Homemade Dog Toys

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

As I watched our puppy rip apart yet another toy, it occurred to me that I might as well hand her the ten dollar bill to chew. I'm wasting my money buying pet toys at the store time and time again. Instead, there are cheaper homemade toys that are just as fun for the pup and much easier on my wallet.


Sock Toys

Old socks make great dog toys. Watch out that your pup doesn't think every sock is a toy, but it's easier to put socks away than to buy dozens of expensive chew toys. Be creative and make some great toys with your old tube socks. Just remember to take any small pieces so the dog doesn't eat the sock.

Stuff multiple socks inside one main sock. Tie the end and hand it off. Your dog has a great new chew toy without the stuffing that becomes such a problem. She can peel the layers off like an onion or chew all day. If you have a young pup, make the sock toy before washing the sock. We might not like the smell, but your puppy will appreciate your scent when you're away from home.

Double layer socks by stuffing one inside another. Then, fill the inside sock with sawdust. It's a different type of chew toy for a less aggressive chewer. If sawdust isn't available, use small animal bedding or a similar product.


The tug rope is the greatest toy to have when playing with a dog. Instead of purchasing a knotted rope at the pet store, make your own with old socks or t-shirts. Hold two socks together and knot them with other socks to create length. Make the knots tight so they don't give way while playing.

Water Bottles

Recycle in a whole new way with bottled water. After visiting the pet store for one more dog toy, I found an expensive but innovative toy. It was a stuffed raccoon, but instead of stuffing inside there was an empty water bottle. It made a pleasing crunching sound, and when the bottle was crushed a Velcro opening allowed it to be replaced. This gave me an idea, and I started to raid the recycling bin.

Combine the sock and the water bottle to recreate this toy. Place an empty plastic water bottle inside an old sock. Knot the sock and watch the fun.


Poke holes in the water bottle and remove the cap. Then, fill it with small or crushed dog treats. It works like the well-known Kong, allowing the dog to pester the bottle until small pieces of treats come out of the opening. If she destroys the bottle and gets the snacks, take the plastic before she can eat it and use a new bottle tomorrow.

On hot days fill the water bottle half way with water and lay it on its side in the freezer. Your dog has a solid chewing toy that will cool him in the hot weather, but it isn't too hard for his teeth.

Our pup invented the water bottle toy on her own. I left an empty bottle on the floor only to find her running through the house in absolute joy at her newly found toy. I did nothing to it, and it was just as pleasing to her.


Sew Your Own

Know that certain craft stores sell the squeaky inserts for toys as well as sound chips that will be activated when squeezed. Inserting these deep inside the sock toys or generic stuffed toys found at yard sales will make a perfect toy.

To create the stuffing free toy that so many stores sell, buy some heavy fabric and get out your sewing machine. Cut out a basic shape - dogs don't care. Layer six or seven layers of the fabric on top of each other, sewing each layer to the one below it.

Remember, it's okay for your furry friend to destroy his toys now. It only takes five minutes to make new ones.

dog with rope toy

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers.

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December 8, 20100 found this helpful

Great Tips. You can also get cotton rope to make a dog toy. Cut about 24 inches of rope and tie a large knot in the ends. Make sure the rope is the correct size for your dog. For example, for a Chihuahua, make sure it is small enough for them to chew. It is also important to make sure you monitor your dog when they chew these.


If they have fibers that come off, take the toy away and make another. If it gets dirty, you can wash it but be careful that you rinse it well before you give it back to your dog to chew.

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful

We do this as well but I go down to the park and retrieve old tennis balls and put a ball in the sock and tie it off. Best investment for a dog toy.

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful

I've made sock toys for every dog I've had for many many years. One thing I learned over the years. Dogs can tell which is their socks and which are not very easily. They learn to only chew on the ones with knots in them. I've never yet had one that didn't learn the difference within the first couple of weeks.


I love the plastic bottle idea. I think even my cat would play with that if I put something inside to make some rattling noise too.

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December 9, 20100 found this helpful

The sock idea is great, the water bottle thing is very dangerous. These should never be given to your dog! You cannot always keep an eye on your pet and it takes one piece of this plastic to get logged in their throat, a sharp piece to pierce the stomach lining causing internal bleeding. The companies who sell such toys with plastic bottles in them should be outlawed. If you care anything about your pet then you protect them to the best of your ability.

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December 11, 20100 found this helpful

I found toys at a feed store, that are very tough! you can feel the material being thicker and the sewing very secure- much better made than any at a pet store. They even had one designed to pull apart and you can put it back together.

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December 13, 20100 found this helpful

In the summertime, I give my dogs ice cubes to play with and slide them across the vinyl floor and run after it. They also like to play with our old socks. We place one of their balls inside it and they work trying to remove the ball. Our male cocker spaniel loves to play with an empty litre bottle w/o the lid and crunches at it growling and carrying it about. When it gets to the point where a few wrinkles are placed in it, we toss it out and replace with a new one. I also toss it across the room and he runs after it. He loves that crunching sound. He's never had any bottle long enough to cause it to tear into pieces as it's thrown out and replaced before that even happens. Just like kids, you must supervise, so things like that do not happen.

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January 8, 20110 found this helpful

Empty water bottles and milk jugs are great toys for your dog to play with. They don't last very long because your dog will get pieces off (less that a half hour). Make sure your dog does not eat the lid or swallow pieces, they will get pieces off. Do not let your dog play with this toy alone they will get pieces off and can choke.

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January 5, 20120 found this helpful

My dogs love, love the water bottles I like the idea about freezing them with a little water in it. I will try this idea in the summer. Thank you.

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March 20, 20140 found this helpful

What brilliant ideas for our four legged friends - especially the plastic bottle in a sock idea. I can't wait to try this with my dog. She already loves to play with empty soda bottles and is always pinching them out of the recycle bin! Thanks for all the ideas.

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November 11, 20140 found this helpful

My pit-boxer loves a large "Monkey Fist" ball. You can make them yourself from plain old cotton clothes line--or any other rope you have (don't use sisal rope because it frays apart). These can last for months if they are made tight enough! There are instructions on the internet for making the "Monkey Fist"

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July 24, 20170 found this helpful

I buy stuffed animals at garage sales. Just make sure they are not filled with "bean bag" type filling and remove plastic eyes, ribbons, etc. Whether I spend .25 or 5.00 they destroy them just as fast

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