Cheaper Puppy Chew Toys
Puppy Toys That Outlast What You Spent
So You've Acquired a Puppy
The Lifetime Cost of Adopting a Dog
Cleaning Stuffed Animals
'Hyper Dog' and the Vanishing Chew Toy
I have a sweet, hyper little puppy who just loves to play with stuffed animals. We've been buying the heavy-duty pet-type stuffed animals at the pet store, since she has very strong jaws and sharp teeth, but these tiny little toys are anywhere from $5 to $20 dollars each. And ultimately she still manages to pull the stuffing out of them in about a month. Does anyone have any ideas for sturdy stuffed animal toys for dogs that are cheaper?
Thrift Sale 'Friends'
My mother-in-law buys toys from the Salvation Army, yard sales, Goodwill store etc. She washes them before giving to the dog. As fast as a dog goes through these, it's a lot cheaper this way. We also would have blankets for our Dobie (who always seemed cold), so instead of buying new, that's what we did also. Lots cheaper!
We recently adopted 2 puppies, they are 10 weeks old now. They are both teething and chewing on everything in site. I would suggest trying to get your pup onto rope toys. There are many variations of rope toys available, but our favorite is the several strands braided together with a knot on each end (so that the frayed edges are exposed). Our pups love that one, and they haven't been able to make a dent in it. From what we have read it is very important for the pups to learn what they can chew and what they can't, and I would hate to see yours move to items similar to the dolls - such as your pillows.
We used to have a dog like this. In fact, we're STILL pulling giraffe stuffing out of crevices in our furniture, three years later! What I discovered, though, is that he had no prejudice regarding the shape of his toys. And I had a heavy-duty needle for my sewing machine. I picked up some really cheap canvas and heavy denim fabric and some stuffing, and came up with creative shapes for homemade toys. Unlike stuffed toys for a child, those for a dog don't have to teach anything; they just have to be fun for the dog to chew on. The specific shapes are to please the humans, not the dogs. Another thing to keep in mind is that your sewing doesn't have to be exact or perfect because all your puppy cares about is that she can eventually rip it apart. So you don't have to have your seams totally lined up, which makes the sewing process faster. You might even find some of that fake lambswool fabric on sale. You can shape it into a stick figure or bone if you like and it will be just like the $8 item I saw at Petco yesterday. (And ask your puppy to shred one in memory of Louchi, who once managed to keep a giraffe for a week, but otherwise made sure that no stuffed toy saw the sun set in HIS domain!)
'Blue Jean Buddy'
You can make sturdy stuffed animals/shapes from heavy canvas or denim. I recycle old bluejeans. A double layer of denim sewn into a tube or fat pancake shape or a teddy bear shape, stuffed with strips of more recycled denim, and sewn together will keep your pup occupied. Use heavy duty thread and double seams. Make sure you put a heavy duty needle in your machine, and adjust the machine accordingly. I make 4-5 of these "babies" at a time, and keep the extras hidden so when my dog wears out the current one, I can give him a new one. A tennis ball shoved into the toe of an old tube sock (knot the end) will also give your pup lots of fun time.
As a dog trainer and owner, I suggest that you buy toys for your puppy that are more long-lasting, such as a Nyla-bone toy or rawhide chews. They not only last longer and cost less in the long run, they're more suitable for your puppy's needs - teething and building strong jaw muscles and healthy gums. Most discount department stores carry good chew toys, or if you live in a rural area, cow or deer hooves are wonderful chew toys if you have access to them. Any animal bones given should be only long smooth ones that aren't as likely to splinter and injure your pet.
Sock It to Them
I've had dogs for years and never had a puppy that didn't like this. Take a ragged old pair of blue jeans (if you don't have any, you can pick up a pair at a thrift store) and cut off the legs near the hip area. Stuff the leg with any rags, but if you can retire a pair of socks that smell like you, he'll love it. Tightly tie the open ends with a cord and clip off the long ends so the pup doesn't get it in his teeth, something nylon is usually good...it is strong and they don't like to chew on it as much as other things. Just put the extra leg away to make another one when you need it. These last a long time, even with larger dogs. Have fun!
