Play is integral to your dog’s health and happiness. Pet toys and play provide enrichment challenges and exercise to maintain physical and mental wellness. The best toys mimic natural canine behaviors, like chewing, hunting, and sniffing — which can help calm your dog and protect your home from damage. 

If you’re a pawrent to a super chewer, then you know how expensive dog toys can get. There are plenty of clever ways to get affordable toys and many more you can make yourself. We’ve gathered our favorite deals for free dog toys plus some easy DIY dog toys your pup will love.

Illustration shows a dog and the key benefits dog toys satisfy, including: treat toys, mental stimulation, nose work, chewing, interactive play, durability.

Where To Get Free Dog Toys

Many pet manufacturers offer free product trials and samples, as well as bonus freebies for joining their service. Here are some ways you can try new pet products for free:

  • BarkBox: Currently, you can get an extra free toy in every box when you subscribe for multiple months. You can also get a free box from a friend that’s already registered. 
  • Free and For Sale Facebook Groups: Keep an eye out for free dog toys your neighbors are giving away as well as plush toys perfect for puppies. 
  • KONG: Visit the KONG site for your chance to try new products and get free recipes. 
  • KONG Box: Subscribe for their $39.95/month box and use the coupon code “FIRSTBOXFREE” for free toys and treats. You can cancel your subscription after your first box. 
  • PINCHme: Get free samples of food, treats, and more with no credit card requirements. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways you can make your own dog toys with household items. 

DIY Dog Toys

It’s easy to make engaging dog toys for free with items around your home. Check out these DIY dog toy tutorials to try with your best friend. 

PVC Treat Dispenser

Illustration shows a dog playing with a DIY dog toy treat dispenser.

Create your own sturdy treat dispenser with a PVC pipe. All you need to do is drill some holes large enough for your preferred treats to fit through and place caps at each end of the pipe. Your dog will enjoy shaking, batting, and rolling the pipe to release their snack.

Material required:

  • PVC pipe
  • 2 pipe caps
  • Power drill
  • Drill bit (choose a size just a bit bigger than your treats)
  • Treats

Tutorial: Leader of the Pack Dog Training

PVC Flirt Pole

A flirt pole lets your dog hunt for their favorite toys, which are attached to a PVC pipe you control. Think of a cat’s feather toy but much larger. 

Material required:

  • PVC Pipe
  • Rope
  • Lure (ball or rope knot)

Tutorial: Notes From a Dog Walker

Paper Roll Treat Dispenser

Save paper rolls and create fun treat dispensers for your pup to shred. Fill the roll with kibble and snacks and seal both ends. You can punch holes for the treats to fall from or leave your dog to open his surprise. 

Material required:

  • Cardboard paper roll
  • Treats

Tutorial: Dogington Post

Braided Rope

Braided rope toys are a favorite for dogs of all sizes to chew and tug. Repurpose old towels or shirts to braid into a classic rope toy. You can do one long rope, add knots for grip, or split the rope into multiple braids at the end. 

Material required:

  • Long lengths of fabric (towels, blankets, or shirts)
  • Scissors

Tutorial: Fleece Dog Toys

Denim Rope

If your dog’s extra tough with their toys, try making their new rope toys out of old denim. This is a great way to reuse old jean legs when you cut a pair into summer shorts. 

Material required:

  • Long lengths of denim
  • Fabric scissors

Tutorial: Sew Historically

Snuffle Mat 

Snuffle mats are great for nose work and engaging your dog’s brain. All you need is to tie lengths of fleece through holes on a floor mat to create a fabric forest for your pup to forage in. 

Material required:

  • Fleece strips
  • Bath mat with holes
  • Fabric scissors

Tutorial: Proud Dog Mom

Muffin Tin Puzzle Toy

Hide treats in a muffin baking tin and place tennis balls or other toys over top. Your dog then sniffs out their treats and overcomes the tennis ball obstacle hiding them away. This is another great scent training game and acts as a puzzle feeder. 

Material required:

  • Muffin tin
  • Tennis balls or other small toys
  • Treats

Tutorial: Cold Nose College

Rolled Towel Enrichment Toy

Illustration shows a small dog unraveling a towel with treats inside.

This puzzle toy is just as easy to make as the last. Just set out an old towel, sprinkle treats on top, then roll it up so the treats are secure inside. Invite your furry friend to learn how to unroll the towel and find their treats. 

Material required:

  • Towel
  • Treats

Tutorial: Paws for Purple Hearts

Bottle Tightrope Puzzle Toy

This toy is a little more time-intensive to make, but loads of fun for your dog! Essentially, you suspend plastic bottles on a string or dowel rod to fill with treats. Your pup has to learn to flip the bottle to dump their prize out. This interactive puzzle toy is a great brain exercise for all dogs. 

