Dogs, like children, love to play with toys. They can also be picky about which ones they like and brutal with a favorite. Buying your dog durable, safe, fun toys at the pet store can get quite expensive. This is a guide about saving money on dog toys.
My poodle "Fluffy" (now passed on) taught me that she loved "babies". She found a dirty little teddy bear and would not part with it. I got it away from her when she went to sleep and washed and dried it and put it back in bed with her.
After seeing she wouldn't get far away from that "baby", I started watching for new "babies" with no moving parts that could come loose or hurt her. I got them for 25 cents apiece at the end of the day at garage sales. After a couple of trips coming home with one on a Saturday, she knew which friend went with me. If we went out together, she'd wait for me and her new "baby".
In the last few years of her life, she never hurt one of her babies. She would hide them here and there, but if a thunderstorm or other bad weather came, everyone of those babies was in her bed under her!
Also if I brought her a new "baby" from the store, she'd ignore it! It had to have been pre-loved. Her favourite was a pink and purple elephant the same small size as her teddies. That day, the only thing I saw the right size was that elephant and I knew she'd be waiting.
So that's my tip, look for toys that are sold at the end of the day, just a small one for a small dog. Probably not a good tip for big dogs. I now have a Shitzu cross and she takes her babies all over with her too!
By Annie from Kitchener, B.C.
PLEASE be careful with stuffed toys. Especially with powerful chewers. We've experienced a very expensive and traumatic stomach surgery due to the stuffing becoming bound up in our dog's intestine. Best to remove the stuffing, and stitch it back up before giving it to your friend. Add an empty plastic water bottle for a fun crunchy sound. Also remove any plastic button eyes/noses and take the toy away when it starts falling apart, or if you see your pet eating it as opposed to just playing with it.
I had a Boxer who loved crocheted stuffies. His fav was a crochet lion he 'borrowed' from my daughter.
As Emilou writes, you do need to keep an eye on stuffed toys given to dogs, especially those dogs who are know to be chewers. A daily toy check is a good idea no matter what kind of toy your dog has-just like children, a dog can do some serious damage to his/her toys in a very little period of time, and thereby endanger themselves by eating stuffing and embellishments.
I have two very playful dogs and two energetic cats who love to play with toys. In the past, I found myself spending a lot of money on toys to only have then destroyed a few minutes after giving them to my girls.
One day I noticed how whenever my niece would come over she was always missing her stuffed animals and we would always find it in someone's mouth! So I decided that children's toys were just as good for my girls as toys from the pet shop.
I save money by going to the thrift store or yard sales and buying plush toys sometimes for as little as 50 cents. I get less upset when I see the toys destroyed because I didn't pay a lot for them; just be sure to throw the toys in the wash before giving them to your pet.
Look for stuffed animals with stitching instead of buttons because they will pull those off first and may be a choking hazard. When you support your local thrift shop, you are not only saving money but helping your community so you can feel even better about saving money on your pet toys.
By angelarog from Queens, NY
I go to thrift stores for my dog toys, too. I make sure there aren't any 'beans' in the bottom of them as well. I bought a big floppy stuffed duck once, not realizing it had one of those press button noise makers in the foot. I kept hearing 'quack quack quack' and was actually looking out the window for ducks when my dog Rusty Girl first discovered it. She will sit and munch on the noisemaker until it drives me crazy and I have to take it away. I put it up for awhile, then bury it in the bottom of the toy box when she isn't looking. She always finds it after a few days!
I do the same also. Someone once told me to be careful with the newer stuff animals because the have fire prevented jel-packs. If the dog should eat the stuffing the packs will harm the dog and could lead to death. Other than that, it's a great idea.
That's exactly right, Hindsfeet. Toys designed for kids are required to have fire-retardant chemicals incorporated into the stuffing. If this stuffing is ingested, the fire-retardant compounds form a gel which blocks the animal's intestines and quickly causes irreversible necrosis. In the cases I've read about, the vets in question say the situation is nearly always irreversible and fatal.
Since toys meant for animals are not required to have the fire retardancy, and this is a pretty well-known issue, you can pretty much bet they don't.
