Dog toys can be expensive, particularly if your dogs are anything like mine. Most toys I bring home have a lifespan of approximately 15 seconds before being torn to shreds and strewn around the house.
My girlfriend and I have been forced to get creative. Here are some affordable DIY dog toys you can make at home.
Knotted hand towel
If I knew my dogs loved tough pieces of fabric just as much as frustratingly annoying, squeaky stuffed animals, I would have started doing this a long time ago.
It's not as much as DIY as it is a way to repurpose old, tattered hand towels. Bunch both ends of the towel and tie an overhand knot in the center. Pull the knot as tight as you can. That's it. Give the toy to your dog and watch them go crazy.
If you don't want to use any of your old hand towels, you can pick up a 12-pack of for under $20 or buy an individual towel at Walmart for under $2.
The point of many dog toys is not only to give your pup something fun to do, but to occupy their time. One way to do that while also challenging your dog is by creating a puzzle for them to solve.
This can be done with something as simple as an empty soda bottle. Use a drill, knife or some other sharp object to poke small holes in the bottle. Next, insert treats (pieces of food work just as well) which are slightly smaller than the holes in the bottle and screw the cap on.
To make this a bit more robust, you can use a piece of 1 1/2 inch (3.81 centimeter) diameter PVC pipe with two caps. Just keep in mind that you probably shouldn't leave it out after the dog has removed all the treats or food from the toy. PVC isn't healthy for dogs to chew on or possibly consume, but it's harmless for them to nudge around with their nose.
Tennis ball bolas
My dogs go nuts over anything that involves either ropes or tennis balls. Combine the two and you have the perfect toy.
To make this, you will need two tennis balls and some tough cotton rope. If possible, try to avoid nylon rope, as it has the tendency to fray more easily. Cotton rope seems to fight wear and tear a little better, even if you opt for a smaller diameter. Plus, it's much cheaper.
- Use a power drill and a 1/4 or 9/32 inch (6.35 or 7.14 millimeter) drill bit to drill holes through the center of both tennis balls.
- Next, cut approximately 2 feet (60.96 centimeters) of rope.
- Press one end of the rope against one of the holes on one of the tennis balls. Apply pressure while twisting the rope to force it through the hole. Push the rope until you can see it from the opposing hole in the tennis ball.
- Use a pair of needle nose pliers to grab the end of the rope (inside the tennis ball) and pull it through to the outside.
- Tie an overhand knot in one end of the rope, position the tennis ball against the knot and tie a second overhand knot on the opposite side of the ball.
- Repeat these steps for the second tennis ball using the opposite end of the rope.
This toy is great for tug-o-war, but it's even better for fetch, as it resembles bolas, a type throwing weapon.
Crocheted paracord frisbee
I you have some spare paracord lying around, you can use it to make a dog-friendly frisbee which you can fold up and stuff into your pocket on your way to the dog park.
People have been crocheting frisbees with yarn for ages. Unfortunately, your dog's teeth will quickly rip yarn to shreds, so you will need to substitute paracord for yarn, but you can use the same crocheting pattern to make a frisbee.
This project definitely requires a little more skill (and a crocheting hook), but it's actually quite easy to make.
If all else fails, you can make something for your dog to slowly snack on, like a frozen block of peanut butter.
All you will need is a disposable plastic cup or ice cube tray, some peanut butter, bananas (optional) and a few hours of lead time. Mix the peanut butter and bananas and place in the cup or divide into the individual ice cube molds.
Place them in the freezer overnight and treat your dog to a peanut butter banana popsicle for special occasions! Depending on how how large you make them, these frozen treats will keep your dog occupied for quite a while, and he will savor every bit!