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101 Frugal Dog Toys You Can Make (and more!)

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, September 08, 2016 | 0 comments
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Image: Braided Rope toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
You know your dog best – some of these toys won't last more than a couple of minutes for some dogs, and some of these toys might not be safe for YOUR dog. Most of these toys are not good for hard core chewers.

Use your best judgment to keep your dog safe, remove the toy immediately if your dog starts to chew or swallow any pieces. We aren’t responsible for any injuries caused from the following homemade dog toys tutorials – so please play responsibly!
Image: Water Bottle toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Water Bottle toy © Catherine Watt
of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved

Water Bottle toy:
1. Get an empty water plastic bottle and a sock that is at least 5 inches longer than the bottle. Put the bottle into the sock. Tie a knot at the open end of the sock. Tie the knot tight, as your dog may chew on it and it could become loose over time. Add some kibble for an added shaky noise!

2. DIY Plastic Bottle Toy - Does your dog love the crinkly sound of water bottles? Make a t-shirt-wrapped water bottle toy. Old, ripped, stained t-shirt - your dog won't care!

3. DIY Dog Toy with Video Tutorial - Water Bottle and Sock Dog Toy - See just how quick and easy this toy is to make (Video included)

4. Making Safe and Effective Pet Toys At Home: Water Bottle Sock Puppet - Sock puppets are back (Video included)

Ball toy:
5. Fill and old sock with three tennis balls. Knot the top. It usually took about a week for my dog to tear a hole in the sock, but then you just pop the tennis balls in a new sock, and voila!

6. Tennis Ball/T-shirt Toss toy - Cut an old t-shirt up, braid and and add a tennis ball. Toss it, tug it, whatever your pup wants!

Thinking Games:
7. Hide and Seek: Grab some boxes, spread them around a room, and hide treats in a few of them. Tell your dog to search or find it, and let your dog find the treats. Dogs quickly learn what is expected of them, and most dogs outright love this game. Increase the difficulty by loosely closing the boxes, requiring your dog to figure out how to get inside. Make it it even more difficult by removing the boxes and hiding the treats randomly among standard items in the room.

Ball Puzzle Treat toy:
8. Does your dog wolf down his food? If your dog eats too fast, try putting a street hockey ball in his food bowl. Your dog will be forced to move the ball around to get to the food, so will eat slower.

9. Tennis Ball Treat Puzzle Toy - Regular tennis balls are cheaply made and the glue they use can be toxic to your dog. Purchase pet-safe balls from your local pet store - to quickly turn a tennis ball into a puzzle toy for your dog!

10. DIY Interactive Tennis ball dog toy - Just scissors and a pet-safe tennis ball will make this toy happen! (Video included)

Image: Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved

Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game:
11. You need a muffin/cupcake baking pan, and balls to play this game - you can use a 6, 12 or even 18-cup pan. I like to use street hockey balls and pool balls for this instead of tennis balls, since I can wash them and they last forever! Put a bit of kibble or a special treat in each muffin cup, put a ball on top, and let your dog figure out how to get to their kibble/treat! (For little dogs you could use a mini cupcake tins and golf balls or hollow practice golf balls)
Image: Mini Cupcake/Ball Game (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Mini Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
12. DIY Interactive Game for Dogs - The muffin tin and tennis ball game is winter fun - muffin tin and tennis ball game - Get your pup to use their noggin!

13. How to Make a Dog Game Puzzle - Here's an easy muffin tin and tennis ball game to put together that will interest and entertain your dog. (Video)

PVC Puzzle toy:
14. DIY PVC Puzzle Dog Toy - You simply drop some kibble in the holes, maybe smear some (xylitol-free) peanut butter in, and Voila! your pup is entertained for a little while. And uses her brain in the process!

15. DIY: How to Make an Interactive Feeder or Toy - Good way to get your dog’s brain working - With a 3-foot length of PVC, you can make up to four feeders: two one-foot lengths and two six-inch lengths for small dogs and cats.

Bottle/Jar Puzzle toy:
16. How to make an interactive dog toy - All you need is a plastic container, a pair of scissors, and some kibble, to create an interactive dog toy. Why waste money at the store on a food dispensing toy when you can make one at home! (Video)

17. Homemade treat dispensing dog toy - How to make your own treat dispensing dog toy from a empty, cleaned out peanut butter jar! (Video)

18. Entertaining Your Furry Kids! Drill holes in the lid of the not-quite empty peanut butter container, throw in some of your dog’s kibble, and watch your dog bat it around trying to get the food to fall out. (Peanut butter - watch out for xylitol)

19. Handmade Treat toy - Cut some holes in a water bottle file the raw edges, and add some kibble! Yes, it's that simple!

