What is the ideal material for a home-made, doggy-safe plush toy?
July 1, 2007 10:24 PM   Subscribe

What is the ideal material for a home-made, doggy-safe plush toy?

(Posting for a friend...)

I tried to make a plush toy with squeakers inside of it for my dog. I made it out of polar fleece (what was most prevalent in the pet stores I went into) and it got completely destroyed within 2-3 days.

It's still much more economical to make these than to buy them, but I'd rather not have to do it so often. Is there a better fabric I could use? It needs to be able to feed through my sewing machine, which can handle things like denim, but ideally not be ripped to shreds in a matter of hours.

I thought about things like rip-stop nylon but this is too slippery for me to sew or for my dog to pick up easily. I have really only seen fleece, heavy-duty woven nylon (like for luggage straps) and the occasional organic cotton canvas toy. Surely there must be something better to use. Wool felt? Corduroy?

Any help would be appreciated.
posted by EL-O-ESS to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
posted by rhizome at 10:53 PM on July 1, 2007

You could try Cordura, but my dog (who is also a heavy chewer -- and destroys fuzzy toys within a matter of minutes) chewed apart a cordura toy with a squeaker in it in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid that you're left in the same position as I am -- no human-fun squeaky toys for you. I've found that the cheapest toy my dog prefers is giant rope toys. I buy cotton rope by the foot from a boating supply store and tie giant knots in it. She chews it to bits in a week, but it's only about $2 a foot, so who cares? Bonus: You get to watch her flail herself like a catholic mortifying the flesh with a cat o' nine tails.

I'm sure I could get more creative with the rope toys than the simple crosses and lengths that she plays with, but as long as she has something to destroy... I mean, chew on, she's perfectly happy.

(14 month old rhodesian ridgeback, for those who were curious.)
posted by SpecialK at 10:55 PM on July 1, 2007

Every now and then when we have accumulated enough orphaned socks, I tie them together into a big sock-monster ball. Ditto the self-flailing action that SpecialK describes. I've made similar toys using old bits of climbing rope, but I stopped doing that when I saw one of them eyeing off my new climbing rope like it was 50 meters of pure entertainment.

Our dogs don't seem to mind what you make their toys out of, so long as they can chew on it, wrestle each other for it and then charge around the house waving it like a trophy. Oh, and whatever you use, it will end up coming out of their arses at some point, so bear that in mind.

(wolfhound/mastiff/staffie and wolfhound/deerhound/mastiff for the sake of comparison)
posted by tim_in_oz at 12:35 AM on July 2, 2007

Did your friend mention why they're adverse to using denim? That would be one of my suggestions.

My mother has labs, one who loves to carry his plush "babies" around like a gentle giant, the other who likes to behead things like a barbarian. So we've been using duck cloth to make soft toys. It's been sturdy enough that the toys last a bit longer than store bought. But once the barbarian gets it in her head that she's going for the squeaker, we're not sure that anything could stop her. It's nice that it comes in a variety of weights, and colors, and is usually available at places like JoAnn Fabrics.

I'd advise against the wool felt - I use it to make cat toys and it pills and shreds under the abuse of two kittens, so I can't imagine what the jaws of a dog would do to it.
posted by librarianamy at 5:19 AM on July 2, 2007

seconding cotton duck or canvas. and the fact that once they hone in on that squeaker not much is going to stand in the way of the Jaws of Squeaker Death (tm). fat cat, inc makes fantastic dog toys out of cotton duck that can be used as inspiration.
posted by hecho de la basura at 6:52 AM on July 2, 2007

Here's a no-sew dog chew that may do the trick:

Cut the legs off a pair of pants, cut on crease-line.
You should have 4 long pieces with a seam down the center. Fold on seam and cut strips an inch, mol, almost to the seam. Now tie it in knots using the strips and/or the entire piece. These are washable or disposable.
posted by misspat at 7:23 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

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