No Deposit, No Return
I have a 10-week-old puppy that has chisel teeth too. It is not a soft toy but very cheap and highly entertaining for both her and me. Take empty plastic bottle that is larger than her bite is - ie she cannot get her teeth into it. Put a bean in it to make it rattle. My puppy goes wild chasing this bottle all over the floor and trying to carry it by its top. The bottle is almost too big to carry , and it constantly makes noise to keep the attention. Attention deficit is alive and well in my little brute.
Another very cheap 'toy' is an ice cube. I know she could choke on it, but puppies are near choking on anything and everything all the time, so this is a moot issue in my opinion. She loves to scoot the cube around and toss it in the air! And she is fascinated by where it disappears too.
We also keep a supply of racket balls and tennis balls for throw and fetch. Make sure the balls are large enough to avoid swallowing.
Nylon Rope Trick
I have dogs that tear up and swallow most of their toys too and have found that a good length of thick nylon or cotton rope with big knots at both ends is the only toy that lasts. You can find it at marine shops or hardware stores. Small marine buoys also provide long lasting canine fun.
I don't know about stuffed toys, but a friend of mine has a rather large dog that loved toys as well. He tore plastic pet toys to pieces. She bought bath toys for him, and he hasn't been able to chew them up. Maybe you could find some inexpensive stuffed toys at your local Goodwill.
When our dog was a pup, I made her a shoe chew toy out of recycled materials. We had a baby-sized leather tennis shoe (a hand-me-down weebok, actually) that I put a worn-out adult sized over-the-calf sock through (from the foot opening underneath the laces and back up near the toe. I tied the laces in a double knot and also tied both ends of the sock to keep it from slipping through either opening. Our pup LOVED it! She even preferred it to rawhide chews when she grew older.
Advice from a Dog Trainer
Being a dog obedience trainer my students are always asking questions like this. First off, many breeds of dog should *not* play with stuffed toys as they can be very dangerous (more info, contact me privately), and my dogs have been known to rip the stuffing out of these toys within MINUTES of getting a new one (they don't get them anymore). I would have to recommend the following toys: Kong (brand) since you can stuff them with treats and keep puppies occupied for hours. Booda (brand) rope toys, they are very strong, just get one that is suitable to the size of dog you will have in 6 months. :) Natural RAW beef bones, obviously for most people this is an outdoor chew toy or a crate toy, but they are very good for dogs and keep their teeth clean (no vet bills for dental work...) and can keep a dog/pup busy for entire days. Cressite rubber (brand) toys in appropriate sizes. Natural Sterilized bones (those white ones at the pet stores)...you can stuff these with peanut butter or a dog treat or there are actually recipes to stuff in these things to keep dogs occupied.
Stuffed animal toys for dogs? Try old girls tights - the heavy, winter ones. I foster dogs for the local humane society & find I am ALWAYS looking for something to keep them from eating the hoses, digging holes, chewing up the BBQ grill, etc. I have found that buying used girls tights from the local thrift store, doubling them in two and tying them in a couple of knots works wonderful. The dogs love to play tug with each other & the tights seem to last a long time without shredding. One pair usually lasts the dogs a couple of months. You could probably use a magic marker to draw a face on it & fake out your pup into thinking it is a stuffed animal. Works great for me - hope this works for you.
Another "toy" we use is a deflated basketball -- found alongside the roads, in trash cans, our own, etc. that can't be pumped up again. He loves to catch these -- and then spends hours chewing them apart -- again free or nearly free! :-) (we keep them till they're too small to throw.)
Rope Toy Warning
I don't suggest the toy made from rope with the knot in the middle that is designed to unravel. Dogs tend to eat the thread strands from these type things, and just as if they had eaten a handful of embroidery thread, the long strands will cause the intestines to knot around them and will result in surgery to attempt to remove them. The animal will go into the operation with a 50/50 chance of survival, if perfectly healthy. The resulting operation and supporting costs will be around $1000.00. And the animal may well not survive. Just thought you'd like to know. This talkin' is from experience, not passed on wisdom.
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Snap up these 9 deals in August
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Choosing a guardian for your child
- 3 fun party ideas your nearly teen will love
- How much do kids need to know about the family budget?
- This week's Readers' Tips