If your dog loves to play catch or tug-of-war, you don't have to settle for a store-bought toy. You can make a DIY dog toy with your own two hands! Use our free knitting pattern to turn pretty yarn into your pup's favorite homemade dog toy.

Making your own dog toys is easier than you think! Even if you're not a pro knitter, we'll show you how to create this adorable pet project. We've got you covered with our best basic knitting tips.

The best part? This isn't just a plain knit toy. We enclose a plastic water bottle inside the knitted toy for an added element of sensory engagement for your dog. They'll love the crinkling noise of the plastic, and as long as you remove the plastic cap before adding the bottle, it's totally safe for your pup.

red dog with knit dog toy

What You'll Need:

3 Balls of 2.5 oz cotton yarn

3 Size 13 DPN needles


Yarn Needle

Large Crochet Hook

Plastic Water Bottle

Get started: Wrap a yarn ball

Wrapping yarn balls

Make this DIY dog toy with a three-stranded yarn, which you can make yourself by combining three separate cotton skeins into one big ball. Hold the three strands together and begin winding; to make knitting easier, wind a center-pull ball of yarn. You can use any kind of yarn you like, but keep in mind that if your dog plays hard (or likes to chew toys!), a heavy and durable yarn will make the toy last longer than thin, soft yarns.  

To make a center-pull ball of yarn, extend your index finger and thumb to create an ‘L’ shape and wrap the ends of the yarn around your thumb. Secure the ends under your bent fingers, with the trailing yarn hanging past your wrist. Begin wrapping a figure-eight around your thumb and index finger with the three yarn strings. When you run out of room on your finger, slide the figure-8 off and continue winding by pinching the yarn in the center of the figure-8 between your thumb and finger. Make sure to keep the shorter end accessible as you wind. We left our thumb pinched in the middle to hold the shorter end in place and to create that classic ball shape. When you reach the end of the yarn, tuck ends into the ball and begin knitting from the shorter ends you were holding in the beginning, which now hang from the center of the ball.

Start stitching

knit dog toy in progress close up hands
knit dog toy close up in progress round edge

Cast 24 stitches onto one double-pointed needle (also referred to as a DPN needle). Divide the stitches evenly onto 3 needles by slipping ⅔ of the stitches onto a second DPN needle, then slipping ½ of those stitches onto a third. If this structure will not be large enough for your chosen water bottle, begin again with more stitches and adjust accordingly. Using a fourth DPN knit each row, beginning with the very first stitch made. Continue to knit across the first needle. If it helps, pretend you are knitting with two needles instead of four! When you complete a needle, that should free that needle to begin knitting the next. Keep repeating until the length of the bottle can be covered.

Stitch and cast off

knit dog toy double bind cast off edge

Cast off the stitches from the needles, leaving only a few extra inches of yarn at the end. Use a yarn needle to weave in the remaining yarn ends. Next, make fringe by cutting multiple 8-inch pieces of yarn. Combine the pieces into groups of three; you will will use this fringe to secure the knitted ends for the tube you just made.

Close and tie

knit dog toy putting in plastic bottle
knit dog toy loop edge

Flatten one end of the knitted tube and secure with fringe by folding yarn strands in half and pulling the looped end through the knit stitch with a crochet hook. Pull the loose cut ends of the fringe through the loop and tighten. Repeat until the end is closed, then knot adjacent pieces of fringed yarn to secure. Place a clean, empty plastic bottle in the sleeve (be sure to remove the small cap) and repeat the fringe process to close this end of the toy.

Time to play!

black dog biting knit dog toy
close up dog playing with dog toy

Once you've secured all the yarn pieces, the toy is ready for your dog to play with. We recommend double knotting each piece of fringe to make sure none come loose as your pup is playing. If you notice an area starting to become undone after a game of fetch or tug of war, you can use more yarn and a yarn needle to patch up the toy.


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