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DIY Dog Toys: Homemade Fun for Fido!

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Dog DIY By Kate Brunotts 13 min read June 24, 2020

DIY Dog Toy

Like any good pet parent, you know that your dog deserves the world. An active pup is a happy one, and toys are a great way to provide more mental and physical activity to your pooch’s daily routine. 

However, like all other doggo supplies, toys cost money. This means that, over time, you can end up spending a pretty penny on your pupper’s playthings.

Luckily, you can create your own DIY dog toys which are fun for Fido and gentle on your wallet

Below, we share a few of  our favorite DIY toys you can make from the comfort of your home. We’ll also explain some of the benefits behind giving your pooch a DIY toy for playtime

Just make sure to execute these projects with care to ensure your pooch remains safe while having the time of his life. 

15 Great DIY Dog Toys

Without further ado, here are some of our top picks for fun dog toys you can make at home. Try a few of them out and let us know how they work!

1. Ball & Tug Dog Toy by SheKnows

DIY Dog Toys

If you want to make a simple tug style toy, this DIY option by SheKnows is a great choice. Plus, you can make it from materials you probably already have laying around the house.

This toy requires no sewing and is a perfect treat to create for your pup when you have a little extra time on your hands. Essentially, you cut up an old T-shirt, wrap it around a tennis ball, and tie it securely. The diagrams on the site are easy to understand, so you can create this toy in a jiffy. 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed: 

  • One tennis ball
  • One old T-shirt

Tools Needed:

  • Scissors

2. Bella’s Bottle Game by Eveline Poot

If your pup is highly motivated by tiny treats, this toy by YouTuber Eveline Poot is a great choice. Your pup will have a fantastic time spinning the bottles in order to earn his treat!

Although this plaything can be constructed out of fairly inexpensive materials, you will most likely need a trip to the hardware store and some basic carpentry skills to construct the base of this toy. You can adjust the size of the bottles and posts based on the needs of your pet.

Note that Eveline doesn’t really explain how to make this toy in the video, but it should be fairly easy to figure out. But it’s worth watching the video just to see Bella play with the toy anyway.

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult

Materials Needed: 

  • Wood
  • Two or three plastic bottles 
  • Large piece of string, twine, or a thin metal rod
  • Small dog treats

Tools Needed:

  • Saw 
  • Wood glue or screws
  • Scissors

3. Dog Toy Catapult by Instructables

DIY Dog Catapult

This toy is not only eye-catching, but it is sure to save you from sore arms caused by never-ending games of fetch too!

The Dog Toy Catapult by Instructables is powered by rubber bands and uses a scoop to fit a standard tennis ball. You’ll need some construction skills and a bit more time to build this toy, but the time investment is certainly worth all the joy this will bring to your pooch. 

Difficulty Level: Expert

Materials Needed:

  • One 10-inch X 7-inch wooden board
  • Two 2-inch X 6-inch wooden board
  • Six screws
  • Wood glue
  • One long nail
  • 15 small rubber bands
  • 15 large rubber bands
  • One ball scooper
  • One tennis ball
  • One clear plastic lid of a storage tub 

Tools Needed:

  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Screw driver

4. Pajama Tie Toy by Mitchell Crisp

DIY Dog Toy Pajamas

Mitchell Crip from the Youtube channel eHowPets shows an easy way to make a dog toy out of old pajama pants.

All you need for this one is some scissors and PJs, so you can easily whip this one up without having to go out and shop for additional supplies. 

To create this toy, simply cut up old PJ’s or any long fabric into strips. Tie those strips together and volia! You have an upcycled rope-style dog toy that your pet will love.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed:

  • Old pajamas or long fabric

Tools Needed:

  • Scissors

5. Tennis Ball Puzzle Toy by Instructables 

It doesn’t get easier than this!

This tennis ball puzzle ball toy by Instructables will only take you five minutes to create, and your doggo will have a great time working for his treats while playing with this toy. 

Simply slice partial cuts along the seams of the tennis ball just enough to fit a small treat inside. Place small snacks in the ball and give it to your dog for an engaging DIY puzzle toy

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed:

  • Tennis ball
  • Small treats

Tools Needed:

  • Knife

6. Sturdy Rope Toy by Instructables

DIY Rope Toy for Dogs

If your dog is a power-chewing pupper, this sturdy DIY rope toy by Instructables is a much better choice than toys constructed from soft fabrics. 

This toy doesn’t require a lot of materials, but you may need to set aside an hour or two to master the tying pattern of the toy. The rope is essentially tied around a fixed point to create one thick braid, large enough for your pooch to gnaw on.

