Homemade Pet Playthings: 15 DIY Dog Toys Cats Can't Resist

15 Safe & Engaging DIY Dog Toys Even Your Cat Will Love

Dog and cat playing together with a DIY dog toy

Looking for budget-friendly ways to keep your furry friends entertained? Look no further than your own home!

This guide is packed with 15 easy and engaging DIY dog toys that will have your pup (and maybe even your cat!) wagging their tail with joy.

These projects use simple materials you likely already have, saving you money and providing hours of entertainment for your furry companions!

Best of all, these toys are designed with safety in mind, so you can rest assured that your pets are playing with enriching and durable options.

Why DIY Dog Toys?

DIY dog toys are a great way to save money and bond with your pet. Plus, you can control the materials used in your dog's toys, which is important for their safety! Here are a few reasons to try DIY:

  • Cost-Effective: Let's face it, store-bought toys can be expensive, especially if your dog is a power chewer! DIY toys are a fraction of the cost, leaving you more room in your budget for treats... or maybe a new dog bed!
  • Customizable: One of the best things about DIY is that you can tailor the toys to your dog's size, play style, and preferences. Does your furry friend love squeaky toys? No problem! You can easily add one to any of these creations!
  • Safe & Non-Toxic: When you make your own dog toys, you control the materials! This means you can avoid any potentially harmful chemicals or toxins, giving you peace of mind knowing that your furry friend is playing with something safe.
  • Bonding Experience: Making toys together is a fun activity that you and your dog can enjoy together. It's a great way to strengthen your bond and create lasting memories!

Safety First!

Before we unleash our inner DIY gurus, let's cover some essential safety tips. We want our furry friends to have fun but stay safe!

  • Supervision: Always supervise your pet while they're playing with any toy, especially new ones. You know how it is, accidents happen, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Durable Materials: Choose sturdy fabrics like denim or canvas that can withstand some serious chewing. And don't forget to double-check that all knots are secure to prevent choking hazards!
  • Appropriate Size: Make sure the toys you make are the appropriate size for your dog! Toys should be large enough to prevent swallowing but not so big that they're difficult to handle.
  • Regular Checks: It's a good idea to regularly inspect toys for damage, like fraying or loose parts. Discard any that are broken to avoid your pup from ingesting something they shouldn't!

Now that we've got the safety spiel out of the way, let's get crafting!

15 Engaging DIY Dog Toys

1. Socktopus

This playful toy is perfect for a game of tug-of-war or even some solo chewing time!


  • Old sock (the more colorful, the better!)
  • Tennis ball
  • Scissors


  1. Stuff the tennis ball into the toe of the sock.
  2. Cut the sock into strips below the ball, creating those awesome "tentacles."
  3. Knot the strips together securely. Don't want any tentacles coming loose!

Expert Tip: For added durability, try using a tennis ball designed for dogs. They're typically made with tougher materials!

2. Braided Fleece Tug

This one's a classic tug toy with a soft and durable twist!


  • Fleece fabric strips (about 3 feet long each). Get creative with colors and patterns!
  • Scissors


  1. Cut three fleece strips.
  2. Tie the ends together securely. You want this to hold up during those intense tug-of-war battles!
  3. Braid the strips tightly, keeping the tension even.
  4. Knot the other end, and you're ready for some tugging action!

3. Water Bottle Crunch

Looking for a toy that provides some auditory stimulation? This crinkly water bottle creation is super easy to make!


  • Empty plastic water bottle (make sure it's clean and dry!)
  • Old sock (again, the funkier the pattern, the better!)


  1. Ensure the water bottle is empty, clean, and the cap is removed. Safety first, always!
  2. Place the water bottle inside the sock.
  3. Tie a knot at the top of the sock to secure everything in place!

Expert Tip: If your dog is a super chewer, you can reinforce the sock by sewing it closed instead of just tying a knot.

4. Treat Puzzle Box

Challenge your pup's mind (and nose) with this interactive puzzle box! It's all about mental stimulation and tasty rewards.


  • Cardboard box (think shoebox or something similar)
  • Empty toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls (hoard those cardboard tubes!)
  • Treats (the tastier, the better for motivation!)


