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11 DIY Dog Rope Toys You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Dog playing with toys

Dog rope toys offer a great way for the two of you to play together. They allow your dog to be a little rough with pulling and chewing while, depending on the design, allowing you to get your fingers out of the way of accidental bites. And because rope is more difficult to destroy than other soft materials used in the construction of typical toys, they can last much longer. However, they are surprisingly expensive, especially if you have to buy several.

We have found 11 DIY dog ropes that you can make yourself, at home, assuming that you have the materials laying around. Most are knotted, tied, or braided, so do not require any potentially harmful glue and the designs can be adjusted to accommodate the size of your dog. Although most do use rope, or string, there are some upcycled designs that use items like old t-shirts.

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The 11 DIY Dog Rope Toys Plans

1. Rope Tug Toy

Material: Rope, Tennis Ball
Difficulty: Easy

This rope tug toy uses a tennis ball and any dog-safe rope you can find. The plans teach you the basics of how to braid the rope, which encapsulates the tennis ball in the middle and has two tail ends. The weight of the ball section means that the toy can be thrown, while the ball section will comfortably fit in most dogs’ mouths, making for a fun tug toy.

2. Heavy-Duty Fleece Rope Dog Toy

Material: Fleece
Difficulty: Easy

Rope dog toys are meant as supervised dog toys, and you shouldn’t let your dog sit and chew on them unsupervised because they can ingest the rope fibers. This heavy-duty fleece rope dog toy is a good alternative that uses fleece remnants instead. Fleece is very difficult to chew through and break down, which means that it is also suitable for those dogs with sharp teeth that can seemingly get through any dog toy.

3. Simple Rope Dog Toy

Material: Cotton Rope
Difficulty: Easy

The simple rope dog toy uses cotton rope, that is first untangled and then utilizes a Matthew Walker knot. The Matthew Walker knot is essentially a series of knots that are tied over one another. Don’t worry, the plan teaches you how to successfully tie a Matthew Walker. It also shows you how to cut the ends and to comb them from a tidier finish. The design is simple, but it is an effective way of creating your own traditional dog rope toy.

4. Rope Ball Surprise Dog Toy

Material: Rope, Dog Treat
Difficulty: Easy

The rope ball surprise dog toy combines the benefits of a virtually indestructible rope ball with the interactive pleasure of a treat toy, because it contains a dog treat in the center. It uses a monkey knot, which you will learn to master thanks to the toy instructions, and you can replace the treat once your dog figures out how to get it.

5. Ball And Rope Dog Toy

Material: Cotton Rope, Lacrosse Ball
Difficulty: Easy

The ball and rope dog toy is another classic design. It has a rope ball at one end and a knotted tail. The weighted ball end combined with the long tail makes it really easy to swing around and throw so is an especially good toy for those dogs that love to chase. It uses a lacrosse ball in the middle of the knot rope, which gives it a strong core and also makes it easy to get that knotted ball look.

6. No-Sew T-Shirt Rope Dog Toy

Material: T-shirt
Difficulty: Easy

The no-sew t-shirt rope dog toy looks like a traditional rope toy but rather than using cotton rope, it uses a lightly worn but no longer required t-shirt. You will cut the t-shirt into strips and then use these strips to make the looped rope toy. The instructions claim it can be finished in 20 minutes while watching TV and is a great way to upcycle old clothing.

7. Floating Rope Dog Toy

Material: Polypropylene Rope
Difficulty: Easy

There are designs for five different toys here, but they are all floating dog toys, so called because they are made from polypropylene rope and they will float in puddles, ponds, and any other bodies of water. The rope color doesn’t run even when it is soaking wet and it’s resistant to bacteria, which makes it a good choice as a pet-safe toy material.

8. Dog Rope Tennis Ball Toy

Material: Cotton Rope, Tennis Balls
Difficulty: Easy

There are two toys that tend to prove very popular with active dogs: rope toys, of course, and tennis balls. Tennis balls are not only great because they are easy for humans to throw but are ideal because they comfortably fit in most dogs’ mouths. The dog rope tennis ball toy combines these two toy types to make a toy that is ideal for chewing and for chasing. The plans included a few variations, according to the number of tennis balls you have or the amount of effort you want to expend in the process.

9. Double (Infinity) Loop Dog Tug Toy

Material: Fleece
Difficulty: Easy

This is another design that uses lengths of fleece, which you can either buy especially for making dog toys or you can upcycle from an old jacket or other item. It is an infinity or double loop which means that you and your dog have an end to comfortably hold on to while pulling. It also uses two colors of fleece which look great when combined into a single braid.

10. Rope Dog Toy

Material: Climbing Rope
Difficulty: Easy

This design is another to use the monkey’s first knot. It uses several lengths of rope, which are knotted into the monkey’s first and have retaining knots that prevent the lengths from being pulled free. With various strands of rope sticking out it is a fun toy for your dog and it brings a little unpredictability into its roll or bounce, keeping active dogs on their toes.

11. Ring Dog Toy

Material: Climbing Rope
Difficulty: Easy

The rope dog toy is, as the name suggests, a ring shape that makes it easy for your dog to grab and for you to hold the other end. The instructions use two different colors of rope for visual effect, and require four lengths of rope, which you can cut yourself from a single or two pieces. The design can be modified to make larger ring toys, if required.

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What Kind Of Rope Do You Use For Dog Toys?

Black dog with chew toy
Image Credit: PickPik

There are numerous types of rope that can be purchased from craft and hardware stores, as well as those from outdoor and other stores. However, safety should come first. Natural rope is usually considered safest because if your dog does chew the rope apart and ingest one or two of the fibers, they shouldn’t be toxic.

Polypropylene rope is another option, and has the benefit of buoyancy, while also being resistant to bacteria and lightweight.

One alternative to using rope is to use fleece or even old t-shirts. These don’t break down in the same way so there isn’t the danger of your dog swallowing too many rope fibers.

Is A Rope Toy Good For Dogs?

There are some concerns over giving rope toys to dogs. Dogs that chew the rope may pull off small strands or fibers and ingest them. Swallowing a single strand shouldn’t cause a major problem, but if your dog sits happily chewing away on the toy for hours and swallows multiple strands, it can cause a gastrointestinal blockage that makes them quite ill. As such, rope toys are meant as supervised toys. They should only be played with when you or another human is around to monitor the playing and ensure that the toy isn’t destroyed completely.

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Dog rope toys are great, supervised toys that can make any playtime fun. They encourage pulling, tugging, chasing, and carrying, and heavy-duty ones are very difficult even for power chewers to destroy completely. If you don’t want to have to keep buying new rope toys, the plans and guides above will help you make your own DIY rope dog toys to keep your dog satisfied for hours on end.

Featured Image Credit: skeeze, Pixabay

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