What can I reuse or recycle to make a dog/puppy toy?

Recycle This regular Anna left a question on the Suggest an Item page:

What could I use to make dog toys?

My friend got a puppy and I’d like to make him some toys. I’ve made cat toys for ages, but puppy toys definitely need to be stronger and bigger.

Dog toys do typically need to be bigger and stronger than cat toys – it’s quite important that they’re the right size for the hound, given the variety of pooch sizes — neither too big or too small.

I’m still quite new to dog ownership – we’ve had Lily for about six months now – and she’s not really one to play with toys, just carry them around, so we’ve not made any toys for her.

I do know though that a quick and easy tug toy can be made plaiting together old tights/stockings/pantihose or strips of an old tshirt.

Or make the equivalent of a ball on a string by placing an old tennis ball (or the like) at the end of an old stretched sock, tie a knot in the sock to secure the ball, then play away!

Any other suggestions? What homemade toys have you made for your dog? Or, more typically, what has your dog found itself to reuse as a toy? ;)

(I illustrated the equivalent cat toy post with a picture of our cat Boron going mad with a piece of string. Lily refused to perform. So comedy photo by Miguel Vera instead – great expression!)

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6 Responses to “What can I reuse or recycle to make a dog/puppy toy?”

  1. Lupa says:

    Really be careful with anything made of fabric, like old socks and such. A dog can chew that up in no time and swallow bits of it, which can then cause a fatal obstruction in the digestive tract that requires an expensive emergency surgery to remove. So if you’re going to use this sort of toy, supervise your dogs VERY closely. (This is also why rawhide chews are a BAD idea–rawhide absorbs moisture, and so can swell up in the digestive tract, again causing obstruction)

    The best dog chew toys are beef knuckle bones, boiled for fifteen minutes to cook the meat. They’re not strictly household items, but they are a byproduct of the meat industry.

    Some dogs also love basketballs and footballs, but if they pop make sure the dog can’t tear them apart.

  2. Alexis says:

    I think it depends on the size and type of dog. A small-medium dog would enjoy tug-of-war with a knotted wooly sock that’s seen better days – for example. Sometimes tying an old ball in the bottom makes it more interesting.

    The “old sock” also works great for cats. You can cut it in half, knot it, and tie it on a string, eh voila – instant “mouse” kitty goes nuts. Want to encourage “independent play” fill the end with cat-nip.

    Back to dogs – those very hard tubes that come in boxes of cling film, and baking paper – also grea dog toys – they’re hard enough to last a while (then can be composted).

  3. Melinda says:

    Some dogs like to play with empty plastic water bottles. It makes a satisfying noise and bounces around easily. It may come apart easily, but then it can be recycled. Of course the above warnings about watching the dog and small parts still apply.

    Our dog has gotten some milage from old bounced out tennis balls that we get from a local tennis center. She can demolish any ball we give her, though. Nothing lasts long.

    The cardboard tubes sound good- how about from the inside of carpet and fabric roles? (I think in terms of what would be good for a Lab)

  4. Nat says:

    I often use old juice cartons, pop a little snack inside and let my dog tear it up. He’s had old cardboard packaging (cereal boxes etc) since he was a puppy. They don’t last long of course, but give about 15mins of fun! You’d have to take care your dog doesn’t like eating cardboard of course, mine just likes the shredding/tearing part ;)

  5. Verde says:

    Old ripped up jeans worked for me. Take the leg of an old pair of jeans and tie a knot in the middle. (note): depending on the size of your dog you might want to make the pantleg shorter or longer. HAve FUN! ;)

  6. Ally says:

    I took one of my skiping ropes and kept on tying it and i called it a


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