20. Try this easy DIY Dog Boredom Buster! - Really fun puzzle - simple to make. (I would use paper towel rolls instead)
 Also great for fast eaters – it will force them to slow down and exhaust them mentally at the same time!

Fabric Puzzle toy:
21. This interactive dog toy is the ultimate DIY dog boredom buster! - Grab a toy that you can fill and some old socks (or use strips of material) from around the house. Wrap your dog's treats around the socks. Push the sock with the treat inside the dog toy. Continue to add more socks with treats until the toy is full and your dog cannot contain his excitement any longer. Watch your pooch’s brain power at work as they try to figure out how to get the treats out!

22. Treats in a Glove - Place treats in the fingers of an old glove. (My dog would just destroy the glove to get to the treats!)

Image: Bottle Spinner Puzzle Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Bottle Spinner Puzzle Game © Catherine Watt
of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Bottle Spinner toy:
23. Bella's Bottle Game - DIY Bottle Spinner Puzzle Game - This looks like so much fun, kind of like a slot machine for dogs. Give it a spin and see what you win! (Video)

24. Easy Treat/Dog Food Dispenser Tutorial - Make this food/treat dispenser out of a few pieces of wood and plastic bottles to amuse your dog.

25. Fun DIY Dog Toy and Treat Dispenser - Made this dog toy and dog treat dispenser for your dog, with just a few basic household supplies.

Snuffle Mat
Image: Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved
26. You can make your Snuffle Mat out of anything with big enough holes to thread the fleece thru. I used a plastic square of fake grass I found at the Dollar store, pulling off the plastic grass first. I cut a polar fleece dog blanket (also found at the Dollar store) into 1 inch by 16 inches long strips. It took three dog blankets to cover a 12 inch square. Tie the strips in every hole, and when you are done, just toss in some kibble and let your dog snuffle for it!

27. Snuffle Mat Mayhem - A snuffle mat is a great easy to make (although a little time consuming) enrichment toy for your dog or cat. This can be used for dry food or dry treats and encourages your pets natural skills at sniffing and snuffling food out. (Video included)

Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved
28. How to Make a Snuffle Mat - Puzzle Game for Dogs - great DIY puzzle game for dogs. (Video)

29. Making a Snuffle Mat - Once you’ve tied your polar fleece through every hole in every direction, you have a truly spectacular example of an enrichment toy! The Snuffle Mat provides soft, dense substrate for your dog to sniff and snuffle into as he looks for treats. (Video included)

Cardboard toys:
30. Cardboard box with treats (Destruction intended.) Take an empty cardboard box. Cereal boxes and egg cartons work well for this. Put a few treats inside, then tape the box closed with masking tape.Watch your dog tear it to shreds! (Supervision required!)

31. Free dog chew toy using a paper towel roll - The method is super fast, easy, and — one more time, y’all — it’s free! (I would use a paper towel roll instead)
32. Catster DIY: 5 Cat Toys I Made from Empty Toilet Paper Rolls - Simple Rings: This one is about as uncomplicated as it gets. Ring ball: a variation of the ring toy. Sunshine Toy: Grab a pair of scissors, and within a couple of minutes, your cat will be on the fringe. Treat Rattle: cats love noisy toys and this one fits the bill, for sure. Treat Puzzle: You can purchase toys like these, but why would you when you can create one from empty paper rolls? (Again, I would use paper towel rolls instead)

Image: Braided Rope Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope toy:
33. No-Sew Rope Toy - This is really easy and quick to make — I am sure you already have everything you need to get started. I wanted a few different colours in my toys, so I used four t-shirts, but then I ended up with six toys. So you probably could make this with just one old t-shirt. Perfect for chewing and tug-of-war!

34. DIY T-Shirt Toy - A toss-able toy made from braided old t-shirts - Grab two t-shirts, some scissors and quickly fashion this T-shirt Dog Toy for your furry love.

35. Make a Dog Toy Out of Dish Towels - Braided toy made from your old dish towels. Use your old rags. Also works with napkins and orphan socks, for smaller pups.

36. Homemade Dog Toy Rope - Recycle your clothes by creating a Rope Toy for your dog out of old shirts. This is an irresistible way to save money, recycle old clothes, and create a free toy for your dog!

