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9 DIY Dog Toys to Keep Them Busy (With Pictures)

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

german shepherd puppy playing with a rope toy

There are thousands of dog toys for sale online and in stores. Even though many of them are great, you can often save a lot of money by making your own at home. Not only can you create some unique dog toys out of materials that you’d otherwise throw away, but many of these DIY plans are also a lot more mentally enriching for dogs than your stereotypical bone or ball. If you’ve been thinking about making your dog their own toys, then this article is full of easy plans for you to follow.



The 9 DIY Dog Toys to Keep Them Busy

1. DIY Fleece Dog Toy by Mary Martha Mama

DIY Fleece Dog Toy Tutorial
Image Credit: marymarthamama
Materials: Fleece fabric
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

The great thing about this DIY fleece dog rope is that there are multiple tutorials to follow to make the ropes more or less intricate. If you’re a little nervous about your braiding skills, then you can start with the first tutorial. Once you’re ready for a bigger challenge, all you have to do is work your way down the list.

These dog toys are cheap and easy to make. The only tools that you need are scissors to cut the fleece into strips. By making these at home, you can give your dog some fun new toys and pick up a new skill set in the process.

2. DIY Busy Box Enrichment Toy by Wear Wag Repeat

Image Credit: wearwagrepeat
Materials: Cardboard box, egg carton, squeaker balls, loose treats, old clothes, dish towel, paper grocery bag, etc.
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy

A lot of shelters make these busy boxes for dogs because they can be made with just about anything you have lying around the house. The purpose is to fill a box with treats that have been wrapped in materials. They are like a puzzle for your dogs. Once they open the box, they have to figure out how to get the treats out. Of course, your dog does need to be supervised the entire time to ensure they don’t swallow anything that they shouldn’t, but it is a great project to keep their minds sharp.

3. DIY Dog Food Enrichment Bottle by Kolchak Puggle

Image Credit: kolchakpuggle
Materials: Plastic, wide-mouth water bottle, soft foam balls, and dog treats or kibble
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy

The best toys are the ones that make your dog think. One of the easiest enrichment toys you can make requires only a water bottle, foam ball, and some of your pet’s favorite treats or kibble. This toy only takes a few minutes to make. Once complete, it’s up to your dog to figure out how to move the ball away from the bottle’s opening and watch the treats come pouring out. Better yet, you more than likely already have all of the required materials at home!

4. DIY Snuffle Mat by Proud Dog Mom

DIY Snuffle Mat- An Interactive Dog Toy That Busts Doggy Boredom
Image Credit: prouddogmom
Materials: Rubber sink mat, sharpie, fleece
Tools: Screwdriver, scissors
Difficulty Level: Medium

This snuffle mat toy is a little more time-consuming than other DIY toys but is one that will last for months. What exactly is a snuffle mat? The toy consists of a bunch of fabric strips that are tied to a mat. You hide dog treats inside the crevices of the mat, and your dog has to sniff them out, figure out how to remove them, and then enjoy their treat. It is meant to mimic your pup’s natural foraging and hunting skills and get them in touch with their inner wolf.

5. DIY Jean Dog Ball by Happiest Camper

DIY Dog Toys – Jean Dog Ball with Free Pattern
Image Credit: happiestcamper
Materials: Denim, cotton filling, chalk or marker, thread, sewing pattern
Tools: Sewing machine, scissors, needle, pins
Difficulty Level: Medium

If your dog can’t stop tearing apart their toy balls, then this easy-sew denim dog ball is a perfect way to save you some money and reuse your old jeans. You do have to have a sewing machine and some basic sewing skills to create this toy, so it is a little harder than other toys on this list. However, you can make many of them in one sitting and can stuff the balls with fun things like toys or squeakers that act as a reward once they tear it open. Be sure to supervise your pup while they play with them since you don’t want them swallowing the cotton filling or denim fabric.

6. Sweet Potato DIY Dog Toy by Indestructible

Image Credit: Instructables

Materials: Jute or hemp rope, foil or parchment paper, sheet pan, two to four sweet potatoes
Tools: Oven veggie peeler, knife, round cookie cutter
Difficulty Level: Medium

This indestructible Sweet Potato Dog Toy is the perfect DIY dog toy/treat combination if you want to keep your dog out of trouble. The sweet potatoes are tasty, and the rope is strong, so it is perfect for dogs who love nothing more than a good chewing session. It’s a great option for teething puppies, and you don’t have to worry about them chewing off small pieces since the toy is edible.

After drying out and cooking the sweet potatoes, you’ll allow them to cool, string them on the rope, and you’re finished.

7. DIY Woven Rope Bone Toy by Instructables

Image Credit: Instructables

Materials: Two lacrosse balls, cardboard, pins, duct tape, cotton rope
Tools: Scissors, printer
Difficulty Level: Hard

This Woven Rope Bone Toy is cute and highly durable. It’s a challenging plan to construct, but you can manage it if you’re good with a printer and have DIY skills. Though it’s an excellent toy, some DIYers had problems tying the knots.

However, this is the perfect toy for small or large dogs, as you can choose the rope size you use. While this one may take some concentration and be difficult to pull off, the results make it well worth the work.

8. DIY Snuffle Dog Ball Toy by Popular Doodle

Image Credit: PopularDoodle.com

Materials: Cardboard, fabric
Tools: Ruler, scissors, zip ties, Xacto knife, hot glue gun, sandpaper
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you’re looking for something to keep your pet occupied for many hours, the Snuffle Dog Ball Toy should undoubtedly be on your to-do list. This is the easiest dog toy on our list to make, and you only need cardboard and fabric as materials; you might have all of these things lying around your home.

Since the ball is made of folded cloth, you can hide treats inside and challenge your pet physically and mentally. Another great thing about this DIY dog toy is that you can throw it in the washing machine to get it clean when it gets dirty.

9. Doggie Poochie Person Play DIY Toy by Instructables

Image Credit: Instructables

Materials: Rope, tennis ball, wire
Tools: Needle nose pliers, scissors, lighter, tape measure, marker, craft knife
Difficulty Level: Hard

By far the most adorable dog toy on our list, the Doggie Poochie Person Play Toy is for every breed size and will give your furry friend several hours of enjoyment. This toy is tightly woven together and recommended for even the roughest and toughest chewers. The only problem you might have is getting it away from your dog when playtime is over. Your dog can have its own little person, but it’s one that doesn’t mind your dog chewing on it.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 5


Final Thoughts

Going to the nearest pet store and picking out a few dog toys is fine and all, but they can also be a bit expensive over time—especially if your pup likes to demolish every toy they can get their paws on. Making dog toys and puzzles at home saves you money and is a great activity that the whole family can get involved in. You also get to use materials that would’ve otherwise been thrown out and potentially learn a few new skills.

Your dogs might not know that you put work into them, but the joy on their faces when you present them with a new toy is well worth the effort!

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Featured Image Credit: Jim Sluder, Pixabay

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