Do’s And Don’ts of DIY Dog Toys

DIY Dog Toys - larger balls are best


Dogs love to play, and what they play with matters. In this article about Toys and DIY Dog Toys, we’ll explain the important Do’s and Don’ts. And we’ll talk about chewing.

We’ll also show you how to make something your dog will love to get their teeth into.

First let’s start with the Don’ts, because the wrong toy can really hurt your dog.


Don’t Have a Choking Hazard For a Toy

You need to be on the watch for two things here. Some things are just the right size to lodge in your dog’s throat, so they’re pretty easy to spot. The other ones need a closer look, because your dog can turn them into a choking hazard by playing with them. Let’s look at some examples.

DIY Dog Toys - avoid toys that can come apart

Some toys start out OK, but turn into a choking hazard after a time.



Golf balls

These are trouble for almost any size of dog. They’re the perfect size for getting stuck in the throat and hard to get a grip on to remove. If you’ve been practising your short game in the back yard, clean up those golf balls!

DIY Dog Toys - don't use golf balls


Tennis balls

These can also be a choking hazard for larger dogs, but they are great for playing fetch. At DIY Dog Projects we have two rules for tennis ball safety.

  1. Don’t leave them in the yard. Pack them away after finishing play.
  2. As soon as they are punctured, get rid of them.

DIY Dog Toys - Tennis balls are fun but need supervision


Children’s toys

Children’s toys also don’t generally make good DIY Dog Toys.  Small toys can choke, and your dog chewing on larger toys can often create smaller pieces, which becomes the same problem.


Soft Toys

Stuffed toys are also a no-no. Once the stuffing escapes, it can easily catch in your dog’s throat. The exception is soft toys that are specifically made for dogs, so the outer cover is strong enough.

There is a place for soft toys in dog play – we’ll talk more about that soon.


Strings and things

The other group of bad things are items like ribbons, rubber bands, lengths of string and similar.  Again, choking is the risk, and again you must avoid toys that can come apart in that way.


Degradable items

Rawhide should be avoided. It will soften and break up.


Noise Makers

Toy’s containing squeakers or bells can also be a problem.  Some dogs take it as a challenge to gnaw out the noisy bit, which of course is a choking hazard.  Be careful with these.



High Tech Dog Toys

One final don’t is for those that you Don’t DIY. There are some weird and wonderful dog toys available that simply can’t be put together in the average workshed – such as the Sphero and the Bubbletastic. Take a moment to read our review of The Best High Tech Dog Games.


High Tech Dog Games

Add gadgets and gizmos to your game-playing with this high tech gear.

Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker


What Are The Do’s of DIY Dog Toys

Play is a normal part of a dog’s behavior. Where there are more than one dog, they will often play “who is the boss” without any toys.  That’s also known as dominance play, and it’s generally not a problem. Overly dominant dogs can be a problem, but we’ll cover that in another article.

Even when there’s more than one dog it’s good to have some toys for them. When it’s only one dog, it’s essential! Dogs do get bored, and toys help them pass the time.

DIY Dog Toys - Play is Natural

What Type of Toys Are There?

Do think of toys in four broad categories. When leaving toys for your dog, make sure you cover all of these.

  1. Exercise Toys
  2. Challenge Toys
  3. Soft Toys
  4. Chew Toys

A word on chewing. Dogs need to chew to maintain their teeth and gums in good health. If your dog is chewing furniture or fabric, that’s a behavior problem that won’t be solved by a good chew toy. Get help for that before it becomes a habit. See the link to Doggy Dan the Online Dog Trainer at the bottom of this page.


Exercise Toys

As we mentioned before, you shouldn’t leave tennis balls lying around for larger dogs, but bigger balls are fine. The ball should be big enough to not fit into your dog’s mouth. It should also be hardy enough so it won’t deflate the instant a canine tooth pierces it.

DIY Dog Toys - Balls shouldn't deflate easily


Exercise Balls for Dogs


Challenge Toys

diy dog toys - treat dispensing

Click on the image for more information

These are sometimes called puzzle toys, and the aim of the puzzle is to get the food out of them. These toys are fuelled by little treats, and you know how food can keep a dog’s attention. By moving the toy the right way, your dog releases the treats. A simple DIY Dog Toys example is dried dog food pieces in a plastic bottle (lid and collar removed), but you can also get attractive ones like these.


Interactive Dog Toys


Soft Toys

Depending on your dog’s breed and personality, they might ‘mother‘ the soft toy and carry it around like they’re moving a puppy. Or they might ‘attack‘ the toy, by pouncing on it or shaking it in their mouth. Either way, make sure the toy will not lose its stuffing!

diy dog toys - plush toys have a place

Click the image for more information


Soft Dog Toys


Chew Toys

Dogs chew to help themselves teethe and to keep their mouths strong and healthy. You must always have a chew toy available. Remember our Don’ts for DIY Dog Toys – make sure that chewing won’t create a choking hazard. We have a great rope chew toy below that you can make, but first we have two more thoughts for you.

A toy can have multiple uses. For example, if your puzzle toy is also the exercise toy, you’ve covered two needs with just one toy. You don’t necessarily need to have four toys to cover all four categories.

Do mix it up! Don’t leave the same toys out every day. When you pull out a favourite toy that has been hidden away for several days, it’s like he’s meeting an old friend!


Dog Chew Toys

Every dog needs to chew, so give them some of these!


DIY Dog Toys:  The Rope Chew Toy

DIY Dog Toys - The Rope Chew Toy is good for Tug-of-war too

This is very easy to make but it is strong and also doubles as a tug of war (exercise) toy. Only use pure Nylon rope. It costs a fraction more but it is the most durable.

Follow the simple steps in video below and pause whenever you need.


Remember, if your dog has a chewing problem, Do see the expert, Doggy Dan below.

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