Category Archives: dog toys

How to Make Homemade Dog Toys

By Ruthie Bently

I get perturbed when I buy Skye a dog toy that I think should last for a while and doesn’t. Having owned four AmStaffs, I think I am a pretty good judge of what will and won’t last around Skye. For example, though she dearly loves soft toys, they won’t last more than about five minutes with her because she tears them apart. She has done the same thing with tennis ball toys, so I don’t buy them for her either. I have gotten pretty handy with a sewing machine and I am a pretty fair braider. With those talents I have been able to make quite a few homemade dog toys.

One Christmas when I was younger, my grandmother made stuffed animals. I got a pony, and she also made a lion, giraffe and a penguin. I have sewed stuffed dog toys for Skye by buying some patterns and some scraps of sturdy fabric (denim, corduroy and broadcloth). I leave off any embellishments like button eyes or yarn whiskers that may be added to the toy. This leaves fewer things for Skye to grab on to and keeps her from eating yarn or swallowing buttons. Good sources for patterns are family, friends and your local thrift store.

Actually, you don’t even need to buy a pattern to make homemade dog toys. I made Skye a fabric cube that was 6” x 6” x6” and very easy to do. Make a square paper pattern that measures 6” long and 6” wide. Use your pattern to cut out six pieces of your chosen fabric. Sew the squares together in the shape of a cube, leaving one seam open so you can stuff the toy. For stuffing use fabric scraps or stuffing that you can get at your local craft store. Stuff the cube until the sides are firm, but not bulging, and sew your last seam shut. You can make the pattern larger or smaller depending on the size of your own dog. If you can’t use a sewing machine, you can use a craft needle and hand stitch your seams.

I have also made dog tugs out of old cotton jeans. I use clean jeans and rip out all the seams, which leaves me with four pieces of fabric. Depending on how thick I want the tug to be, I use either one or two pieces of fabric. I begin tying knots up the pant leg and depending on the length of the leg can get three or four knots tied in the length. You can use cotton towels to make tugs too, but I have found that they tend to get shredded faster than the denim tugs. The benefit of the cotton towels is that Skye has her own built-in dental floss. Cotton fibers are safer for dogs, but never leave your dog alone with these toys; they should only play with them under supervision.

Does your dog love to chase things? One of Skye’s favorite toys is a cotton sock with a ball in it. Get an old racquetball or tennis ball, put it down the sock and knot the neck of the sock. If the sock has a hole in the toe, knot that end too and your dog has a retrieving toy to chase after. I fashioned another homemade dog toy using a braid as the base which has several variations. I took three long strips of fabric (both denim and fleece works), put a knot in one end and braided them down halfway where I tied another knot. I finished braiding to the other end and added a third knot. You can use it as a tug or if you stitch the end fringes together you have a retrievable ring toy with three knots. I have also taken three braids and tied one knot attaching all three together. The one I am working on now incorporates six braids, each eighteen inches long, and should make for an interesting homemade dog toy.

I recycle and reuse as many things as I can, and making dog toys for Skye is rewarding on many levels. I see my own glee on that long ago Christmas morning reflected in Skye’s eyes every time I present her with a new homemade dog toy.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Which Dog Toys are the Best?

By Linda Cole

Pet toys dangle from prominent displays in pet stores, supermarkets and drugstores in every city. There are balls of different sizes and colors; some that light up when they bounce, and some that are florescent and glow in the dark. There are stuffed chew toys to delight and entertain even persistent and aggressive chewers, and tough rubber “treat” toys to keep your dog from becoming bored and attacking the couch while you are away. With the multitude of different types and sizes of dog toys available today, how do you choose the best ones for your pet? Trial and error, mostly.

My first dog was a polite American Eskimo named Jack. He never got on the furniture or bed and turned his nose up at every toy I gave him. He wanted to wrestle and didn’t have time for some stupid toy. He would fetch a ball if he was in the mood, but that game only lasted for a couple of throws.

Thinking he would like some pals to play with while I was at work, I made a decision to adopt Bear and Mindy, a brother and sister Irish Setter/Collie/Great Dane mix. I quickly discovered they loved playing with dog toys. As it turned out, their favorite toy was the throw pillows on my couch. I came home from work shortly after they came to live with us, and walked into pillow stuffing covering the living room floor with the pillow carcasses buried in the middle of the mess. Jack wandered out of the kitchen and gave me a disgusted look. Bear and Mindy scampered out of the bedroom, through the pillow debris with smiling faces and eager eyes. All I could do was laugh as a vision of pillow stuffing flying through the air filled my head. It became obvious I needed some dog toys, and I needed them now.

