SPCA New Zealand

Make the perfect Christmas gift for your pet DIY style!

09 November 2020
Make the perfect Christmas gift for your pet DIY style!

Store-bought pet toys can be quite costly, but with a little time and some materials from around your home, you can make your own at a fraction of the price!

Making your own pet toys is a great way to keep both you and your children entertained: children will have fun getting creative, and your pets will appreciate playing with the end product.

With Christmas just around the corner its the perfect opportunity for you to get crafty! We've put together some easy-to-make toys that everyone in the family can get involved with.

Toys for dogs - plaited tug toys

Dogs and puppies love having something to play and chew on – just make sure that they don’t start eating bits of the toy!

You can make rope toys for dogs by tearing old, clean material into strips and plaiting them together. Follow the instructions below to make these toys – they’re super easy!

Pillow Cases

  1. Take three pillow cases of varying colours, split the stitching of each one so that it becomes one piece of fabric (make sure each of the three pieces are equal lengths).
  2. Collect all three together at the end and tie in a secure knot, then plait, making sure the plaits are nice and tight.
  3. Once you have reached the end, tie in another secure knot. If length allows, tie a third knot in the centre.
  1. Gather fabric together at one end of the sheet and tie into a good secure knot.
  2. At the other end, divide the sheet into three and tear back up to the knot, then begin to plait tightly. These plaits need to be very tight and secure, so they last when being chewed and pulled!
  3. When almost to the end, tie another knot to finish.
Duvet Covers (these make great tug toys for larger dogs)
  1. Split the seams of the duvet cover so that it becomes one long length of fabric.
  2. Gather the fabric up at one end and tie a good secure knot and follow the instructions above for the sheets, remembering to keep plaits really nice and tight.
  3. The sizes should range from 60cm to 1m in length.

Toys for cats - Knitted mice

Here at the SPCA, our cats and kittens love playing and cuddling with their knitted mice. The mice, which are kindly donated to us by members of the public, are given to every feline that comes into our care. When they find a home, they take their knitted mice with them. For older kids or adults, why not try making knitted mice for your own pet at home?

For knitted mice you will need…

  • Size 8 (4mm) knitting needles
  • Scraps of 8 ply (or thicker) wool in any colour
  • Stuffing (optional)


Cast on 12 stitches, leaving an extra-long tail (approximately 80cm). Knit 12 rows of stocking stitch. Decrease one stitch at each end of the next four rows, ¬finishing with four stitches. Break off the wool (20cm-plus), thread through the stitches and fasten tightly.

Ears (x2)

Cast on six stitches. Knit one row. Break off the wool, then thread through the stitches and fasten tightly. To attach the ears, thread the ends through the body and tie all four ends together on the wrong side.

To finish

Sew the body from nose to tail. Stuff with scrap wool or stuf¬fing, gather the bottom and secure.


There are two ways you can do this. The first is by folding the long tail end in half with a 5cm overlap along the mouse body, twisting the wool until tight, folding in half and letting the wool twist together. Secure the overlap end into the mouse body. Otherwise you can crochet a chain and attach to the body.

Toys for rabbits - irresistiballs

Rabbits love throwing toys around, and having a nibble on them too. Remember to let them destroy these toys if they want to – that is part of the fun!

You will need…

  • 1 cardboard tube
  • 1 pair of scissors


  1. Using the width of your pointer finger as a guide, cut a ring from the cardboard tube.
  2. Do that three more times.
  3. Take one ring and place it inside the other.
  4. Place a third ring inside the first two.
  5. Finally, squeeze your fourth ring in between the other three. You’re done!
Why not try hiding treats in the irresistiballs as a form of food enrichment for your rabbit?

Want more pet DIY?

For more fun DIY pet toys, head to the Kids Portal on the SPCA website.

If you don’t have pets at home, or if they have more toys than they know what to do with, why not drop your handicrafts off to your local SPCA? Our animals will appreciate having toys to keep them entertained while they wait for their forever homes. Click here to find your nearest centre.

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