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DIY puppy toys you can make at home

Black labrador puppy sprinting across the grass after one of the best DIY puppy toys
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re like us and the thought of making something causes you to break out in a sweat, don’t worry because all of the DIY puppy toys below are so simple that even we could knock them together! 

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting time, but if you’ve spent ages selecting the best puppy toys only to find out that your new fur baby would rather play with a cardboard box, then saving your money and getting back to basics can be a great idea. 

Just like our favorite DIY dog toys, these DIY puppy toys will provide your energetic ball of fur with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, engaging all of their senses and helping them grow up to be happy and healthy. 

Puppies explore their world with their mouths and paws, so whether you’re buying a toy from a shop or making one yourself, always make sure it’s safe for them to chew and throw around. Avoid small parts, sharp edges, or any loops or holes that your puppy could get tangled up in.

These DIY puppy toys are all safe options and they’re a  great way of making use of any old or unused items you have lying around at home. Plus, they’re super easy to make and won’t take up much of your time. Here are a few of our top picks...

1) Water Bottle Cruncher

DIY puppy toy water bottle cruncher

(Image credit: Rover.com)

Many puppies go mad for the irresistible crinkly and crunchy sound of water bottles and while all that plastic can be dangerous on its own, a few ingenious pet parents have come up with a great way to make this cheap toy fun and safe.

To make your own water bottle cruncher, you’ll need the following items:

  • Empty water bottle
  • Scissors
  • Dry kibble 
  • An old sock

Directions:

  1. Remove the bottle cap and cut off the ring that sits just below it. Discard the cap
  2. Put some dry kibble inside the water bottle 
  3. Slide the bottle inside an old sock
  4. Tie a tight knot in the sock

You can leave the toy like it is or cut into the top of the sock above the knot to create fringes and make it look a little more fancy. 

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your puppy when using this toy and replace it as soon as it starts to break down. This will ensure they don’t bite their way through the plastic, creating sharp edges that could injure their teeth and gums. 

2) The Octopus

Dog sitting with octopus DIY puppy toy

(Image credit: Rover.com)

If you have a young pup who loves to play fetch or tug of war, then this toy is going to prove a huge hit. It’s a great one to make if you have an old shirt lying around that you don’t know what to do with and if you’re creative, you’ll love the braiding element.

What you’ll need:

  • Old T-shirt
  • Tennis ball
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape

Directions:

  1. Cut the top of the T-shirt from the arms up, so that just the torso portion is left
  2. Cut the hem off at the bottom of the shirt, cut it so that you make one long strip (rather than a circle), and set it aside. Then cut the shirt in half so that it measures approximately 17 x 14 inches. You’ll only need one side of the shirt to make one octopus toy
  3. Cut slits into the shirt all around the edges to create the straggly ends you’ll braid together. Cut in about 2-3 inches and try to make an even number of stragglers
  4. Put the tennis ball in the middle of the T-shirt and wrap the fabric around it
  5. Tie the hem strip around the fabric to secure the ball in place
  6. Cut into the fabric a bit more to make the straggly ends longer, then make braids. Tie a knot at each of the ends. You can extend the ‘octopus arms’ by knotting on scraps from the T-shirt hem

3) Treat Puzzle

Dog playing with a DIY puppy toy made of PVC pipe

(Image credit: vetDepot.com)

If you have a bag of the best puppy treats lying around and you want to make your fur baby do some work for them, then this fun puzzle is just the ticket. This is a particularly good toy to make if you’ve been doing home renovations and have some excess PVC pipe that you want to put to good use.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A piece of PVC pipe appropriate to the size of your pup
  • Two PVC caps or tennis balls
  • A drill
  • Puppy treats 

Directions:

  1. Grab your PVC pipe
  2. Drill holes about 5mm wide all over the pipe – about as wide as your puppy’s treats. You want holes that are big enough to get the treats into but not so big that they all fall out in seconds
  3. Put the treats into the pipe and then seal the ends with the caps or with tennis balls that you’ve cut a small hole into. 
  4. The treat puzzle is now ready for your pup to roll, chew, and throw

4) Braided puppy toy

Selection of braided DIY puppy toys made from old shirts

(Image credit: Instructables.com)

Another quick and easy way to use up those old T-shirts you no longer want is to make this simple yet entertaining braid toy. It's great for tug-of-war and depending on the fabric of the shirts you’re using, it's surprisingly durable.

You’ll need:

  • A couple of old shirts in different colors
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape

Directions:

  1. Cut the hem off the shirts 
  2. Start cutting strips that are about 2-inches wide and about 20-inches long until you end up with nine strips in total
  3. Gather all the strips together and tie a knot at one end and pull firmly to tighten
  4. Separate the strips into three sections and then braid them almost all of the way down
  5. Tie a knot at the end

While you can use any kind of shirt for this toy – shirts that have a bit of give in them will be easier to tie. 

5) Muffin Tin Hide and Seek

DIY puppy toy made from muffin tin and tennis ball photographed on the grass

(Image credit: Preventivevet.com)

This is a great toy for older puppies who are ready for a challenge. It’ll give their brain a workout while also providing them with a satisfying reward at the end of it all. Here’s what you’ll need for these DIY puppy toys:

  • A muffin tin
  • 12 tennis balls
  • Some kibble or puppy treats

Directions:

  1. Pop small portions of kibble or treats into a few of the muffin tins
  2. Place tennis balls over all 12 of the tins
  3. Bring your pup in and watch as they try to figure out which tins contain the kibble

At first, you might like to put kibble in all the tins until your pup has figured out what they need to do. When that becomes too easy, you can limit the kibble to just a few tins. 

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.