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6 DIY Dog Toys to Keep Them Busy (with Pictures)

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

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.

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The Top 6 DIY Dog Toys to Keep Them Busy

1. Fleece Dog Toy

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. Crinkle Dog Toy

Materials: Thick fabric of your choosing, crinkle material, thread
Tools: Sewing machine, fabric scissors, pins
Difficulty Level: Medium

The most challenging part of making this crinkle dog toy is knowing how to operate a sewing machine. However, those who don’t have a sewing machine at home, or don’t know how to use one, could make the project easier by hand-stitching all the material together. Dogs love anything that makes a lot of noise, so these cheap toys are the perfect solution for dogs that like to chew a lot and activate their hunting instincts.


3. Busy Box Enrichment Toy

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.


4. Dog Food Enrichment Bottle

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!


5. Snuffle Mat

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.


6. Jean Dog Ball

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.

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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!


Featured Image Credit: Jim Sluder, Pixabay

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