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5 DIY dog toys ideas made out of recycled old materials

Eco-friendly & pet-safe toys made out of repurposed materials 

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Unleash your creativity to DIY dog toys that your furry friends will love! Whether you have some unrepairable socks, old denim or some potatoes in your pantry, the original ideas shared here will get your dogs playing for hours (safely!)

Does your dog tear through toys with seemingly no concern for your bank account? Save some money by making your own dog toys at home with simple, common materials. Here are five DIY dog toys that are quick and easy to make. Each is safe, fun, and dog-approved!

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1. Socktapus

Make your dog a playtime pal – with no sewing required!

The Socktapus is the perfect use for your unwanted, unused socks. You can use it to play fetch and tug-of-war. Its unique design makes it bounce around haphazardly when it hits the ground, which dogs love to chase because it resembles fleeing prey.

Gather the Materials

You’ll need several pairs of socks. Thick, colorful socks work best.

You can also add a tennis ball. The tennis ball version of the Socktapus bounces higher and goes farther when thrown. However, it’s also stronger and potentially more destructive.

You should only make the tennis ball type if you have a large, strong dog. Also, it’s probably best for outdoor play, while the regular Socktapus is soft enough for both indoor and outdoor use.

Pick a Sock for the Socktapus’ Head

Grab a large, durable sock – preferable one without holes. You want a long, knee-high sock for this part, although the other socks can be any length.  

Ideally, you want a bright yellow sock. Dogs mainly see yellows, blues, and gray. A yellow sock tends to stand out against grass and dirt.

Stuff the Head

You can then fill the first sock with either other socks or a tennis ball.

No set number of socks is needed. Use your dog’s size as a guide. The sock ball should be small enough that your dog can hold it comfortably in his mouth. At the same time, it should be large enough that your dog can’t accidentally swallow it.

Tie Off the Base

Tie ribbons underneath the “head” of the octopus. You want to use at least five ribbons and tie them tightly with double knots. As with the sock, yellow ribbons will have the most visibility to the dog.

Make the Tentacles  

Cut the end of the sock into strips. While eight seems like the natural number of tentacles, you might want fewer, so they’re wide enough for your dog to grab with his teeth.

5 DIY dog toys ideas made out of recycled old materials

2. PVC Pipe Dog Feeder

The dog feeder is an interactive dog toy. It’s made for solo play, so it’s great if you need to keep your dog occupied for a while.

Making the feeder requires the use of power tools, so it’s a project best left for adults.

Gather Your Materials

You’ll need a piece of PVC pipe, two PVC caps of matching size, and a drill. The length of the pipe depends on the size of your dog, but one foot is a fairly standard length.

Your dog doesn’t need to pick the pipe off the ground. Instead, he’ll roll it around.

Drill Holes in the Pipe

Place the pipe in a vice and then drill about eight to 10 holes. Space the holes relatively evenly across the length of the pipe.

The fewer the holes, the more of a challenge the toy provides. However, you probably want at least five holes for every inch of pipe. Otherwise, the toy becomes too frustrating, and your dog might not want to play with it.

Finish the Pipe

After you’ve drilled the holes, sand the edges with sandpaper. Take your time and sand thoroughly. You want the edges as smooth as possible so your dog won’t hurt himself when playing with the toy.

Once you’ve finished sanding, clean the pipe in the dishwasher. Doing so helps remove any tiny bits of sharp plastic that might have been leftover from drilling.

Cap and Fill

Finally, place a PVC cap on one end of the pipe, fill it with treats, and then place a second cap on the other end.

Most types of training treats will work fine. For best results, you’ll want to pick out treats before drilling the holes, so you can make them the perfect size.

The number of treats depends on your dog’s size and how long you want him occupied. However, treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the total calories your dog consumes in a day.

Give the Pipe to Your Dog

The toy works best in an enclosed area or backyard. Your dog will likely push the pipe around with abandon, so make sure the space is free from anything fragile.