Better to spend the couple extra bucks on toys meant for animals and maybe prevent an issue you'd give any amount to take back.
And keep those little niecie-toys away from those puppies!
I found the best toys for my little dog are the ones designed for infants. These are sturdy and they don't have little pieces that are easily detached.
Pet supply chain stores offer some great stuffed toys for dogs, but so do thrift shops! Look to the stuffed toy section and find well made toys with sewn on material eyes.
Keep a box in the closet or elsewhere for worn out socks and tee shirts, old pillowcases, and various other items that you can use to create homemade pet toys. Here's a few ideas to get you started.
I volunteer for a rescue and I need ideas for dog and cat toys. Thanks.
By Mary from Buffalo, NY
Here's another idea: using old t-shirts to make tug toys. You can find old shirts at a thrift store. Directions are here: http://www.craftbits.com/project/re ... utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cb
Also, ask for a discount when you're buying for the rescue - never hurts to ask!
My cat loves bottle caps from 2 liters. I work at an animal hospital and asked the vet if it was ok and he said yes. It's hard plastic so unlikely to fray or break. We also raid the local thrift stores for kids toys, they are usually made of the same material if not better and nothing a bit of soap and water can't handle.
My cat used to play immediately with the milk cap whenever it hit the floor. The sound of it made her dart like a rocket where ever she was. Instant milk cap hockey.
She also liked chasing a rope. My daughter used to run around the house with a rope dragging behind her and the cat pouncing right along.
Have a look at these websites: http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/cat-toys
Dogs love stuffed animals to play with and sleep with. Problem is, they are expensive and the ones from the dollar stores fall apart easily.
Any pet owner knows that making toys from worn out clothing or repurposing various items around the house is an inexpensive way to create some interesting dog toys. However, in some cases, that idea is not ideal.
We have two lagre breed dogs (American Bulldogs) that can destroy just about any toy they get. They especially love stuffed animals. But, most of the ones designed for dogs are pricey and don't last with these two. (There is one that resembles a rag doll but designed to look like a cat, snake, etc. that is good.)
My daughter discovered that she can get stuffed animals CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP (usually $.99 for a medium sized toy) at Goodwill stores. We just make sure they aren't filled with beads, etc. and when we get them home, we remove the tags, plus any hard plastic parts. I usually wash them first, even though they look clean. Then we give them to the dogs and stand back and watch the fun. (Plus, it's always best to supervise your pets when they play with certain toys.) They have so much fun.
By Pam from Davie, FL
We've been doing this for years! Our dogs love when they get new toys and I'm happy to spend 99 cents on something they'll destroy in a week or so. We've also picked them up at Yard Sales, too.
I'm always sure to wash them. Sometimes animals can be sensitive to perfumes or odors. But great tip! (07/10/2009)
This is a great idea as long as the plastic eyes and other face parts are removed, these toys were never meant to be for dogs so be careful of choking hazards! Also, if buying dog or cat toys at the dollar or 99 cent stores, I'd be leery of anything manufactured in China because of the recent food recalls. I read labels now religiously and never buy anything made in China for my dog. (07/10/2009)
I have 2 large dogs so I created the perfect toy for them. I cut the legs off of old blue jeans and tie a knot in the middle of each of the legs. The jeans fabric is really strong and even stronger with the knot. They love these and they last a long time. They also learn not to tear up my little girls stuffed animals this way. (07/10/2009)
Lucky you! The Goodwill here sells them at $4.00 and up for med sized stuffed animals. (07/13/2009)
Some good ideas here, but if you have a dog that is like a Tasmanian Devil and can disassemble a stuffed animal in five minutes or less, the used kids' stuffies may not be a good idea.
Even with due vigilance ( taking off eyes, trim and making sure the fill is only polyfill-feel), a hard chewer can immediately tear into one of these and ingest enough fiberfill to either have a choking hazard or a digestive problem ranging from loose stools ( with strings of fill, lots of fun retrieving that!) to an intestinal blockage.