  1. Cut the toilet paper rolls into varying lengths.
  2. Glue the rolls inside the box, standing upright. Let your inner architect shine!
  3. Hide treats inside the rolls. This is where the real fun begins!
  4. Let your dog sniff out and retrieve those tasty rewards.

5. Denim Chew Rope

Got some old jeans lying around? Don't toss them out just yet! Durable denim makes for an awesome long-lasting chew toy!


  • Old denim jeans (time to give those faded favorites a new life!)
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the denim into long strips. The wider the strips, the sturdier the rope!
  2. Braid three strips tightly together.
  3. Knot the ends securely to prevent any unraveling.

Expert Tip: You can make the rope as long or as short as you like! Just keep in mind your dog's size and chewing habits.

6. Knotted T-Shirt Ball

Here's a soft and easy-to-grip toy that's great for a game of fetch or even just some casual chewing.


  • Old T-shirt (time to raid that T-shirt drawer for old favorites)
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the T-shirt into strips. Aim for strips that are about an inch wide and a foot long.
  2. Tie the strips together to form a long rope. Make sure the knots are good and tight!
  3. Wrap the rope into a ball shape, knotting securely as you go. The more knots, the merrier (and sturdier)!

7. Muffin Tin Treat Challenge

Let's make mealtime a little more interesting! This simple puzzle encourages your dog to use their sniffer and put those problem-solving skills to work!


  • Muffin tin
  • Tennis balls or small toys
  • Treats


  1. Place treats in a few of the muffin cups. It's like a treasure hunt in a muffin tin!
  2. Cover the treats with tennis balls or small toys. The element of surprise is key!
  3. Let your dog figure out how to get to those delicious treats.

8. Tennis Ball Treat Dispenser

We all know the classic tennis ball, but this one comes with a fun twist—a hidden treat compartment!


  • Tennis ball (make sure it's a new one that hasn't been chewed on!)
  • Sharp knife (adult supervision required!)
  • Treats (because every game deserves a reward!)


  1. Carefully cut a small slit in the tennis ball. This is where you'll be hiding the good stuff!
  2. Stuff treats into the slit. Choose smaller treats that fit easily!
  3. Let your dog work for their reward! They'll be sniffing and nudging that tennis ball in no time.

Expert Tip: You can also use a Kong brand filler instead of regular treats for a longer-lasting challenge. Peanut butter and frozen yogurt are great options, too!

9. Crinkly Blanket Burrow

This one's a winner for those dogs who love to burrow and cuddle! It provides both comfort and those engaging crinkly sounds that dogs love.


  • Old fleece blanket or towel (the snugglier, the better!)
  • Empty plastic bags (make sure they're clean, dry, and crinkled up!)


  1. Lay the blanket flat.
  2. Scatter the crinkled plastic bags on top. The more crinkles, the more fun!
  3. Roll up the blanket, trapping the bags inside. It's like a crinkly burrito for your furry friend!
  4. Tie the ends of the blanket together to secure the burrow! You can use hair ties, shoelaces, or even just knot the blanket itself.

Expert Tip: You can use different types of bags for different sounds! Bubble wrap makes a fun popping sound, while grocery bags offer that classic crinkle.

10. Rope Ring Chew

Looking for something simple and satisfying? This rope ring is perfect for chewing and gnawing.


  • Cotton rope (about 2 feet long). You can find cotton rope at most hardware stores.


  1. Tie the ends of the rope together to form a ring. Make sure that knot is super secure, especially for heavy chewers.
  2. That's it! You've got a simple, durable, and satisfying chew toy.

11. Puzzle Ball on a Rope

Let's take the puzzle ball to the next level! This toy combines mental stimulation with a rousing game of tug-of-war.


  • Treat puzzle ball (you can usually find these at pet stores or online)
  • Rope (choose a sturdy rope that can handle some tugging)
  • Scissors


  1. Attach the rope to the puzzle ball using a secure knot. You might need to get creative depending on the design of the puzzle ball.
  2. Let your dog play tug with the rope while trying to get those treats from the ball. It's a win-win!

12. Flirt Pole

This interactive toy is a great way to encourage your dog's chasing and pouncing instincts. It's like a mini-workout and a whole lot of fun!