Keep an eye on your dog while he plays, so you can help him out if the pipe gets stuck. If he hasn’t gotten all the treats out after about 15 minutes, remove an end cap and give him the remaining treats.

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3. No-Sew Denim Chew Toy

You don’t need any sewing skills to make this durable chew toy. Instead, you only need a pair of old jeans. It’s a great toy for both solo play and tug of war.

Prepare the Jeans

Cut away the top part of the jeans, so you have two separate legs. Cut the cuffs off the bottom. You don’t want these legs to have any zippers, buttons, or other metal components.

Wrap the Two Legs Together

Place one leg on top of the other to make a plus shape. Take the top part of the cross and flip it over. Then take the bottom part and flip it up.

Tie the Knot

Flip the right leg perpendicularly to the left, putting it over the first horizontal leg and under the second. Then do the opposite with the left leg. Flip it to the right, sliding it under the first horizontal leg and over the second.

Trim as Necessary

If the “legs” are too long, you can trim them. They should be short enough that your dog can carry the toy around without catching them on anything. However, some length is good because it gives your dog more space to chew.

Chewing provides several benefits for dogs. It helps keep their teeth clean, provides mental stimulation, and even promotes the release of stress-relieving endorphins.     

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4. Sweet Potato Chew Toy

Turn an ordinary sweet potato into a durable and tasty chew toy. They’re safe for dogs to chew on, and swallowing small amounts can help aid digestion. (However, they don’t have any major nutritional benefits, which is why many pet owners prefer potato-free dog food.) 

Prepare the Potato

Start by washing the potato thoroughly. You can then peel or leave the skins on. They’re not harmful and provide fiber and nutrients.

Slice the potato into sections one-half inch thick.

Next, you’ll need a round cookie cutter. Use it to remove the center of each potato piece.

Cook the Potato

Place the potato on a baking sheet and cook for two-and-a-half hours at 250 degrees.

Then, flip the potatoes over and cook for another two-and-a-half-hour. They’re ready to use when they have no squishy sections whatsoever.

Thread the Potatoes

Next, you’ll need a rope. Hemp is often a good choice because it’s both durable and easy to tie.

Tie a large knot at one end of the rope. String two pieces of potato. Tie another knot. Repeat the process by adding two potatoes and tying knots until finished.

5 DIY dog toys ideas made out of recycled old materials
Photo credit: Aloïs Moubax

5. Crinkle Toy

The crinkle toy will take you just a few minutes to make but will entertain your pup for hours. It’s a DIY dog toy with a unique noise and feels that provides your dog with mental stimulation and solo play opportunities.

Gather Your Materials

You’ll need a thick, clean sock. A long, knee-high one works best. Because this isn’t a fetch toy, the color of the sock doesn’t matter as it does with the Socktapus.

You’ll also need an empty water bottle. Any size will work, so use the size of your dog’s mouth as a guide. You can discard the cap.  

Assemble the Toy

Cut the toe off the sock. Slide the water bottle into the sock. Tie the end with either string or ribbon. Alternatively, you can sew the edges shut.

You want the lid off the bottle. Allowing air to move in and out helps keep the bottle flexible when the dog chews on it.

While you don’t have to cut the toe end of the sock, doing so results in a better toy. The bottle ends up fitting inside more evenly, which in turn helps prevent the sock from bunching up.

The material is comfortable on the dog’s mouth, while the flexibility of the bottle makes it fun to chew.

Final Thoughts

One of the many great things about dogs is that they don’t care how much a toy costs. All of the DIY dog toys listed above aren’t just easy on your wallet, but your pup will also have loads of fun playing with them. Even better, each toy serves a constructive purpose, such as helping stimulate their mind or keeping their teeth clean.

The best dog toys are the ones you make with love!

5 DIY dog toys ideas made out of recycled old materials

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Mark Webster

Mark Webster is the co-founder of DogFoodHeaven.com. His aim? Simple. Cut through the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends. For this, he created an all-star team of qualified vets and vet techs to help us put together the most fact-based dog nutrition content on the web and help make every meal a joy for your pup!

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