My dog, Brodie, is pretty gentle with his toys. He loves racing around squeaking them like mad, but for the most part he doesn't chew them to bits or even tear little holes in them. But all bets are off when the foster puppies arrive. Those teething little piranhas find my sweet boy's stash of playthings and do a number on them, gnawing on the innocent plush animals until they are mere shadows of their former, fluffy selves.
I have a growing pile of injured toys that includes a penguin, a monkey, a dinosaur, a rhino and several weird shapes, all waiting to be mended so they can get back into circulation. Several may be beyond repair, but most just need some patience and minor skill. Although I'd like to just haul the lot of them to my tailor parents and let them perform the surgery, there's another answer. I learned what takes to fix the wounded — and make my dog's day — and you can, too.
Stock up on supplies
You won't need much to fix the broken toys.
Sewing supplies — If you don't have a sewing machine or don't want to pull yours out for this project, use a needle and strong thread or embroidery floss.
Replacement squeakers — You can buy these at a pet store on in bulk online. (Amazon has several options including 50 squeakers for about $7.)
Batting, felt or scrap material — You'll need something to help fatten up the injured toys, especially if your pup has pulled out all the guts of his playthings. If you find random fluff around the house, be sure to save it for reuse.
Squeak, stuff and sew
In the video above, Caroline Dunn shows simple step-by-step toy repair using a sewing machine. You can do the same thing with a needle and thread; it will just take longer and the stitches may not be as challenging for your dog to remove. Here's what she suggests:
1. Prepare a squeaker. If the original squeaker is lost or no longer works, encase a new one in felt or other strong fabric. That will make it harder to de-squeak and more difficult for your dog to remove. Place the squeaker between two squares of felt just a little bit larger than the squeaker and sew all around the edges to keep it secure. Then slide it back into the toy.
2. Add some stuffing. If your dog made a hole in his toy, there's a good chance he pulled out some stuffing too. So pack in some more batting — either fluff you've rescued or new filling. You can also use cut-up pieces of felt or other soft fabric.
3. Start sewing. Using your sewing machine, sew a basic top stitch along all the edges of the toy. Then do it all over again. It may not look all that attractive, but your dog won't care. If you're sewing by hand, Sarasota Dog suggests using a blanket stitch and embroidery floss to firmly close the opening.
4. Wash! Now that everything is newly repaired, it's a good time to throw everything in the washer. (If you wash the toys before you fix them, you could end up with a sea of fluff and lost squeakers.) Then get ready for the glee as you hand over the clean, squeaking, hole-free toys to your best buddy. It's awesome to be a hero, isn't it?