Owning a dog can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to save including making your own dog toys! DIY dog toys are inexpensive to make, fun to create, and allow you to cater toys to your dog’s favorite activities.
Choosing the Right DIY Dog Toys for Your Dog
There are infinite possibilities when it comes to DIY dog toy designs, but it’s important to choose safe and appropriate toys for your dog. For example, if your dog is a heavy chewer, then making them a stuffed toy would be a poor choice. However, if your dog is attracted by crinkling noises, you might find that a water bottle would make a good base for your DIY dog toy design!
Rope Ring Toy
You will need:
- 4 sections of 5’ thin nylon rope
- Take two of your nylon rope sections and make a crown knot that is around 7” long.
If you are unsure of how to tie a crown knot, follow this easy step by step guide!
- Now, take your third and fourth sections of rope and thread them into the top of your crown knot. As you thread them in, pull each rope until you reach a halfway point of both pieces.
- Begin to knot together the third and fourth pieces of rope as you did with the first and second.
- Once you get to the end of the third and fourth pieces of rope that you are knotting together, thread the ends into the end of your knot made with the first and second pieces of rope. This will create a solid ring shape.
- With the two knotted rope pieces now tied together into a ring, hide the ends of all four pieces of rope by threading them in and out of the ring and tucking in the ends.
- Play fetch!
Tip: Make sure to use thin nylon rope as it is sturdy but easy to work with. Keep in mind, too, that if the rope is too thick, you won’t be able to braid it easily.
Water Bottle Dog Toy
You will need:
- A small (around 20 oz.) empty bottle
- 1 yard of fabric (t-shirt material is best)
- Begin by removing the cap and plastic circle from the top of the bottle.
- Now, cut three strips along the length of your fabric. Make each strip approximately 1” thick.
- Take the rest of your fabric and wrap it around the bottle, making sure to cover the bottom of the bottle and tucking in the ends of the fabric. Leave the bundled fabric around the top of the bottle for now.
- Use the three strips of fabric that you cut before to tie around the bottle – one around the neck and two around the center.
Make sure that these strips are tied tightly.
- Now, using your scissors, cut the extra fabric around the top of the bottle into strips that are approximately 2” wide. This will create an octopus-like appearance.
- Braid together three of these strips at a time to create less “legs” on your octopus. Make sure to make a tight knot at the end of each braided “leg”.
- Watch your dog play!
Tip: If you have an aggressive chewer, this isn’t the toy for you! Even if you don’t have an aggressive chewer, keep an eye on your pup while they play to avoid fabric coming loose and being chewed!
Tennis Ball Dog Toy
You will need:
- 2 old t-shirts or scrap fabric (you will need to cut nine 3”x20” strips of fabric in total)
- 1 tennis ball
- Lay out your fabric or t-shirts and measure out nine strips of approximately 3” wide x 20” long.
Try to cut each piece to incorporate the hem and neckline of the shirt to create neat ends that will not fray.
- Use a pair of scissors to cut each strip.
Accuracy doesn’t matter so if your lines aren’t straight, that’s okay!
- Hold the nine strips of fabric together and tie a firm knot at the end of the fabric to hold them together.
Make sure that this knot is as tight as you can get it!
- Now, using a utility knife, cut a small ‘X’ on each side of the tennis ball so that you can pass the material pieces through it.
If you have trouble passing the fabric through an ‘X’ shape, you can cut two small holes instead. Just don’t cut them too large!
- Begin to braid the strips of fabric together until you get half way through the fabric.
- Pass the half-braided fabric strips through the center of the tennis ball.
- Continue braiding the fabric strips until you get to the end of the strips and then tie another firm knot.
- Let your pup play! Just make sure that if the fabric comes loose or begins to fray, that you throw the toy away!
Tip: If you are using cotton based fabrics, sew hems into each strip to prevent fraying.
DIY Puzzle Dog Toy
You will need:
- 12 inches of ½” PVC pipe
- 2 x ½” PVC end caps
- Chicken nesting box
- 2 x 2-liter bottles
- Use a pencil to make two marks 2” from the top of the nesting box and 1 ½” from the side of the box where your PVC pipe will sit.
Make sure that these marks are even with each other so that your PVC pipe will pass through evenly.
- Use a drill with a 5/8” drill bit to make two holes on the marks you made above to pass the PVC pipe through.
- Now, to make sure that your bottles will spin, you need to use a hammer to gently take the back off the nesting box.
Make sure that when you do this, you remove any stray nails and sand down any rough edges as well.
- Take your empty 2-liter soda bottles and remove the lids as well as the plastic rings. (The image above doesn’t remove these plastic rings, but we find that many dogs are distracted by them and try to remove them!)
Around 4” from the top of the soda bottles, use your scissors to make a small hole on either side of each bottle.
These two holes should be large enough for the PVC pipe to pass through and allow the bottles to spin. If the holes aren’t large enough, the bottles won’t spin easily.
- Slide the bottles onto the PVC pipe and slide the pipe through the two holes in the nesting box.
- Put the end caps on each end of the PVC pipe to stop the pipe from sliding through.
- Put a few treats or kibble pieces inside the bottles and watch your dog get to work!
Tip: If you have a large breed dog, you can build a taller wooden frame like the one pictured here instead of using a nesting box.