My dogs like tug-of-war type toys and “treat” toys that bounce erratically when they toss them in the air. Not only do they get the fun of cleaning out the peanut butter treat on the inside, they can attack the odd shaped rubber toy afterwards. Balls are always a favorite as are Frisbees, but some dogs do have to be taught how to play with these.

A collection of brightly colored stuffed dog toys have come and gone over the years. Most of them were ignored and I finally gave up buying the cute little squeaker toys. My dogs are a lively group and the ones not ignored were quickly destroyed as they dismantled the poor thing to find that annoying little squeaker hidden inside.

Dogs are a bit like kids when it comes to toys – sometimes it’s the packaging that’s the most fun! An empty plastic pop bottle can give dogs hours of enjoyment. Just make sure to remove the cap, the ring around the top and the label before letting your dog play with an empty bottle. However, if your dog wants to eat it, don’t let them play with a bottle.

Some dogs love playing with dog toys and balls and haul them around like security blankets, while others scoff at the notion of playing fetch. One reaction I’ve gotten is a look that says, “You threw it, you go get it.”

Chew bones and tough rubber toys serve a need that allows your dog a way to satisfy his need to chew without destroying the couch or table leg. Dog toys also give your pet a way to entertain themselves or find comfort when home alone. Finding the right toy may take some time, but it’s worth the effort if it can save even one couch pillow from going to that great pillow factory in the sky.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Pick the Best Dog Toy

Today when you walk into your favorite pet shop there are many more toy options for dogs than there used to be. There are a few things to consider when buying toys for your dog. Do you need toys for a puppy, or adult dog? There are a few things to keep in mind when buying dog toys.
First of all you want to buy toys that are age appropriate. For example, if you have an older dog that loves to tug and is trained to “drop” their toys, by all means buy them a tug. However, this is not a good choice for a puppy starting out, because they may not want to let go of the tug when you want them to. The problem this presents is that if the puppy has the TV remote or your cell phone, you need to be able to recover them from the puppy without too much fuss.
Another thing to consider is buying toys that are size appropriate. If you have a 120 pound Bullmastiff you wouldn’t buy a toy that is more suited to a Pomeranian. You don’t want to get a puppy toy for a full grown dog, no matter how cute it is. The reason I say this is that a puppy’s teeth will not usually do the same damage to a toy as an adult dog’s teeth. An adult dog can make mincemeat of a puppy toy pretty quickly, because their teeth are fully developed while a puppy is still getting their teeth. On the other hand, getting a toy a puppy can grow into is not as farfetched as it sounds. Puppies can grow very quickly and that toy that you brought home last week may be too small next week.
You should also gauge the activity level for your dog when considering a toy. If you have a couch potato with a low activity level that loves to chew, you don’t necessarily want to get them a Frisbee that will take a lot of activity to chase around. While I agree exercise is great for dogs, you need to determine their activity level before getting them a toy that may be too far above their current activity level. Just as we need to work up to a certain activity level, so do our dogs. So if you want to get that Frisbee go ahead, but remember that you should start with 5 to 10 minutes of activity if your dog is not used to any at all.
Last but by no means least you should consider the chewing level of your dog when buying them a toy. I have had American Staffordshire Terriers since 1981 and thought I was well-versed in their tricks with their toys. However I learned something that I have been telling my customers for years, “Every dog is different”. While I knew this myself, I got a refresher lesson, courtesy of Skye.
I made the mistake of buying Skye a rope bone with two tennis balls on it. I was going to toss it and she would go catch it and bring it back to me, at least that is what I thought. Skye had another idea. The first time we got to go outside to play with it, I threw it, and Skye went and got it. So far so good, however Skye decided to test out the strength of the tennis balls. She put her foot down on one end of the tug to hold it still and grabbed one of the tennis balls in her mouth. The tennis ball “popped” like a balloon, and that was the end of one of the tennis balls on Skye’s new rope bone. The toy now resides in the toy box, and I’m not sure I even want to give it to her again. While Skye was pleased with herself, I was worried about how quickly the tennis ball came apart and how many pieces she made of it in less than a minute’s time. I would not want her to swallow one of those tennis ball pieces if I give her the toy again, so in the toy box it stays until I figure out who has a dog small enough to gift it to.
If you remember these easy tips by buying toys that are appropriate for the age, size and activity level of your dog, not to mention their chewing level and ability; you will save yourself time and money and have a few less headaches in the bargain.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.