10 DIY Dog Toys: Pet Parenting on a Budget
Saving up for summer adventures? We know that one of the unexpected costs of being a pet parent is also one of the most fun: Dog toys!! There are so many cute and trendy toys on the market, so it's easy to pull a "oops, I spent half my paycheck" at the pet store.
The Frenchie fam's got you covered with 10 DIY dog toys you can make with stuff you've got lying around at home. And with all the dough you've saved on toys, why not invest in a new harness or two? (You know we had to. 😜)
1. No-sew denim chews. Denim is an awesome chompin' tool for dogs who like to chew. "Power chewers" and pup parents alike will love this easy DIY dog toy. Simply cut up strips of denim from an old jacket or pair of jeans, then tie them into knots, adding more strips and more knots as you go. For bonus points, cut tassels in the strips so your pup has plenty to nose around.
2. Tee shirt tug toy. Like the denim chew, this toy is a godsend for people who can't thread a sewing needle (like us). Because shirt fabric is more rip-able than denim, you'll need to get a bit creative here. We like braided shirt toys because they give your dog more to work through. To make this, tie a large knot at the end of a collection of tee shirt strips. Then, braid the strips as tightly and thickly as you can. Then, let the tug of war commence!
3. Summer pupsicles. Did you know a lot of our summer favorites are also delicious and nutritious for dogs? You can make a tasty "pupsicle" with just an ice cube tray and a few fridge staples. Using a "base" of one part Greek yogurt to three parts water, fill the ice cube tray with the mixture then add in a couple of fun mix-ins, like a handful of blueberries or a chopped up dog treat. For an easy, meaty upgrade, use a bully stick as the popsicle base! Your pup will enjoy the summer flavors along with their favorite meat chew. (And as always, be sure to talk to your vet before you mess with your pup's diet.)
4. (Frozen) sock it to me! We don't know what it is, but dogs LOVE frozen socks. Seriously. All you have to do to make your best friend's day is grab a sock you don't wear anymore, tie a knot in it, dip it in water, chuck it in the freezer for a few hours, and then watch the results. We promise, it's adorable.
5. Homemade squeaker friend. DIY could practically be reworded to "Reuse It Yourself". A homemade squeaker toy is a great option when you're wondering what to do with the squeaker from a toy your dog destroyed. If the squeaker somehow made it out unscathed, sew it into a cute little friend for your dog to love -- and probably destroy.
6. Tennis ball puzzle (with treats!). This one's super easy. Cut a tennis ball about a third of the way around and remove the plasticky insides. Then, using the space you've already cut, stuff that thing with your pup's favorite treats. Throw the ball and watch the magic happen as your pup digs for her favorites!
7. Magic wand upgrade. Speaking of magic, this next one is like a cat wand with a SERIOUS upgrade. Using a tennis ball wrapped in a tee shirt, or one of your new denim/fabric chews, attach the chew toy to the end of a durable rope or bungee cord (minus the metal parts), then tie that cord around a stick or broom handle. Using the chew toy as a "flirt", tempt your pup's attention and then swing the toy out of the way before he can get it! This is a great workout for your dog -- and probably for you, too.
8. Tee(shirt)-ball. Another easy one, especially if you've already got some forgotten tennis balls or chew balls around. Cut an old tee shirt down the seam so that you've got one long stretch of fabric. Then, wrap the tennis ball in a flat part of the shirt, using the ball like the spoke of a wheel as you cut out more strips (DIY dog toys love strips). Use these strips to secure the ball in place, then braid or knot the remainder to add some creativity and fun for your pup to explore.
9. Bottle bopper. Another "wrap a thing in a tee shirt and see what happens" project. The bottle bopper is a great choice for a dog who loves crinkle toys or other toys that make a satisfying noise when they bite down. Take a water bottle or 2-liter, crinkle it up a bit so it makes some fun noises, and then wrap the whole thing in tee shirt fabric. Twist the fabric on both sides of the bottle (like a candy wrapper), then use strips of fabric to secure the twists in place. Then, bop your dog (lightly) on the nose and let her chew to her heart's content!
10. Frozen toy cake. This one's a crowd pleaser for dogs of all ages, and would be a massive hit at a puppy birthday party! To make your "cake", grab a large freezer-safe bowl and stack a few of your pup's favorite toys inside. Then, fill it with water (or watered-down pupsicle mix) and freeze overnight. Pop it out of the bowl mold and let your pup go to town! She just might panic at first when she sees what happened to all her faves.
Did you make any of our easy DIY dog toys? We'd love to see the results! Post your puppy pictures (and playtime videos) on social media, and don't forget to tag us @frenchie_bulldog on Instagram!