37. DIY T-Shirt Dog Toy - made from old t-shirts- Once the dogs start tugging on them - a lot of strings loosen up - so I was able to tie it into a circle and make it last a little longer!

38. DIY Dog Toy from t-shirt yarn - More ways to use those old tee shirts - To make this great toy for your dog use 12 strings t-shirt yarn about 1 to 2 yards long.

39. Homemade DIY Fleece Dog Toy - Watch how easy this is to make. These are super simple to make! You can use old t-shirts or blankets to make fun and free toys to donate to dogs in need at your local animal shelter. (Video)

40. Homemade Olympic Ring Dog Toy - Perfect for your aspiring athlete - these Olympic Rings are a chew toy will keep your dog occupied while you’re glued into the TV cheering for your favourite team!

41. No-Sew Dog Toy - braided doggy tug toys with a loop!

Image: Octopus Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Octopus Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Octopus Braided toy:
42. DIY Ball Dog toy toss-able toy - use an old squeaky ball from one of your dog's toys and one of dad’s old stained polo shirts.

43. T-Shirt Ball and Tug Dog Toy - Don't toss that old T-shirt! Snip it up to make this toy for your furry friend!

44. DIY Dog Toy – The Purple Wubba - Because the world needs more purple wubbas! Make your dog his next favorite toy from old pajamas! Mitchell Crisp shows how to easily turn your old PJs into a great toy that's fun to make and that your dog will love! (Video)

45. DIY Knotted Tee Shirt Strips Dog Toy - tie a knot in the middle and braid the fringe for a dog toy with legs!

46. No Sew Fleece Octopus - How cute are these Yarn or Fleece Octopus and they are a fabulous fun and inexpensive No Sew Project that you will love to try!

47. DIY Dog Toy: Tennis Ball Buddy – Supplies: Tennis ball; strips of sturdy cloth from a kitchen towel, bath towel or blue jeans long enough to make nice tassels at both ends of the ball.

Image: Denim Knot Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Denim Knot Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Knot toy:
48. Reclaimed Towel dog toy - Tie an old towel into a knot to make a great pup toy!

49. Sock Chew Toy - Frozen knot of socks. Here is an idea of a cheap chew toy that you can make from materials you find at home! Most pups just love it!

50. Denim Dog Toy - Got some old tattered jeans? Recycle them into a denim knot toy!

51. Simple DIY No-Sew Denim Dog Toy - If you have a tired pair of denim jeans and not-so-tired dog, then this simple no-sew DIY dog toy is the perfect fit...even if the jeans aren't!

Rope toys:
52. (Almost) Indestructible Chew toy - made from Hemp or jute rope and dried sweet potatoes or yams.

53. Rope Dog Toys for Heavy Chewers - Hand-tied rope toys for super chompin’ chewers. These easy to make colorful rope toys are great for any size dog.

54. Ring Dog toy - Create this two-tone ring dog toy by combining two lengths of the basic 4 strand crown knot. Easily adjust the size and scale of this toy based on the rope or the size of your pet.

55. Rope Dog Toy - A knotty ball that's fun to tie! Make a monkey's fist and the extra bits make the tails.

56. Bottle/Ball/Rope Toy - Make this one with a plastic bottle, tennis ball and some rope, add some kibble to add to the fun

57. Rope Ball Surprise Dog Toy - The surprise part of this otherwise-straightforward rope knot toy is the treat inside!

58. Y Shaped Dog Tug and Toss Toy - A little extra strength for the heavy duty chewers out there. These easy to make colorful rope toys are great for any size dog.

59. Ball and rope dog toy - This toy has a long tail which is great for swinging it around to throw it for fetch, or for playing tug-a-war. At the dog park, someone call it a fishing line for dogs.

60. Poochie Person Play Toy for Dogs - Give your dog someone else to chew on. Your dogs will love this great toy!

61. Woven Rope Bone - Heavy duty knots - make toys that are much better than the ones you can get in a store!

62. Spiral Lanyard Stitch Rope Dog Toy Tutorial - Remember the lanyard making from childhood? Use it to make a rope dog toy using poly rope in 2 colors OR para-cord for smaller dogs!

63. How to Make a Spring Pole – All you need is a spring, rope, and a place to hang it. The rope part of the spring pole is for the dog to grab onto. Any type of relatively thick rope, or even a fleece tug toy.