  • PVC pipe or sturdy stick (about 4 feet long)
  • Rope (make sure it's long enough to allow for some good swinging action)
  • Fleece strips or a soft toy tied to the end of the rope


  1. Attach the rope to the end of the pipe or stick. You can use tape, string, or even just tie it on securely.
  2. Tie fleece strips or a soft toy to the other end of the rope. This is what your dog will be chasing, so make it something enticing!
  3. Dangle the toy and move it around for your dog to chase! You can swing it back and forth, drag it along the ground, or even lift it up high to encourage jumping.

Expert Tip: Flirt poles are a great way to provide your dog with exercise and mental stimulation! It's a fun way to bond and tire your dog out at the same time.

13. Food-Stuffed Kong

The Kong is a classic for a reason! This durable rubber toy can be stuffed with all sorts of yummy things, providing hours of mental and physical stimulation for your pup.


  • Kong toy (they come in different sizes, so choose one that's appropriate for your dog's size and chewing strength)
  • Dog food, peanut butter, yogurt, treats (the possibilities are endless!)


  1. Stuff the Kong with a combination of your dog's favorite foods. Get creative! You can layer different flavors and textures to keep things interesting.
  2. Freeze for a longer-lasting challenge. This is especially helpful for power chewers or those hot summer days!

14. Cardboard Box Maze

Who knew cardboard boxes could be so much fun? This puzzle toy is perfect for hiding treats and encouraging your dog's inner explorer!


  • Cardboard boxes of various sizes (time to raid the recycling bin!)
  • Treats (the ultimate motivation!)


  1. Cut holes and openings in the boxes. Let your imagination run wild! You can make windows, doors, and even secret passageways.
  2. Connect the boxes together to form a maze. Use tape, glue, or even just stack them strategically.
  3. Hide treats throughout the maze! This is the best part! You can make it as challenging or as easy as you like.

Expert Tip: This is a great activity to do with kids! They'll love designing and building the maze, and your dog will love sniffing out those treats!

15. Snuffle Mat

Engage your dog's natural foraging instincts with this fun and stimulating snuffle mat! It's a great way to encourage your dog to use their nose and work for their treats.


  • Fleece fabric strips (the more colorful, the better!)
  • Rubber mat with holes (like a doormat or a sink mat)
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the fleece fabric into strips. Aim for strips that are about an inch wide and a foot long.
  2. Tie the strips through the holes in the rubber mat. Make sure the knots are secure, so they don't come undone during all the snuffling!
  3. Scatter treats within the fabric strips. This is the fun part! Hide them deep within the folds to encourage your dog to really use their nose.

Tips for Multi-Pet Households

Sharing is caring, but it's essential to make sure all your furry friends feel safe and happy, especially when it comes to playtime! Here are a few tips for multi-pet households:

  • Cater to Preferences: Consider the play styles and preferences of both your dog and cat. Some cats love playing with dog toys (especially the crinkly ones), while others prefer their catnip toys!
  • Safe Spaces: Provide separate areas where each pet can play without feeling threatened or stressed. This could be different rooms or even just designated corners within the same room.
  • Novelty: Rotate toys regularly to keep both pets engaged and prevent boredom. This is especially important for dogs, who can get bored with the same old toys quickly!

Final Thoughts: DIY Dog Toys Even Your Cat Will Love

With these simple DIY dog toy ideas, you can provide your furry friends with hours of entertainment and enrichment without breaking the bank. It's a win-win for everyone! Remember to prioritize safety and always supervise your pets while they play. And most importantly, have fun with it! DIY is all about getting creative and enjoying the process! Happy crafting!

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Justin Anderson
Welcome to the world of pet influencers! I'm Justin Anderson, the proud owner of Cheech, a lively 2-year-old Chihuahua with a huge personality. With over 30 years of experience raising Chihuahuas and a passion for pet care, I've turned my love for pets into a thriving career. As the founder of Social Petworker, I share insights, tips, and success stories to help pet owners and aspiring pet influencers navigate the exciting world of pet affiliate marketing. Through collaborations with top brands and a knack for social media, I've built a community of pet enthusiasts who are eager to learn and grow. Join me on this journey, and let's turn our love for pets into a rewarding adventure together. Whether you're a pet owner looking for tips, an aspiring pet influencer seeking guidance, or a brand interested in pet influencer marketing, you're in the right place!

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