If you don’t have the means to make a complete stand, suspend string with some heavy-duty clamps between chairs or other dog-level items. Thread your bottles onto the string and you’re ready to play. 

Material required:

  • 3 plastic bottles
  • Treats
  • Wood board (for the base)
  • 2 wood planks (for the stand)
  • 2 dowel rods (to secure the bottles)
  • Measuring tape
  • Power drill
  • Wood glue

Tutorial: Cuteness

Water Bottle Sock

This toy is exactly what it sounds like — a water bottle in a sock. The sock provides some texture for your pup to chew through while the water bottle provides shape and crinkle. 

Material required:

  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • Sock

Tutorial: Vet Street

PVC Agility Hurdle

If you and your dog have been considering the wonderful world of canine sports, you can get started at home with a DIY agility hurdle. All you need is PVC pipe and connectors to create your beginner obstacle course. 

Material required:

  • PVC pipes
  • PVC connectors
  • PVC end caps
  • PVC cutting tool
  • Power drill
  • Measuring tape

Tutorial: PVC Fitting Online

Braided Ball Tug Toy

Combine the fun of a tug toy with the bounce of a ball into one great toy. Choose a ball and old T-shirt to complete this easy DIY dog toy. 

Material required:

  • Ball of your choice
  • T-shirt
  • Scissors

Tutorial: Fix This

Stuffed Sock Toy

This DIY toy is perfect for pups that like to de-stuff plush toys. Just stuff a sock with your stuffing of choice — crumpled paper, fleece squares, or Poly-Fil. Just be sure to clean up when they’re done so they don’t ingest any stuffing. 

Material required:

  • Sock
  • Stuffing of your choice

Tutorial: Sock City — Fun Sock Creations

No-Sew Fleece Stuffy

If you’ve ever made a no-sew blanket, then you know how to make a no-sew fleece stuffy. Layer your fleece, cut and tie the edges to secure, and stuff with your preferred stuffing before finishing your ties. 

Material required:

  • Two squares of fleece
  • Fabric scissors
  • Stuffing (Poly-Fil, fleece squares, paper)

Tutorial: Sea Lemon

Pupsicles

Not so much a toy as a sweet treat, your dog will love a fresh pupsicle on a hot summer day! All you need is an ice tray and dog-friendly treat or pupsicle recipe.

Material required:

  • Ice pop tray
  • Recipe of your choice

Tutorial: The Dog Bakery

Cardboard Treat Box

What’s more fun than diving into a box filled with your favorite snack? Choose a box small enough for your dog to work with — cereal boxes work well — and fill with treats, toys, and crumpled paper for your dog to play with. 

Material required:

  • Cereal box
  • Treats
  • Paper

Tutorial: All Dogs Gym and Inn

Dried Treat Rope

Illustration of a dog carrying a DIY dog toy rope with dried sweet potatoes.

This chew and tug toy combo is sure to excite your best friend. Dry slices of sweet potato in the oven and then thread onto a rope and you’re ready to play. 

Material required:

  • Sweet potato
  • Cookie cutters
  • Rope

Tutorial: Petwell Supply

Tennis Ball Treat Dispenser

This easy treat dispenser is sure to entertain your dog. Choose a tennis ball and cut a hole in it large enough to stuff treats through, then give to your dog to bounce and bat around to earn treats. 

Material required:

  • Tennis ball
  • Scissors
  • Treats

Tutorial: Erins Animals

Rope Ball

Use durable rope to make a ball for your pet to chew and play. All you need is rope and a tutorial on tying a monkey’s fist knot. 

Material required:

  • Rope

Tutorial: WhyKnot

Frozen Socks

Socks are one of a dog’s best friends, and freezing them makes a great chew toy. Frozen socks are an especially fun toy for teething puppies.

Material required:

  • Sock
  • Water

Tutorial: Make and Build Dog Stuff

Treasure Hunt

While this isn’t a toy, hosting a treasure hunt for your dog is a great way to work on scent training and challenge your dog. Just sprinkle treats around your home while your pup is in “stay,” then release for the game to begin. 

Material required:

  • Treats

Tutorial: Cheerful Hound

Treat Bouquet

Present your pup with a treat bouquet they’ll love. All you need is to sprinkle treats into standing paper rolls. Your dog will then sniff out the treats and figure out how to move or remove the rolls as needed. 

Material required:

  • Shallow box
  • Cardboard paper rolls
  • Treats

Tutorial: Club Dogue

Tennis Ball Tug Toy

Join the fun of tug with the love of a ball with this easy DIY dog toy. All you need is a rope or old T-shirts and a tennis ball. 