Ball Throw:
64. Launchable Dog Slingshot Ball - Simple slingshot made out of a hanger, surgical tubing, and a ball. (Video included)

65. Homemade Toss Ball Toy - Here’s how to make your dog a toss ball toy from a tennis ball and rope. It takes just a few minutes to make and are very inexpensive.

66. Dog Toy Catapult - sends a ball really far and the dog can reload it himself. All you need is a wooden board, screws, giant long nail, rubber bands, box lid, a giant spoon or scooper, and a dog toy.

67. Launchable Dog Slingshot Ball - This looks like it will be incredibly fun to play with. That ball really flies! (Video)

68. Homemade Throwing tug toy – This is a step by step instruction on how to splice three strand twisted cotton rope into a small circle with a tennis ball in the center to act as a dog toy. This line splicing is often used by sailors but for today it's for the dog toy. Makes a nice gift for any dog or dog lover. The rope/ line used in the video was purchased at a feed and tack store and is rated for animal use. Do not use nylon for dog toys. (Video)

69. Simple Ideas to Make Dog Toys - swinging sock ball and bright colored sock ball - holes don't matter when you use old socks to make dog toys!

Frozen Treats and Chews:
70. Super Simple DIY Frozen Socks Dog Toy - Takes a little longer than the towel toy, but just as easy! All you need is
socks. The longer the socks are, the easier it will be to make this.

71. Bully Stick Pupsicles - Replace the rawhide stick in these directions with a bully stick - uses low salt beef or chicken broth!

72. Pupsicles - Make and toss a bunch into a zip-lock bag and store in the freezer. What healthy treat could you use instead of Milkbone?

73. Doggy Ice Lick - Keep your canine friends cool this summer by making an ice lick that will your dog's interest by freezing chew toys inside a bucket filled with a mix of water and chicken broth.

74. Frozen dog treats - Frozen dog treats are a welcome treat for a trip to the beach, laying in the sun pool side or a fun filled Frisbee day at the beach.

75. Make polar fleece tug toys - 18-20" polar fleece, about 2" wide, 6 pieces. Knot one end, braid loosely. Knot the other end. BONUS - if they are soaked in water and placed on a cookie sheet until frozen they make excellent teething toys. Once they are frozen they can be stored in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. They can be reused over and over until they fall apart. Thanks to Heather Harton for this frugal dog toy idea!

Image: Flirt Pole Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Flirt Pole Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Flirt Pole toy:
76. Dog Toy Fishing Pole - A chasin’ and fetchin’ toy. Change the bait for a new game anytime you want! It's super simple and only costs about $2-$3 in materials
77. Build your own Flirt Pole - Great exercise, jumping at toy gives full body workout. This is just a pole, a string, and dog toy at the end, but it will make massive gains in your dog’s posterior. (Video included)

78. Prey Stick - I knew these toys existed out there but figured there must be an easy, cheap way to make one. Good way to teach chasing skills on the way to retrieving. (Video)

79. Wolf Stick - Since it’s interactive, this turns out to be the best darn toy for an energetic dog — ever! All it takes is one trip to the home supply store, a few slices with the scissors and a series of simple square knots.

Image: Fox Tail Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Fox Tail Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Foxtail Dog toy:
80. To make a foxtail dog toy you could just drop a tennis ball in one leg of old pantyhose or leggings, and tie a knot!

81. Homemade Foxtail-type Toy - This is a fairly simple way to reuse an old tennis ball to make a fun and entertaining toy. If you've never played with a Foxtail, they are surprisingly fun!

82. How to make a home made foxtail ball - This one is made out of several grocery bags and a tennis ball - seems like a lot of work, I think I would save the cutting of the bags and just knot several together. (Video)

Fleece Dog toy:
83. Fleece rope with a tennis ball in the middle - Take three strips of fleece material, braid them together, and then when you are halfway done take a tennis ball and wrap it in one of the strips so that it is covered, then keep braiding the rest of the rope. Tie off the end. The result is similar to this toy except the tennis ball is covered in fleece.

84. Fleece Puff dog toy - Use up your scraps of fleece. Better suited for light chewers. These would be great to make for cats too. I could see them tied onto a string and bounced around the room with a cat in hot pursuit!

85. Homemade Fleece Dog Toys - A leggy toy made of fleece scraps. Great toy for tug-of-war battles. This toy is called Legs, because it seems to have four legs hanging down from a center knot.

Sewn toys:
86. Goofy Alien Stuffie - Made from a felted sweater! These toys are fun to make and a great and special alternative to store bought toys.

