky toy, scissors and a needle and thread.

  • Start by cutting off the tags from the plush toy.
  • Cut a small hole in the back. Just a small opening that allows you to insert the squeaky toy.
  • Once you’ve cut your opening, you’re going to grab the squeaky toy and make sure that you first move around the stuffing allowing a small opening or a small little hole that will be big enough to fit your squeaker.
  • Once you’ve put in the squeaky toy you’re going to begin moving around the stuffing making sure that you cover and conceal that toy very well making sure that it is in the very center of it.
  • Secure it by sewing it with a needle and a thread. This is really easy and it doesn’t require you to have a lot of sewing skills. Try to make small stitches throughout the whole opening just to get it shut.
  • Make sure the stitches are not wide or the stuffing will come out. You can also do a reverse stitch just to secure the closure. Stretch out the fabric to look for openings when you’re done. If any, sew them as well. Finish it off with a double knot.

Dog game puzzle #10

Dog puzzles are fun because they keep the dog’s mind interested and they are great activities for them. Usually they are very expensive, up to $60, but luckily you can make some without investing too much money.

Dog game puzzle

What you’ll going to need is a simple cupcake tin, 6 old tennis balls and dog treats or dog food.

  • Put treats in the cupcake cups and cover them with tennis balls.
  • What your dog needs to do, is to remove the tennis balls and find the treats hidden underneath.
  • As soon as the dog finds one treat, it will be motivated to look for some more.
  • Some dogs just put the balls back in the cups and they don’t remember there’s no treat in there anymore, so they look again.
  • This is a short game, but a very rewarding one for dogs.

Sponge toy for older dogs #11

An older dog might not like to chew on hard objects, so you can make a toy for it without too much effort. What you’ll need is different socks and different sponges.

Sponge toy for older dogs

You can also add a squeaky toy if you have any long, knee-high socks to work with.

  • Take a clean sock and make sure it doesn’t have any holes in it.
  • Insert the sponge all the way up making sure it stays inside nice and even.
  • Tie a double knot to make sure the sponge cannot come out and if you have any room left in the sock, you can also insert a squeaky toy. If not, you can just cut the extra material in stripes to make it more interesting for the dog.
  • You can braid the stripes of tie knots, depending on how much material you have at your disposal.
  • Secure the toy as well as you can and introduce it to your dog.

Sock donut dog toy #12

This is a very simple dog toy that can be made with the help of scissors and a pair of socks.

Sock donut dog toy

The thicker the socks are the better.

  • Lay one sock over top of the other.
  • Cut the top part off both socks.
  • Inside them out.
  • Slide one sock inside the other.
  • Roll it all up.
  • Fold the rest over the whole donut.
  • Adjust how you want it to look.

Outdoors interactive dog toy #13

For this simple outdoors interactive dog toy you’ll need a PVC pipe that can be found at any local hardware store for less than $2, rope and a tennis ball or any other toy that can be attached at one end of the rope and which your dog loves. In order to secure the PVC pipe, you can make a stake that goes into the ground. In this way you can take the pole in and out anytime you want to do the lawn or the landscapers are there.

Outdoors interactive dog toy

The stake is made out of a 10 inch lawn pipe that can be found at the hardware store, as well as from a 1 inch flange that is screwed on to the end of the pipe and a 1 inch cap. This is not mandatory, but it makes the pole removable.

  • Take a normal garden stake to make a hole into the ground where you want to put this toy.
  • Take a hammer and push the stake into the ground before putting the PVC pipe in it.
  • Tie the rope at the top of the PVC pipe and then your dog’s favorite toy on the other end. A tennis ball is most recommended because it jumps from one side to the other and it makes the game more fun for the dog.
  • The PVC pipe is replaceable, so don’t worry if your dog is too strong and it bends it.
  • The pole doesn’t have a specific length because its length depends on your dog’s size.

Food dispenser from plastic pumpkin # 14

An inspired dog owner thought of a very nice idea for a food dispenser or game for his dog that is suited for Halloween. He used a plastic pumpkin that has a hole at the top, which can be found at any supermarket for about $1 during Halloween period. In order to make one yourself, you’ll also need scissors, sand paper, thread, a needle and a piece of fabric.

