4 DIY Upcycled Dog Toys You Can Make at Home!

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It’s important for our pets to have a variety of toys to stimulate them mentally and physically. If your dog doesn’t have objects designated for chewing and playing, they are more likely to display other behavioral problems that will leave your furniture, clothes, and carpets wishing you had taken action earlier.

You don’t need anything fancy to occupy your dog; in fact, you can make their toys yourself, and your pup won’t even notice a difference between your DIY rope toy and the one you spent $20 on at the pet store. 

Making your own DIY dog toys is also environmentally conscious; using materials you already have in your house to make upcycled toys helps reduce your carbon footprint (or pawprint) by limiting the waste produced in the manufacturing, packaging, and transport of the toy before it reaches your dog’s mouth.

Buying endless toys for your dog might be getting expensive, especially if your pooch is notorious for ripping out stuffing and chewing through all materials. Maybe you are trying to be more environmentally conscious. Or you’re simply looking for an outlet for your own creative energies and want to make something special for your dog.

If you relate to any of these scenarios, this article is for you! We teach you how to make 4 types of DIY dog toys from materials you likely already have on hand!


Simple DIY dog toys

1. Ball tug toy

The only materials you’ll need for this toy are an old t-shirt, a tennis ball (a lacrosse ball or baseball will also do the trick) and a pair of scissors. 

Use the scissors to cut the t-shirt into strips: you’ll need 2 strips about 5 inches thick, and one smaller strip about 2 inches thick. Make small cuts at the ends of these pieces so that they unfold and double in length. 

Lay the two larger pieces in an X shape, and place the ball in the middle. Wrap all the fabric around the ball, and use your thinnest strip to tie a knot at the bottom of the ball to secure it all together.

You can leave the toy like this, or get creative by weaving and braiding the ends! Make a four-stranded braid with the ends of your thick pieces, or use the scissors again to cut each strip in half so it resembles a pom-pom!


2. Water bottle toy

plastic free water bottle

Although you’re probably not using many plastic water bottles if you are here to read about eco-friendly homemade dog toys, chances are you come across the stray empty bottle at home or at the office. Before you toss it in a blue bin, think about turning it into a new toy for your dog!

This project could not be easier, with the only other material being an old sock. 

Just take the water bottle (with the cap off, to eliminate this potential choking hazard) and stuff it into the sock. At the end of the sock, tie a knot at the opening to secure the bottle, and voila! 

You also have the option to fill the bottle with water and put it in the freezer before inserting it into the sock. Your dog will love to have something cool to chew on during hot summer days


3. Flirt stick

If your dog never says no to a game of chase, he will love this homemade flirt pole!

You’ll need a length of PVC pipe, a rope, and a fabric toy to tie onto the end (the upcycled t-shirt toy in this list would work great!). The length of your pipe and rope can vary based on the size of your dog and the materials you have on hand. Your pipe should be around 4-6 feet long, and your rope about 10-15 feet.

If the rope that’s been sitting in your garage is only 9 feet long don’t rush to the hardware store to get more! The whole point of upcycling is to reuse materials you already have on hand. Trust us: your dog will not notice the difference between a 9 foot and 10 foot long rope when they are playing with you and the flirt pole!

Assembly is simple: just thread the rope through the pipe, tie the toy to the loose end of the rope, and enjoy!


4. Sweet potato rope

dog playing with woven string

We would be remiss not to include an edible toy on this list! This is a great toy for dogs who love to chew, and who love edible toys like pig ears, bully sticks, and antlers. 

Slice a sweet potato into rounds and bake in the oven on low heat for at least 5 hours. Don’t skimp on the cooking time: this process dehydrates the potatoes and gives them a jerky-like texture your dog will love! 

Once they are out of the oven and cooled, use an apple corer or sharp knife to cut a hole in the middle of each piece. 

Thread the slices onto the rope and knot both ends quickly! Your dog’s mouth is already watering.



Your dog will love these 4 upcycled toys—so will your wallet, and the environment. You already have the materials, so what are you waiting for? Go treat your favorite dog to one of these homemade toys. 

Wondering which of these toys your pup will like best? Try more than one to search for your specific breed and their tendencies. 

Which of these DIY dog toys does your pup prefer? Let us know in the comments below!

  • John Woods

    John Woods is a graduate in animal welfare and behavior, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

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