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Luna loves to play. She especially loves rope toys. She enjoys playing tug with them, but her favorite thing to do is to chew on them. Unfortunately, with a traditional rope toy, she ends up pulling out the individual strands of rope and then swallows them.
Thankfully nothing bad has happened so far, but it worries me. It’s to the point that she is only allowed to have them when someone is playing tug with her. I’ve been searching for an alternative and may have found it with this DIY T-shirt Dog Toy.
T-shirt fabric seems to hold up better than rope, at least for Luna. There isn’t as many individual strands for her to pull apart. So far, she hasn’t pulled the pieces apart, though she did pull one strip off at the knot while playing a game of tug.
She did this when she ended up with just one strand in her mouth as she pulled. Other than that one strand she hasn’t gotten any pieces off. With the traditional rope toy she would pull out multiple pieces just chewing on it herself.
The best part about this toy is you can make it with zero cost. I used two old t-shirts that had some small holes in them. The only downside with the t-shirt material is that it ends up being a fairly thin toy. To make it thicker you could use fleece, though I haven’t tried it that way yet.
How to Make a T-shirt Tug Toy
Cut your t-shirt (or fleece) into 1-inch wide strips. My t-shirt was an XL and had a seam on each side that I cut off. Because of this seam my strips were limited to about 2 feet long.
If using fleece, cutting the strips at 2 inches wide produces a thicker tug toy without the need of extra strips.
My 1 inch by 2-foot strips gave me a toy about 10 to 12 inches long. For a dog the size of Luna, I would prefer a larger dog toy. An XL t-shirt without side seams would be much better.
Lay your strips in a pile and tie a knot. You need a total of 4 sections for this type of toy. Because t-shirt fabric is so thin I used 4 strips per section. The end product was fairly thin for Luna but would be perfect for a smaller dog.
I think next time I would use 8 strips per section. For fleece, cutting the strips at 2 inches wide produces a toy of similar thickness to a regular rope tug toy.
Lay out the strips so one group is at the top, one at the bottom, one left, and one right (like in the picture).
Fold the top group down over the left group. Fold the bottom group up over the right group.
Feed the left group over the top group and through the bottom group. This can be a little confusing, but hopefully the picture helps.
Pull all the strips tight. I found it easiest to pull opposite sides together a little at a time, switching back and forth between top/bottom and left/right. Once all the strips were mostly tight I pulled one strip at a time until all the strips were fairly tight.
Now just repeat the process until you reach the desired length. Make sure you leave enough length to tie a knot at the end.
All that is left is to tie the final knot. I did pull each strip in the knots to make it really tight. Luna loves to pull things apart, so this was necessary for a toy for her.
If you don’t like the look of the ends being various lengths, you can trim them and make them pretty.
It is now ready to give to your dog. This one is a little small to play tug with Luna, but it works great to play fetch or to just let her chew on.
As with anything you give a dog, please supervise them while they play with this toy and take it away if it appears worn.
Does your dog like to play tug? What is their favorite toy?