  • Before you cover the top of the pumpkin with the fabric, you’re going to need some holes around the rim. These holes are going to let you sew the cloth in place.
  • There is no set number of holes. You should just make enough so that they are evenly spaced out and they are not too far apart. Grasp the bucket firmly and keep your hands and the rest of your body away from the scissors. If you’re not very proficient working with sharp objects, you might want to ask for help.
  • After puncturing the plastic randomly over the surface of the pumpkin too for the treats to come out, you should take the sand paper and smooth the edges out making sure your dog won’t cut itself. Make sure they are nice and smooth by rubbing your finger over them.
  • Lay the fabric over the top of the bucket and cut the circle large enough to cover the opening. Since the fabric tends to reside a bit after being sewn in place, you should cut it a little larger than the actual hole.
  • Once you’re done, you can start sewing the fabric on the pumpkin using the holes you’ve previously made. Use double knots to secure it.
  • When there is just a small gap left, go ahead and put the treats inside. After dropping in the goodies, you can sew the rest of the fabric in place.
  • When the pumpkin rolls on the floor, the treats will come out, fact which will motivate your dog to continue playing.

Use your imagination, but don’t use…

As seen, you can use your imagination and do varied dog toys at home using just simple tee shirts or other very common materials. However, there are some items you should exclude from your crafting schedule when you make dog toys.

For example, if you like the plush toy idea, you should be extra careful with the toy’s eyes. If it has hard eyes like beans, you should remove them because your dog might choke on them.

DIY puzzle dog toy

In addition, some of these toys aren’t stuffed with soft materials, but with tiny beans. Make sure to get the beans out and use some soft stuffing. Sponges are great to use as stuffing. Moreover, whenever you use a plastic bottle, do not forget to remove its cap and the plastic ring. Both these objects can be easily swallowed by dogs. Furthermore, stay away from any hard objects, such as wood, metal, glue, tiny objects or toxic materials such as nylon if swallowed. Food can also be dangerous for those dogs that have weight problems, so focus on making other types of toys for them!

Fun conclusions for dog toys

In conclusion, you might not spend a penny and make numerous dog toys in no time if you follow any of the above advices. These toys are especially conceived to cost very little, be very fun and take a short while to make. Dogs can’t really tell the difference between a toy bought from a pet shop and one made at home, so you can spoil it by making various toys at home instead of just buying one from specialized shops.

Also, dogs tend to destroy any type of toy in very little time, so there’s really no point in investing money in something fancy regardless of how much you want to make your dog feel special.

DIY Illustrations toys

Dog toys are supposed to be safe, but you never know what they really contain. Therefore, if you make them at home, you know for sure that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions and nothing bad can happen to your dog if it tears them apart.

Keep in mind that not every toy described above is suited for any dog before you start making one. Think of your dog’s size, age and preferences before you decide on one example. You might be excited to try one model that isn’t quite appropriate for your type of dog, such as the stick toy, which is obviously for large sized dogs or the donut, which is obviously for small sized dogs.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.

  • Anna Tomson

    Any ideas for cheap DIY toys for one of our dogs who really just love to destroy!
    He’s a Lab/ Collie mix and prefers tearing up almost everything he can get his teeth on. I’ve done with buying those cheap towels and tying them in knots for my Lab to destroy.
    Wondering if you have any other ideas for toys?

    • Emily Young

      You can use cheap towels, or just what like Cate mentioned above, an old firehose. Same precautions to apply – make sure the firehose has been thoroughly cleaned before turning it into a dog toy.

  • Cate Turner

    For us the best diy toy is made from an old firehose. While it’s not readily available in shops, try going to the local firestation and see if they have some of those old worn out one lying around. A quick cleaning should do the trick and you can knot them up. Afterwards, I congratulate you for now having an indestructible dog toy that’s cheaper than cheap!

    • Emily Young

      This is a great idea, Cate! However, I just want to remind you that when using an old firehose, make sure that the hose has been thoroughly cleaned to avoid any potential harboring of allergens or microorganisms that can cause stomach upsets and skin irritation.

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