Making homemade dog toys can be fun and rewarding for you and your canine companion. It allows you to be creative and make something that is just perfect for your pup. DIY-ing your own toys also means you can affordably provide a huge range of unique toys to keep your dog entertained.
It’s recommended that you don’t use your own clothes or items when DIY-ing toys, otherwise your dog will be chewing on things that smell just like you. Then he won’t know the difference between old jeans that are okay to gnaw on and that great new pair you just bought!
You know what your dog likes better than any commercial manufacturer. Creating homemade dog toys allows you to custom make just the right toy that your four-legged friend will want to play with all the time. Quality dog toys can cost between $5-$15 each. Some are even more expensive! Making your own homemade dog toys will allow you to save a lot of money, especially if your pup likes to chew.
Top 10 Ideas for Homemade Dog Toys
1. Super simple bottle toy
Take the cap and plastic ring off an empty soda bottle (choose an appropriate size for your dog). Put the bottle inside an old sock and tie a tight knot at the end. Your dog will love the crackly noises this simple toy makes.
2. Stay cool
During the summer, you can trying freezing your dog’s toys in a large basin with water and placing it outside. He’ll have loads of fun trying to pull out those pesky toys that are lodged in the ice, and the sun will keep the ice melting steadily so he won’t get too frustrated.
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Try placing toys and treats of different weights so that some float and some sink. This way there will be different levels of toys for your pooch to keep aiming for. You can also try adding a little low-sodium beef or chicken broth to the water to make a giant doggy Popsicle.
3. Old stuffed toys
Grab an old stuffed toy, thrifted or from out of the attic, and remove the stuffing. Give the toy a wash and it makes a safe, satisfyingly floppy toy for your pooch. Just make sure the outer material is not the soft fur type that comes off easily. Instead opt for fabric outer shell.
The best thing is, the more pre-loved the stuffed toy was, the better.
4. The Sweet Potato Gnaw Toy
This is a great idea for edible homemade dog toys. It's healthy and long lasting. Plus, because there’s food involved, your dog will definitely be interested in it!
You will need:
- About two and a half feet of hemp or jute rope
- Two or three sweet potatoes or yams
- Large flat sheet pan
- Baking parchment or foil
- A round cookie cutter a little larger than the diameter of the rope
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes well. Slice the potato, creating disks about half an inch wide. Use the cookie cutter to cut out the centers, leaving just the outer ring.
If the sweet potatoes are too hard, or you don’t have a sharp enough cutter, simply cook the potatoes for a few minutes first and cut them when they have softened.
Bake for two to three hours, flip the pieces over and put them back in for another two to three hours. Cook them until the pieces are completely hard and dried out. Pop the potato rings on a rack and let them cool completely.
Now, knot your rope at the top, slide on two potato rings and then knot again so the potato is held in place. Repeat all the way along, leaving enough room at the end for a final tight knot. These simple and yummy homemade dog toys will keep your pooch amused for a long time.
5. Rope Toys
These simple homemade dog toys are fast and easy to assemble. Chances are you have the materials right in your home too! Grab some t-shirts or pajama pants from a thrift store or wash some old ones of yours with a little white vinegar to help neutralize your scent.
Cut up each tee or pant leg, leaving strips about two to three inches wide and then rip them all the way up. Make a tight knot in one end and then split the strips into three and plait them. Then tie another knot at the other end.
6. Puzzle it out
Dogs love to be challenged and using the incentive of a little treat is a great way to encourage them to think. Puzzle toys will keep a curious dog busy for a long time and as they get used to thinking more creatively, you can start making the puzzles harder. Puzzle toys for dogs are expensive to buy, and clever dogs may lose interest using the same one all the time. Making your own keeps them on their paws.
Turn an old muffin tin into a treaty fortress! Grab your dog’s usual kibble and make him work for his dinner by placing the kibble under an upturned muffin tin. He’ll be able to smell the treats, but he'll have to use his wits to work out how to get to them.
You can also cut a slit in an old tennis ball and place kibble or treats inside.
Next time you’re grocery shopping, see if you can get some spare cardboard boxes on the way out. Get various sizes and, starting with the largest, sprinkle a few treats or kibble pieces inside. Then, place the next largest box inside the first, sprinkle with kibble again, and repeat until you have a set of nested boxes with treats in every layer.
Another simple toy is made from the cardboard tube from inside rolls of paper towels. Duct tape one end of the roll, place some treats in, and tape up the other end. Not only will your doggy smell the treats inside, but they will also rattle tantalizingly!
7. Towel toy
Get an old towel that is longer than it is wide. Roll it up tightly and knot it at the end to make a simple chew toy that won’t hurt your pup’s teeth. This would be great for dogs with dental trouble or senior dogs who are missing teeth but still enjoy playing with toys.
RELATED: Top 10 Best Dog Chew Toys for Dogs
In warm weather, you can sprinkle these homemade dog toys with a little water, bag them and then pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours. This will be nice and cooling, and your dog will love the satisfying crunchy feeling when he gnaws on it.
8. Easy DIY Rope Ball
Take an old tennis ball, drill or cut holes in it and pull a rope through it. You could use one of your t-shirt ropes if you like! Pull the rope through until the ball is in the center. Tie knots tightly on either side of the ball. You can also knot it in such a way that the ball is at one end, making a great throwing toy for playing fetch.
9. Sock toy
Take some old socks and roll them up, and then roll more socks over them until you have a ball that’s the right size for your dog. You can also put treats between each layer so your pooch has to unravel the whole thing to get to them. What’s great about this toy is that it’s washable and you can keep putting it back together again.
10. Yummy toys
Get an old plastic jar and make sure it’s washed out thoroughly. Use a pastry brush or a paper towel to smear the inside of the jar lightly with bacon grease or peanut butter. Your dog will be amused for hours trying to get every last scrap licked out. Just make sure you use a jar with a wide mouth so your dog can’t get his muzzle stuck.