4 easy DIY dog toys you can make at home

diy dog toys
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you ever heard of the concept of DIY dog toys?

If you want to give something a bit different to your dog, or don't want to break the bank with new toys, then why not give them a try? A decent variety of dog toys can be greatly beneficial to your pooch’s well-being. Variety can be a great thing, giving them plenty of play options and assisting with their cognitive development.

As we've mentioned, buying the best dog toys can get expensive, especially if you’ve got a dog who gets through toys at a fast pace. As well as saving money, it can serve as a project for you, allowing you to get your creative juices flowing.

Dogs get excited by the simplest things, so you don't need to worry about making anything overly complicated. With these straightforward DIY dog toys you’ll have a new set of toys in a matter of minutes, often made out of things that you already have lying around the house. Read on to find out more...

DIY ball tug toy

DIY dog toys

(Image credit: sheknows.com)

Prep Time: 30 minutes 

Materials needed: Old clothes (such as a t-shirt), tennis ball 

Tools needed: Scissors 

Skill Level: Easy 

A good way to spice up a simple tennis ball toy is by making it into a DIY Ball Tug Toy. If you’ve got any old, worn out clothes – t-shirts are ideal – that you were about to get rid of, this is a good way to recycle them.

All you need to do is place your t-shirt flat on a surface, like a floor or table. Use scissors to cut up the shirt into 3-4 pieces, wrapping the tennis ball (an old worn out one can also be used here, so it’s a great way to prolong the life of those too), in one of the pieces. With the remaining pieces, you’ll create a plait or braid to make it nice and strong. 

Once you’re done, you can use the toy for a game of fetch or tug. Be sure to supervise your dog while they are playing with a toy like this, since loose fibres can easy dislodge and present choking hazards. 

Plastic bottle toy

DIY dog toys

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Materials needed: Fabric (old sheets, blankets, t-shirts), empty plastic bottle 

Tools needed: Scissors

Skill Level: Easy 

Dogs love the scrunching texture of old plastic bottles. In fact, if you look inside many professionally made toys, you’ll find a structure which is not too dissimilar to a drinks bottle inside it. 

With that in mind, why not make your own and save some cash? All you need is an old, empty bottle, plus some old material that you no longer have a need for. If your dog has been ripping up its blankets or sheets, here’s a perfect way to use that up too. 

First of all, take your old piece of fabric (or you can buy some if you don’t have any), and cut it into a number of strips of different sizes. Leave one large section for wrapping the bottle in. 

Place the bottle in the middle of the largest piece of fabric and wrap it securely - making sure to cover up both ends. Then with the remaining strips, make ties around the bottle and the fabric to keep it in place. You can mix up the ties, adding as many as you like, and braiding any excess fabric to make different textures. 

Then let your dog get to work chewing the bottle. Be careful to watch your dog, since small parts of fabric (or plastic) from the bottle can create a hazard if they are particularly destructive. 

Scrab fabric DIY dog toy

A DIY rag toy for dogs

(Image credit: The Craft Train)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Materials needed: scraps of fabric (try using old clothes)

Tools needed: Scissors

Skill-level: Easy 

This is quick and easy toy to make, as it can be put together in just a few minutes with just a few scraps of cloth. As it's so easy to make, there's no need to feel guilty if your dog destroys it. 

First, cut some fabric into long strips. You can make these different sizes depending on how large you want the toy to be, or how big your dog is. Once you have your strips, roll them into tube shapes, and tie them together at the top. After this, braid the strips together and secure the other end. 

That's literally all you need to do. If you need more detailed instructions, read the tutorial at The Craft Train. Here, you’ll also learn how to make a tag to turn these into gifts for your doggy friends. 

Keep an eye on your dog when they are playing with anything like this, since loose fibers and fabrics can easily become a choking hazard. 

DIY flirt pole

A flirt pole for a dog

(Image credit: Amazon)

Prep time: 30 minutes

Materials needed: PVC pole (or wooden stick), bungee rope, old toy 

Tools needed: Scissors 

Skill-level: Easy

You can buy one of these rather charmingly named toys, like the one pictured, here on Amazon, but they are really easy to make at home. You can use them to move toys around the floor, making a fun game of catch all the more intriguing for your dog. 

If you want to make a sophisticated version, you can invest in a PVC pole  (with a hollow center), along with some stretchy bungee rope to thread through the middle. Once you’ve done that, tie a toy to the end of the rope, and use it to tease your dog. 

If you want to take a more home-spun approach, you could also forage for a stick when on your next walk, and use string to make a simpler version, too. 

Be careful when playing with sticks and poles with your dog, as certain breeds should be discouraged from jumping.

Make playtime more rewarding 

Making your own dog toys can be more rewarding than simply buying something from the pet store or online. You can use them to help train your pooch, with the flirt pole particularly ideal when teaching commands such as 'stay', 'wait', and 'drop'. Which one will you start with? Don’t forget to let us know if you attempt to make any on this list, or if you come up with any other great ideas for DIY dog toys.

Amy Davies

Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.