Big, active, power chewers are better off with things like tami 333's idea, the denim tugs are a good, thrifty replacement to some of those pricey fire hose material things you see in the pet stores. (07/13/2009)
I do the same. But, I go to yard sales, prices are anywhere from .10, .25, .50 and 1.00.
My Georgia loves the ones that talk to her! They will keep her busy for hours! I have to admit though, if I hear Barney sing "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family" one more time, I am going to scream. Needless to say, she does get to play with Barney for a long time. (07/13/2009)
We have "power chewers" who would shred any stuffed item, any size. Our solution? Rope toys. The But, rather than spend $7+ at the pet store, we buy them for $0.99 at Save-a-Lot. They're smaller, but last a whole lot longer! Why? Haven't a clue. (07/15/2009)
Okay so I have a dog that can destroy almost anything. She's an American Bulldog, and those fire hose toys are a total waste of money. Good toys to buy are ones from a garage sale for 50 cents. Also wool sock toys, if you can knit. Also toys that are stuffed with tennis balls are awesome and tend to take her much longer to chew through. If any of you are in Canada, check out Pet Planet. They sell really good toys and treats for your pets. (11/30/2009)
I have volunteered for a rescue. I need ideas for dog and cat toys, etc.
By Dogs R Us from Buffalo, NY
I made a toy for my cat that is irresistible. My "Roxie" loves it. I knotted one of my old cotton socks at the bottom of the cuff and then shredded (with scissors) the toe part up to the knot, making 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch vertical cuts till the sock resembled a cheerleader's pom pom. Here is a picture of her with it. She's not too enthusiastic since she was napping when I presented it. (05/16/2009)
By Jan Lee
My sister buys stuffed animals from the second hand store for her dog. She only buys the ones that do not have plastic eyes or noses. She said that is how lots of people get chew toys for their dogs. She also told me never to buy used stuffed animals for a child because you never know if they were once a dog's toy. (05/16/2009)
I got this idea from a cat site: Fill little baby socks with catnip and sew up the top. Almost instant cat toy. My kitty loves it. I made up a bunch at once and put some away for later. I put a jingle bell in with some of them, too. (05/16/2009)
For dogs simply knot up some fat rope and unravel the ends. For cats the rings from the lids of milk jugs seem to be my cat's favorite play toys. (05/17/2009)
I make small "pillows" out of scrap fleece or heavy flannel. I add a little catnip inside along with a crinkly plastic shopping bag and double stitch the outside seams to be sure the cats and kittens can't get the plastic bags pulled out anywhere. I have some that are several years old and my cats still play with them. (05/22/2009)
Knotted-up socks are fun chew toys for dogs and a great way to use the ones that always seem to be without a mate.
My cats like tennis balls (which we get for free when we take walks around our neighborhood court, try asking a school or club if you can have the ones that have lost their zing). Please avoid all cat toys that have feathers because my friend's cat chewed one up and got a spine from a feather stuck in the the roof of his mouth, which had to be removed with tweezers (resulting in one mad kitty). (05/22/2009)
If you make the rope toy suggested by SusLuvsVintage, Please cut off the rope strands as they can be chewed off, and swallowed resulting in a trip to the Vet. Been there and paid dearly at the Vet. (05/22/2009)
A tennis ball in the toe of an old sock, so when you throw it, the "tail" kind of wiggles like a squirrel. For little puppies these are also easy to catch.
My neighbors swear by a few pebbles in a plastic water bottle (depending on the size of the dog-they have all sizes and use all sizes of water bottles) she throws it for her 4 dogs, and they love it, it crinkles when they pick it up, and the stones rattle when they shake it.
She has added these "rattles" to her play pillows in the house (she shaped them like dog biscuits) and put fiber batting to fill in the other areas, and just sewed them up with the seams on the outside, the dogs don't care (she used left over animal print fleece for the pillow part). Her dogs shake the those like they are trying to kill something, and the "rattle" in the pillow makes all kinds of noise. (05/26/2009)
I took a 3 foot piece of yarn and tied it to the end of a dowel rod. On the other end I tied an old toy that my cats didn't play with anymore. I control the "stick" end. My cats love this game, when I get it out they all come running. (09/10/2009)