87. Do It Yourself Christmas Dog Chew Toy - how to make a felt Christmas tree dog toy (which any dog would love to get in their stocking)!

88. Restuffable, Easy DIY Dog Toy - This easy, DIY dog toy will let you rescue destuffed toys and convert them to one your dog can unstuff over and over.

89. DIY homemade puppy toy - It’s simple, yet rugged, ragged, and apparently chewable!

90. Hopefully Indestructible DIY Dog Toy - Somehow I don’t think its indestructible. So why bother making dog toys? Because it's a fun way to use up fabric scraps from other projects, and a good way to improve and practice your sewing skills!

91. Homemade Squeaky Dog Toy - If you make them yourself, you can save money and re-purpose any non-punctured squeakers your dog has gutted. Plus, you can choose the materials and textures your dog likes, perfect for the picky toy dog.

92. Guide to Crocheting Dog Toys - If you have a dog, you probably think of him as a member of the family… so wouldn’t you want to crochet him a sweet toy? When crocheting for a dog, safety is the top priority!

Image: Agility Training © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Agility Training - add tires as needed
© Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Agility Training:
93. DIY Puppie Balance Board Toy - Teaching your puppy balance skills is a great way to increase focus, strength, and body awareness. This balance board is probably one of the easiest things you can make. If you go to the lumber aisle in your local hardware store, you should find a selection of 2 ft by 2 ft pre-cut boards.

94. DIY Agility Jump Dog Toy - An agility jump is probably the easiest obstacle you can make, and since they retail for several times the material cost, you can save a lot of money while you're at it!

95. DIY Agility Course A-Frame - With A-Frames ranging from $500 bucks to $1,000 or more I figured I would save some cash, have some fun, and build my dog an Agility A-Frame to practice on!

96. DIY Dog Agility Tire Jump - Build It Yourself Agility Equipment

Miscellaneous toys:
97. Super Tug Toy – if you are crafty, you could probably make your own! See the video and photo instructions for this Super Tug dog toys and read their important safety warnings and tips.

98. Indoor Frisbee - Tutorial is actually for a t-shirt braided rug, but simply stop making it when you get Frisbee-sized toy! This project is a great way to put all of those colorful junior high track/soccer/rugby/quidditch shirts to use.

99. DIY Ball Toy for Blind Dogs - Because every dog deserves a toy - I found the solution that works: a large size jingle bell stuffed into the Kong-brand Air Dog oversized tennis ball.

100. Make-Your-Own Soda Pop Sprinkler - If the heat is getting to you and your dog, and you have a backyard to play in, no matter how small, this would be a fun way to cool off!

101. DIY Project Handy Tugger Toy - The Handy Tugger will satisfy the toughest of tuggers. Use different types of gloves for the tugger ends. You can also vary the tube, using socks or other materials. If you have two or more dogs, they’ll certainly learn quickly what the tugger is all about!

Ten More Fun DIY Pet Stuff!  
102. Easy DIY Mud Puppy Mittens - a little pocket-shaped towel that does double-duty: mopping up the wet and catching the dry (leaving cleaner doggie feet and your hallways). Hangs neatly on a doorknob or hook when not in use!

103. Cargo Pants Convert to Dog Cooling Vest - Need to keep your pooch cool for long walks on hot sunny days? Well look no further for this multipurpose vest will fit the bill (and your dog)!

104. How to Make a Cat Tent - All you need is a cardboard box, a cushion or cat bedding and an old t-shirt to make this cat tent!

105. Old T-shirt Cat bed - made out of four, simple items: a t-shirt, two hangers, and a pillow.

106. Sweatshirt Pet Bed - Make a cozy and soft sleeping spot for your pet.

107. No-Sew Pet Bed - This pet bed looks pretty simple to make and needs no sewing at all! Probably much cheaper than buying one, and you can wash it!

108. No-Sew Blue Jeans Portable Lap Dog Bed - some blue jeans and some pillows - stuff the jeans and use them as a dog bed!

109. DIY Doggy Crate Cover - quick , easy version of a fleece crate cover!

110. Bacon Bark Sticks - a dog biscuit recipe made with real bacon and bacon fat.

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About Catherine: I have been writing frugal tips since 1982, when I was a young divorced mom of two - for my baby product company, Born to Love. I am now mom to three sons, who are all grown up, grandma to three - and happily re-married to a wonderful man. We have rescued two little dogs, Denny and Dexter - and a cat, Bella.

Questions? Email me at catherine (at) frugal-freebies.com or post to my Facebook Fan Page!

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