Bryan Aulick - DIY Dog Toys
photo by Bryan Aulick|photo by Bryan Aulick

5 Dog Toys You Can Make At Home

We all love to reward our furry friends with new toys, but store bought playthings can get expensive.

Luckily, pooches don’t care about price tags—they just want to have fun! Homemade dog toys are cheap, eco-friendly, reusable, and just as much fun as anything bought at the pet store. Try these ideas for make-it-yourself dog toys, or use them as inspiration to dream up your own playful creation.

For the dog who likes to tug:

Visit your local fabric store and ask for scraps of fleece fabric. Cut them into strips—for bigger dogs you’ll want longer strips, and for smaller dogs you’ll want shorter trips. Then gather all the strips into a handful, tie in a knot, and tug to your heart’s delight!

For the dog who likes to chew:

Sacrifice a pair of old jeans. Cut the denim into strips, then braid them, knot them, unravel some strands—just make it interesting! Scale the rope’s diameter to fit your dog’s mouth size, and be sure to discard any scraps that come loose so your dog doesn’t swallow them. If you want to really spoil your dog, hide some treats inside the knotted denim.

For the dog who likes to fetch:

Try drilling or cutting a hole in an old tennis ball. Thread a rope or cord through the hole in the ball, then tie a knot on each end of the rope to keep it from coming loose. You can use the rope like a handle when throwing the ball, and your pooch has more ways to carry his toy.

For the dog who likes to rip things apart:

Save the cardboard tubes that come inside rolls of paper towels. Get an old newspaper, then wrap small smelly treats inside individual sheets of paper. Stuff the paper into the tube, then let your dog rip it apart to find his tasty snack.

For the dog who’s always curious:

Create a challenging game of find-the-treat! First, find a muffin tin that’s made for 12 regular-sized muffins. (If you don’t have one already, they’re often cheaply available at Goodwill.) Place stinky treats (like small cheese cubes or salami) in some of the holes, but not all. Then place a tennis ball in each of the 12 holes—and let your dog sniff out his tasty treats!
Bryan Aulick—DIY Dog Toys photo by Bryan Aulick

Charlotte Austin

Charlotte Austin is a Seattle-based writer and mountain guide. She has climbed, explored, and led expeditions in North and South America, Nepal, Europe, Alaska, and Patagonia. Her writing has been featured in Women's Adventure, Alpinist, Stay Wild, and other national and international publications. When she's not guiding in the Himalayas, she's exploring her hometown (Seattle, Washington), trying new recipes, and hanging out with Huckleberry, her giant black Great Dane-Lab mix. Read more about their adventures at
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