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Inexpensive Pet Toys You Can Make at Home

These DIY pet toys will satisfy your creative urge while entertaining your dog or cat.

November 1, 2023 4 min read
Inexpensive Pet Toys You Can Make at Home

Dogs and cats share one key trait in common: they love to have fun! Fortunately, however, you don't have to spend a lot of money on fancy pet toys to keep your dog or cat entertained for hours on end. Whether you have a hobbyist's mindest or you'd just like to save some money, you'll find that you can make some amazing pet toys you can make from everyday items you might find around the house. Here are some simple DIY pet toy ideas to get you started.

Protect Your Furniture With a Homemade Scratching Post

Cats in the wild don't have to work on keeping their nails trimmed because the rough outdoor terrain naturally files down those sharp points. By contrast, a domestic cat will scratch away at anything available, including your valuable furniture. A designated scratching post can resolve this problem -- and you don't even need to pay money for one at the store.

To make your own cat scratching post, cover two square or circular bits of wooden board with cloth, leaving a bare space at the center for the post. Attach both mini-platforms to the post, winding and securing rope or some other rough fabric around the post. Your kitty now has both a scratching post and an elevated perch to sit on.

Challenge Your Dog With DIY Treat Dispensers

You've probably seen Kong toys and other puzzle-type treat dispensers in pet stores. You stuff a piece of kibble, cheese, or some other favorite food inside the toy and then watch the fun as your dog tries anything and everything to get it out. These toys provide mental stimulation by forcing the dog to use its problem-solving skills, rolling, licking, or otherwise manipulating the toy to get to the treat.

Creating your own version of a Kong is easier than you might think. Cut a slit in a tennis ball and place the treat inside the ball, or put the treat inside an open, empty water bottle. You've just made a DIY treat dispenser and puzzle toy that will provide a worthy challenge for your dog, at least for a while.

Sooner or later, your dog will likely tear up your DIY treat dispenser -- so why not embrace the inevitable while making good use of worthless trash? Simply place a treat inside an empty cereal box, seal the box shut, and then watch your canine friend rip it to shreds to get the tastiness within. You may have to clean up some bits of cardboard afterward, but at least you gave your dog a safe outlet for its energy.

Entice Your Kitty With Dangling Toys

Even the most domestic of cats retain their predatory instincts. They also enjoy the rituals of catching and playing with potential prey instead of just killing and eating it immediately. If you've ever dangled a piece of yarn over a kitten, you've seen this behavior in action. A DIY dangling cat toy makes for a simple way to offer your kitty endless excitement and fascination.

Of course, you can simply dangle the aforementioned piece of yarn or string -- or you can get more creative by making a cat "fishing" toy. Attach a length of string to a dowel or other rod, festooning the string with colorful feathers, bits of ribbon, and/or some little bells. Dangle the toy over your feline pal and watch the response!

Turn Socks and T-Shirts Into Playthings

Many homeowners find household uses for old, worn-out clothing, from wiping up messes to washing the windows. If you've got some old clothing lying around the house, you've got the makings of some fun toys for pets.

Socks can be transformed into DIY pet toys with relatively little effort. Stuff an empty soda or water bottle inside the sock, tying off the sock's open end. Your dog or cat will love the sounds of crinkling plastic as they play with their new toy. You can also take the squeaker out of an old, destroyed toy and place it inside the sock to keep your pet enthralled.

Does your dog like to play tug of war? If so, you can create a tug toy from strips of shirts or old towels. Braid the strips together, tie the resulting rope evenly at both ends, and you're ready to play with your pet.

Want to make a toy that combines fetch and tug of war? Place a ball in a sock and tie off the sock. You now have a bouncing toy that your dog can chase after or try to pull out of your hand.

Looking for More Healthy Fun? Talk to Your Vet

No matter how much you enjoy making these DIY pet toys, and how much your dog or cat enjoys playing with them, you may find yourself looking for additional sources of physical and mental exercise for your four-legged family member. Ask your veterinarian for more ways to help your pet burn excess calories, build strength, improve coordination, or stay mentally sharp. The right combination of professional care and home-based fun and games should work wonders for that favorite animal in your life.

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