Toys are an important component of your dog’s care. Toys give him something to do, which may help provide some exercise and combat anxiety. You don’t even have to buy toys; you can make several types yourself. However, care is required when making your own toys and you must ensure your dog doesn't destroy it and ingest anything harmful.
Rope Bone Toys
The easiest DIY toy you can make for your furry friend is a rope “bone.” Start with a section of very sturdy rope, about 12 inches long. Tie an overhand knot in each end, cut away any loose strands and you are done. Be sure to check the toy frequently for signs of wear, such as frayed or cut fibers. If you make several rope bones at one time, you can rotate their use to make them last longer.
Dogs love toys, but they love toys containing treats even more. Use scissors or a sharp knife to make a slit in one side of a tennis ball. You can now squeeze the ball -- thus opening the slit -- and insert one or more small treats. Release the pressure, and the slit will close, securely containing the treat. As your dog chews and squeezes the ball, he will eventually manage to remove the treat. You may need to experiment with the size of the slit until you find the optimum design for your dog. For dogs without strong jaws, you may need to make two cuts, achieving an “X” shape, which will make it easier for them to access the treat. Tennis balls can be dangerous for large dogs that can chew them up easily, so exercise care. Never let your dog play with a tennis ball unattended.
Tennis Ball Sock Toys
Tennis balls are wonderful toys without making any customizations, but you can give your dog some variety by using them with a sock. Place two or three tennis balls inside a long athletic sock and tie the sock closed. For extra enjoyment, use a tennis ball with a hidden squeaker. Construct several different toys, and make each one unique by using different sized tennis balls and arranging them in different ways.
It is imperative to ensure that your dog does not ingest any portion of the toy. Many items, including ribbons, strings, buttons and squeakers, may cause intestinal obstructions if your dog swallows them. Understand that some dogs are too strong for all but the toughest toys. Always supervise your pet when introducing a new toy, and inspect the toy periodically. If the toy develops splits, tears or frayed fibers, discard and replace it immediately.
- Banfield Pet Hospital: Easy to Make Dog Toys
- The Humane Society of the United States: Dog Toys
- San Diego Humane Society and SPCA: Affordable Homemade Pet Toys
- AnimatedKnots.com: Overhand Knot
- PerfectPetDog.com: How to Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
- Vet Street: Are Tennis Balls a Dangerous Toy for Dogs?