Material required:

  • Rope or T-shirts
  • Tennis ball
  • Scissors

Tutorial: Borrow My Doggy

Doggie Ball Pit

While you may not have these items lying around, they’re affordable and great for kids and pets! No tutorial required, but there are plenty of pawsome videos showing just how fun ball pits can be. 

Material required:

  • Kiddie pool
  • Plastic balls

Tutorial: The Mountain Husky

Foxtail Fetch

Foxtails are the ultimate throwing toy with a long tail attached to the ball so you can swing to throw long distances. You can play fetch longer with less strain on your arm.

Material required:

  • Tennis ball
  • Fabric (pantyhose works well)
  • Needle
  • Dental floss
  • Scissors

Tutorial: Instructables

Agility Weave Poles

Challenge your dog’s physical and mental abilities with weave poles at home! Start with plenty of space for your dog to weave, then shorten the length between poles to up the challenge. Once your dog gets it, you can have fun with time trials. 

Material required:

  • PVC pipes
  • PVC fittings
  • PVC end caps
  • Measuring tape
  • PVC cutter (optional: you can have your pipe cut at the hardware store)

Tutorial: The Stumpy Brigade

Denim Donuts

Illustration of a dog holding a DIY chew toy made of rolled denim.

This tough toy is easy to make and great for chewing, tug, and fetch. You can even include squeakers if your dog is a fan.

Material required:

  • Old jeans
  • Scissors

Tutorial: The Dachshund Diary

Restuffable Stuffies

If your dog loves to de-stuff then this is the toy for you! All you need is your dog’s favorite stuffed toy and some felt. Cut felt squares so you can restuff your toys without the messy Poly-Fil and wash them as you need. 

Material required:

  • Felt or fleece
  • Scissors

Tutorial: Kol’s Notes

Treat Busy Box

A busy box provides your dog with an assortment of challenges for fun at home. All you need is a cardboard box, treats, and peanut butter. 

Material required:

  • Thin cardboard box (cereal box)
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Dog treats
  • Spatula

Tutorial: Jacksonville Humane Society

Foraging Busy Box

You can also make a busy box that challenges your dog to find treats hidden among toys and stuffing like paper. These are easy to level up in difficulty when you include other DIY enrichment toys.  

Material required:

  • Box
  • Treat toys
  • Toys
  • Paper stuffing
  • Treats

Tutorial: Proud Dog Mom

Braided Ring

Braided rings are another great chew and tug combo you can make with fleece or old T-shirts. They’re easy to make and perfect for young and gentle chewers. 

Material required:

  • Fabric
  • Scissors

Tutorial: Irresistible Pets

Ball Slingshot

Make fetch a breeze with this easy-to-make slingshot. All you need is elastic tubing and your dog’s favorite ball. 

Material required:

  • Surgical tubing
  • Wire hanger
  • Ball
  • Power drill

Tutorial: Instructables

Classic Shell Game

The classic shell game is a simple way to challenge your dog’s nose and have fun together. You may have to train your dog to get the hang of it, but they’ll have a blast learning. 

Material required:

  • Plastic cups (3 or more)
  • Treats

Tutorial: Animal Wised

Stuffed Treat Dispenser

Transform your pup’s preferred plushie into a treat dispensing toy. All you need is some fabric, thread, and a needle to add little treat pouches. 

Material required:

  • Plush toy
  • Fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Treats

Tutorial: K9 of Mine 

Frozen Treat Toys

If you have a ton of treat toys you can level up the challenge by freezing them before giving them to your dog. Just add your preferred treat toy stuffing and freeze for a few hours. These are especially great in the summer. 

Material required:

  • Treat toy
  • Freezer
  • Preferred treat recipe

Tutorial: KONG

Bottle Bungee

This food dispenser is cheap and easy to make, and a great way to have your pups work for their dinner. All you need is to hang a bottle from a bungee and provide a rope for your dog to pull. Once they release the rope the food will be sent flying. 

Material required:

  • Bungee cord
  • Bottle with a handle (milk jug works well)
  • Soft rope or fabric
  • Scissors
  • Dog food or treats

Tutorial: All Pets Education and Training

PVC Sprinkler

A sprinkler is a perfect addition to any summer yard. You can even make your own super durable sprinkler for kids and pets with PVC pipes and a hose. 

Material required:

  • PVC pipes
  • PVC fittings
  • Water hose
  • Tape measure
  • Power drill
  • PVC pipe cutter

Tutorial: Home Depot

Every dog has its day, and with these easy-to-make and free dog toys, your dog has a lot of great days ahead! Whether you’re looking for more daily enrichment or planning for a birthday surprise, enjoy making memories with your pooch without breaking the bank. 

Infographic of free dog toys and DIY games.

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