DIY Ball Pit for Dogs

So… I saw this awesome video of a dog LOVING the little ball pit his humans set up for him. I was so inspired that I decided to make a ball pit for Simon, Zora and Piper – a little DIY project, if you will.   Given my lack of DIY experience (or patience, really) it seemed like an easy enough and very inexpensive starter DIY project so I thought, “This will be great!”

But was it? Was it really?

I already had the plastic kiddie pool on hand. Mine is 4’ in diameter. I measured the depth of the pool and entered my numbers into this handy online ball pit calculator. It looked like all I needed was about 100 7.5cm plastic brightly colored jumbo size non-toxic 100 “Phthalate Free”, crush proof ball pit balls.  (Note: I’m pretty sure I did the math wrong because I think my pool could have used more balls. Not that that would have made any difference in the outcome…read on)

The steps seemed pretty easy:

1. Place empty pool on the floor.

DIY Ball Pit For Dogs from Sarcastic Dog

empty kiddie pool

2. Remove balls from the box and place them in the fancy hamper they came with (note: this is not really a necessary step but since it came with the balls, it seemed kind of a waste not to use the pretty hamper.)

DIY Ball Pit for Dogs from Sarcastic Dog

Ball pit balls

Fancy hamper for the ball pit balls

3. Now, step three may seem obvious. You would think it would be “dump the beautiful brightly colored plastic balls into the pool” but you would be oh, so wrong.

Here’s where things went bad. I dumped the balls into the pool and the loud plastic on plastic noise scared the crap out of Piper.

Optional step three: Place a towel in the pool and place the balls carefully atop the towel so as not to offend your overly sensitive dogs

4. You would logically think that step 4 would be “Sit back, relax and watch as your dogs frolic happily in their new ball pit for hours of entertainment” but again, you’d be wrong. All three of my dogs stared at the ball pit, stared at me and stared back at the ball pit.

This went on for several minutes when I got the bright idea to toss some dog treats into the pool at which point Simon leapt into the pool, sending balls flying as he inhaled all the treats in 2.2 seconds. Zora leaned over the edge and grabbed a treat or two but once the treats were gone, Simon and Zora had zero interest in the pool.


Simon in the “ball pit” mainlining treats

After I had placed a towel in the bottom of the pool (see "Optional Step 3 above) and added more treats and some favorite toys, Piper was finally enticed to check out the pool. However, there was no digging or joyous “swimming” through the balls.

DIY Ball Pit for Dogs from Sarcastic Dog - Piper searching for treats and showing no interest in playing with the balls

Piper searching for treats and showing no interest in playing with the balls

So, was the DIY ball pit experiment a total fail?

Pretty much, yes. While none of my dogs had the slightest bit of interest in playing with the ball pit as an actual ball pit, I did learn that everyone has a different definition of “crush proof” 

DIY Ball Pit for Dogs from Sarcastic Dog

New and untouched “crush proof” ball pit ball

DIY Ball Pit for Dogs from Sarcastic Dog

Well…I think this one speaks for itself

(Note: To be fair, the seller did not specify "dog proof" 😉 )