Making a Pet-Friendly PVC Toy

Making a Pet-Friendly PVC Toy
(A Toy to Entertain and Dispense Kibble)

What you will need:

  • A length of PVC pipe and two end caps

What size PVC pipe?

  • The PVC tube toys can be nearly any size, depending on the size and strength of the dog. Most are between 1-¼ and 2” in diameter, although they could be larger or smaller. The length is usually 8 to 12 inches, but again, this is flexible. To provide enrichment for quick eaters, some people use a length that will allow the toy to hold the amount of kibble equal to a meal.

Drill the holes in the pipe:

  • Start a dog off with multiple or large holes in their toy so that the food falls out easily and they can learn to have fun with it without becoming frustrated. As they get used to the game and become more skillful, substitute increasingly more difficult tubes with fewer holes that are closer in size to the bits of kibble. You may end up with a toy that only has one hole in order to keep the dog engrossed for as long as possible.
  • It does not matter where you put the holes. However, since the first movement the dog may get is to roll the tube by nudging it, holes on the sides of the pipe (rather than on the end caps) will leak kibble the easiest for the beginner level. The important thing is not to make them too difficult at first.

Be creative!

  • Threaded PVC pipe may be available only in a limited number of diameters and lengths. For most dogs, it is sufficient to merely buy two push-on caps and press them on to each end without bothering to use glue or threaded caps. They come off easily for filling, but most dogs cannot remove them during play. This is the simplest design, infinitely variable, and uses the cheapest materials. You can also create many variations; you’re only limited by your imagination! For example, you can use a section of PVC with a 45 or 90 degree angle and make a toy that is bent or “L” shaped. It won’t roll at all, so that provides some variety and challenge.

Consider using the toy to feed your dog meals:

  • If you do use the toys, you can feed your dog meals in this fashion. This can help increase the dog’s interest in the game. We have had success actually feeding a dog exclusively through these toys for a month. Then, when we filled the tube and the old bowl with food and sat them down side by side, the dog chose the toy and left the bowl sitting there. The dog chose food and fun over just food!

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