How to Make Toys for Dogs

Sure, you can go out and buy all kinds of fancy toys for your dog, but why not try your hand at making them yourself? It’s incredibly easy to make a wide range of toys that can provide your pup with mental stimulation and exercise—all you need are everyday items like tennis balls and socks. You can even make chilled toy-treats for hot summer days!
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Simple and Inexpensive Toys Stick a tennis ball into a tube sock. This is about as simple as it gets, but dogs love it! Stuff the tennis ball down into the toe of the sock, then tie off the sock just above the ball.[1]

Alternatively, you can stuff the ball down to the heel of the sock and tie knots at both ends of the ball. Don’t use socks that carry your scent, or you may encourage your pup to go rooting through your sock drawer or laundry basket for their next chew toy! Cut and braid a kitchen towel into a chew rope. Use scissors to cut 2 slits the length of an old kitchen towel, stopping short of one end—you want to end up with 3 towel strands of similar width. Braid these 3 strands one over the other (like you would hair), then knot the loose ends.[2]

Try a washcloth for a really small dog, or a bath towel for a very big dog. Make a crinkly toy with a sock and a plastic bottle. Use a clean, empty plastic water or soda bottle and discard the lid and plastic ring. Crush the air out by hand, then place the bottle in the sock and tie it off just above the bottle.[3]

Many dogs go wild for the crinkling sound this toy makes! Create a great chew toy with a tennis ball and old rope. Grab an old piece of sturdy rope that’s about long. Drill holes into opposite sides of a tennis ball that are just big enough to feed the rope through. Thread the ball to the middle of the rope, then tie knots in the rope to secure the ball in place.[4]

Instead of drilling into the ball while you’re holding it in your hand, secure the ball in a clamp so you can keep your free hand safely away from the drill bit. Empty out a stuffed animal and sew it back up. While some dogs like stuffed toys they can squish their teeth into, others prefer floppier toys they can gnaw on and thrash around. Simply cut the stuffed animal open at a seam, pull out the stuffing, and sew it back up—then see what your dog thinks![5]

Don’t use stuffed animals with buttons or other small pieces that could become choking hazards. [Edit]Mental Stimulation Toys Stuff treats into a plastic milk jug. Discard the milk jug’s cap, plastic ring, and label. Then, pick out a treat your dog likes and that just barely fits through the jug’s opening, and stuff up to a dozen inside. Your dog will work overtime to get every last treat out of the jug![6]

For smaller dogs, a plastic juice bottle will work as well. Sew a “kangaroo pouch” onto a favorite stuffed animal. Choose a stuffed animal that your dog really likes, get a separate piece of fabric and cut out a square, and sew 3 sides of the square onto the toy to create a pouch. Make the pouch just big enough to fit your pup’s favorite treat inside.[7]

Your dog will use their mouth, paws, and whatever else they can to work the treat out of the pouch! Turn a tennis ball into a treat-dispensing puzzle. Use a serrated knife to cut a slit in the tennis ball along one of its seams. Squeeze the sides of the ball to open the slit like a mouth, then fill the ball with kibble. Then, let your dog figure out how to get the ball to “open its mouth” and dispense the treats![8]

When cutting the ball, protect your free hand with a thick glove or, better yet, secure the ball in a clamp. Hide treats in a muffin tin covered with tennis balls. Grab an old muffin tin with 6 or 12 cups in it. Put a treat in half of the cups, then cover every cup with a tennis ball. Your dog will work to figure out how to uncover the cups, and which cups contain the prize.[9]

Switch up where you place the treats every time you present this puzzle. Make a sweet potato rope toy. Cut a sweet potato into slices, cut a hole in the center of each slice, and bake them at for 5 hours to dehydrate them. Then, thread the dehydrated rings onto an section of rope and knot the rope at each end.[10]

Your dog will have to work hard to free the rings from the rope, but they make a tasty reward! Build a treat tube out of PVC pipe. Cut a section of PVC pipe and drill a series of small holes along its length. Use sandpaper to remove any burrs or shards of PVC. Then, stick treats into the pipe and place PVC end caps over each end of the pipe.[11]

Your dog will roll, carry, and bash the pipe around until they figure out how to work the cap off the end and release their treats! [Edit]Frozen Toys for Hot Days Make dog treat “pupsicles” you can use in a toy. Fill an ice cube tray with a mixture of half water and half chicken or beef broth. Freeze the liquid until it’s slushy, then place a bone-shaped dog treat or half of a rawhide chew stick into each cube so they stand upright. Freeze the liquid solid, then pop the treats out and serve them up.[12]

For big dogs, fill disposable plastic cups with the water-broth mix and add a whole rawhide chew stick. You can hand these “pupsicles” out as treats on a hot day, or add them to puzzles to turn them into a toy! Put the “pupsicles” in your chosen food puzzle. For example, you can stick several of them in a lid-free milk jug or large plastic juice bottle. Or, slide them into a length of PVC pipe with small holes drilled in the sides and PVC end caps on each end. Either way, your pup will have to work to get their frozen treat![13]

If it’s scorching hot outside, just give them the treat without all the extra work! Freeze a knot of socks for the simplest frozen toy option. Ball up one tube sock, then stuff it into the other sock. Tie off the outer sock with a double knot. Soak the sock ball under the faucet, then put it in the freezer until it’s rock solid. After that, give it to your dog on a steamy summer day![14]

While it’s tempting to use your old socks for toys like this, it’s best to use fabrics that don’t carry your scent. You don’t want your dog getting used to chewing up your clothes! [Edit]Warnings Don't give the water bottle toy to large dogs, especially those who love to chew. They can chew through the sock and water bottle and potentially digest some of the plastic. [Edit]References [Edit]Quick Summary ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