When done correctly, this simple DIY dog toy will delight your pup for quite some time and hold up well to the wear and tear your canine inflicts. 

If you love working with rope, take a look at our guides to DIY dog collars and DIY dog harnesses as well – you can make some really nifty gear with rope like the kind used for this toy, so stock up!

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed:

  • Two strips of rope, no shorter than 5-feet in length
  • Two zipties

Tools Needed:

  • Lighter 
  • Scissors

7. PVC Puzzle Toy by New Leaf Nickie

A quick trip to the hardware store can lead to a fun DIY toy for your pooch. These PVC puzzle toys by blogger New Leaf Nickie are easy to make and can keep your pup entertained for hours on end. 

Not to mention, the durable PVC will stand up pretty well and last quite a while.

Simply saw a small section of PVC pipe, put fittings on the ends, drill holes large enough for kibble, and stick tiny treats of choice in the holes. You can even coat the holes with peanut butter to give your pooch some extra incentive. 

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed:

  • PVC pipe
  • PVC fittings
  • Small dog treats
  • Peanut butter (optional)

Tools Needed:

  • Saw 
  • Drill 

8. Plush Sweater Toy by My So Called Crafty Life

This plush squeaker toy by My So-Called Crafty Life made out of an upcycled sweater is as cute as it is fun for your dog. You’ll need some basic sewing knowledge to complete this one, but the entire process shouldn’t take more than two hours. 

You can pick out the fabric of your plushie to match your pup’s style and use the same basic method to create plush squeaker toys of your own in different shapes and sizes. And if sweater weather has you inspired, you can use some of those old jumpers to make DIY dog sweaters as well!

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed: 

  • Old sweater or other fabric
  • Squeaker (optional) 
  • Felt 
  • Thread

Tools Needed:

  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker

9. $2 Fishing Pole by Instructables

Does your pup love to jump for his toys? If so, this fishing pole style toy by Instuctables is perfect for your pooch.

This toy may be best suited for smaller breeds since it’s crafted with narrow strips of nylon, but you can experiment with scaling up the size of the craft materials if you have a big pup.

Not only is the fishing pole pretty inexpensive to make, but the concept itself is super simple. The pole is a PVC pipe with nylon paracord running through it. Finally, at the end of the nylon, attach your dog’s favorite plush toy. 

This DIY plan may also reignite your pup’s excitement surrounding his older toys, which can help you avoid the temptation to constantly acquire new ones. 

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Materials Needed: 

  • 2.5 feet or less of PVC pipe
  • 6 feet nylon paracord
  • Any dog toy you can tie paracord to

Tools Needed:

  • Scissors
  • Candle
  • Drill (Optional)

10. Braided Dog Chew Toy by Instructables

Braided DIY Dog Toy

This braided dog chew toy by Instructables (yes, this is yet another DIY project from Instructables that we love) offers a superb solution for dog owners with too many T-shirts. This braided chew toy by  is not only cute but sturdy enough to stand up against your pup’s pearly whites. 

The process is very similar to the braided DIY rope toy, just using fabric instead of the rope. The rope plan is probably a better option if your pup can be rough on toys, but if that’s not a huge concern, this plan is great for repurposing  a few old shirts. Plus, multiple fabrics can make for a unique, cool pattern. 

You’ll need some basic sewing skills for this one, as well as a bit of patience while you’re learning of the stitching pattern. 

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed:

  • Old washed T-shirts or clothes
  • Thread

Tools Needed:

  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins

11. DIY Bottle Toy by Ammo the Dachshund 

DIY Bottle Toy for Dogs

Many dogs are total suckers for plastic bottles, but allowing a pup to chew on a bottle by itself can end up being a dangerous choking hazard. Luckily, the blogger “Ammo the Dachshund” has come up with a solution.

This DIY bottle toy is essentially a plastic bottle tightly wrapped in an upcycled T-shirt or fabric. If you want to be extra fancy, you can braid the excess strips hanging off of the body of the toy, but it’s not a requirement. 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed: 

  • Old T-shirts or a yard of fabric
  • One plastic bottle 

Tools Needed:

  • Scissors

12. Ball and Rope Dog Toy by Instructables

DIY Rope and Ball Toy for Dogs

This ball and rope toy by Instructables looks as great as its purchased counterparts do, and it is great for pups who love to chew

While you don’t need anything other than a ball, rope, and tape to complete this project, you may have to spend some extra time figuring out the mechanics of the Matthew Walker knot (which is used in the construction of the toy). 

This is a great project for a rainy day and will last your dog for a while if executed properly. 

