dog playing with toy outside

As dog owners, we are always on the lookout for fun, safe ways to keep our pups entertained. We spoil them with treats and toys and love to see them run and play. But let’s face it: buying toy after toy from the store, only to have them destroyed in what seems like immediate fashion, can be tiresome and costly. So, why not upcycle everyday items in your home and create your own toys? Here are six fun DIY dog toys you can make today. [Note: Any cloth or rope material can be swallowed and pose health risk. These toys are not appropriate for large dogs or aggressive chewers.]

T-shirt Rope Toy

Cleaning out your closet? Save those small, stained, or ripped t-shirts and create this special toy – perfect for a game of tug-o-war!

T-shirts (cut into strips)


  1. Take two (2) strands of material and lay in an “X” formation
  2. Take the bottom left point of the “X” and loop in a diagonal so the bottom left is now the upper right
  3. Repeat with bottom right and loop in a diagonal
  4. Repeat sequence until braid completed

Learn more about this knot here:

Want the rope thicker? Use more strands for the braid. Watch:

Sweet Potato Rope Toy

This toy uses sturdy rope and tasty sweet potatoes to keep your pup entertained!

Hemp or jute rope (braided together to make thick)
Sweet potatoes or yams (2-4 depending on size of dog and rope)
Sheet pan and parchment paper (or foil)
Cookie cutter (larger than diameter of rope)
Veggie peeler (optional)

Get full step-by-step instructions here!
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If you think your dog is playing too rough, encourage your dog to take short breaks during play. The breaks only need to be 3-5 seconds long, but that time will allow him or her to calm down and refocus instead of continuing to escalate in energy and excitement.

A refreshing treat that doubles as a toy!

Dog bone treat
Low sodium beef or chicken broth
Ice tray (2)


  1. Pour broth into tray and place dog bone in middle (use plastic wrap to hold in place if needed)
  2. Freeze until frozen
  3. Pour more broth into different ice tray
  4. Take frozen broth and bone and turn upside down so it sits in new, liquid tray
  5. Freeze until frozen
  6. Remove trays
  7. Let pup enjoy!

Check out a similar recipe here:

Treats & Tennis Ball

This toy will have your furry friend running around for ages!

Old t-shirt
Tennis ball


  1. Cut t-shirt into two (2) thick strips (use two t-shirts if needed)
  2. Put in “X” formation
  3. Place tennis ball in the middle
  4. Fold t-shirt strips around tennis ball
  5. Tie with thin piece of t-shirt
  6. Take the tails and cut into strips – still attached to the top of the t-shirt
  7. Braid strips
  8. Knot ends or secure with t-shirt tie
  9. Toss and play with pup!

Learn more here:

Muffin Tin Brain Game

Get your dog playing and challenge their brain with this fun game!

Muffin tin
Tennis ball for each space of the muffin tin
Treats of your choosing (broken or chopped into small pieces)


  1. Place a treat in each hole of muffin tin
  2. Cover holes with tennis balls
  3. Place muffin tin on floor and encourage your pup to check it out

Your dog will sniff out the treats and move the tennis balls to get them! If your pup is timid, show them the treat and encourage them to try again.

The great thing about this game is your dog has to remember if they found the treat already or still need to. This stimulates a healthy dog mind – and keeps them entertained for a while.

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Your dog will grow and learn positive behavior while getting plenty of exercise.

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Interactive Treat Feeder

Dogs love a challenge – especially when there are treats involved! Check out this neat DIY treat feeder.

Three feet of 1.25 inch PVC pipe
Eight (8) 1.25 PVC caps
PVC cement (optional)
A drill
1.5 inch drill bit
Rat-tail file
Vise (optional)
Yields: Four (4) feeders (two one-foot length feeders and 2 six-inch feeders)

Get a full set of instructions here!

DIY Dog Brain Buster Game

Make this great brain buster game for your dog! The great thing about this game is that your dog has to remember if he or she found the treat already or still needs to. This stimulates a healthy dog mind – and keeps them entertained for a while.

Don’t forget to monitor your dog’s playtime and remove any small pieces that may come off to avoid a choking hazard!