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed:

  • ¾-inch cotton rope
  • Tennis ball
  • Electrical tape

Tools Needed:

  • Pliers
  • Knitting needle
  • Scissors

For a variation on this, check out our very own DIY dog rope toy video below!

13. Sweet Potato Dog Chew Toy by Elmo’s Kitchen 

Elmo’s kitchen does a great job combining treats and toys with this craft. This DIY plan is great because your pooch will get an initial treat but will still be able to enjoy the rope portion of the toy even after all the sweet potato is gone. 

Sweet potato chunks are hollowed out in the center so that they can be strung on rope and dried in the oven. Once dehydrated, they can be tied on hemp rope for your pup to gnaw on and enjoy. 

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also use your oven, but it will take upwards of 6 hours, so make sure you set aside time for this one or bake the potatoes while doing something else. 

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Materials Needed: 

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • Natural hemp rope

Tools Needed:

  • Scissors
  • Dehydrator or oven
  • Knife
  • Apple corer or cookie cutter

14. Squeaky Doggie Bone by Laura Griffin Designs 

Squeaky toys are a classic, and if you have some basic sewing knowledge and some extra time on your hands, this project by Laura Griffin Designs is a great pick. This bone also has little chew ties handing off of it, so if your dog is big on gnawing, he’ll love this toy.

You can customize the pattern based on the fabric you pick out at your local craft store to match your pup’s personality. However, if your pup is prone to destroy toys easily, this may not be the best pick as it is filled with stuffing.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed: 

  • Fabric
  • Squeaker
  • Stuffing
  • Thread

Tools Needed:

  • Sewing machine
  • Skinny plastic tube (optional)
  • Scissors

15. No-Sew Heart toy by Pretty Fluffy

No Sew Dog Toy

You can still make a crafty plush dog toy for your pup even if you don’t sew. This No-Sew Heart toy from Pretty Fluffy is super cute and easy to make.

Essentially, fleece is double stacked and cut with ties on all edges of the heart shape so you can stuff and tie off the toy tightly without any thread. Although this toy is convenient, it may be best suited for gentle chewers, as pups who gnaw more heavily may break through the seams.

The same method can be applied to different shapes, so you can make a plush toy for your pet for any occasion. 

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed:

  • Felt
  • Stuffing

Tools Needed:

  • Felt marker (optional)
  • Stuffing

The Benefits of DIY Dog Toys

Most modern dogs are the result of a long lineage of distant ancestors who all had jobs. These jobs were important, as they helped to keep the dogs’ brains active.

But it’s unlikely your pooch is “working” on a regular basis, so you’ll need to replace this mental and physical stimulation.  

Toys offer an excellent solution to doggie boredom, and they also give your pooch an outlet for chewing, which can help protect your shoes and throw pillows. 

You can certainly buy toys to keep your pet occupied, but, as mentioned before, this will put a dent in your bank account. DIY toys, on the other hand, are usually pretty cheap.

Additionally, you can customize DIY toys to suit your dog’s specific needs.

Have a dog that loves playing fetch? Set him up with a unique DIY ball that drives him crazy. Alternatively, if your doggo prefers just gnawing on things for hours, you may want to build him a super-durable chew toy.

DIY Dog Toys

Safety Considerations for DIY Dog Toys

Although crafting at home is a fun way to spoil your pooch and save some dough, it’s important to keep your pup’s safety in mind when creating these toys.

Here are a couple of factors you’ll want to consider when creating DIY toys:

  • Size — It’s always important to craft toys appropriate for your pup’s size. A small plush toy that may be perfect for a puppy or smaller breed could be a choking hazard for older or larger pets. So, make sure your tailor the size of your dog’s toy to your pup’s mouth and body.
  • Materials Used — Always make sure you use durable materials to make your pup’s DIY toys. This is especially important if you’re constructing a chew toy or interactive toy that’ll be on the receiving end of your pooch’s teeth.
  • Introduce the Toy Carefully — Make sure you supervise your pet the first couple of times he plays with your DIY toy. You never know how your doggo may interact with the toy, and should it fall apart, you want to be there to keep him safe. This goes for toys in general as well.

***

DIY toys are as fun to craft as they are useful. Crafting is a great way to save money on dog care while keeping your pet’s mind engaged and happy.

Regular playtime is an important part of any pooch’s lifestyle, and giving him a range of toys to play with is not only a labor of love but also essential to his health. 

Have you had any success with these DIY dog toys? Which ones did your doggo take to the most? We’d love to hear about all of your DIY experiences in the comments below!

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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