Questions About Materials for Dog Toys – Safe or Unsafe?

Safe puppy chew toy?

by Lilly (america)

A puppy cuddled up with a teddy bear

My puppy, Sophie

Would it be safe to stuff cotton in a little pouch then sew it and give it to your dog? Because I’m making that but I’m afraid my puppy might choke if it rips it open and she eats the cotton. I think not because she’s 10 weeks old and 2 lbs and won’t be able to chew it open but I just want to check just in case.

Lilly, thank you for being concerned about the safety of your puppy’s chew toy. Our take on this is that all dogs, but especially puppies, MUST be supervised when chewing on a new toy. It is amazing what even small dogs will chew through, and some dogs will try to swallow just about anything. 

Also, a dog that is left alone at home, in the backyard, or in another room may be bored and anxious – it is NOT safe to leave a dog in such a situation with a toy that is stuffed with cotton or other materials that can cause choking in our opinion.

Dog toy materials


Hi – Do you know if blue jean material will harm a dog if used for making dog toys? I know there are colors/dyes used in the manufacturing process of jeans. I have so many old worn jeans and I’d like to recycle them in some way. thanks!



Thank you for your question, Suzanne.

We have not had any reports of blue jeans used in dog toys causing harm, and times, when we have used old jeans for tug-of-war, do not seem to have hurt our dogs. However, there may be dogs who are hypersensitive to the dyes – you may wish to call a local veterinarian’s office and ask. 

A bigger danger would be if a dog chewed the jeans into pieces and swallowed them, causing choking or some kind of obstruction.

That is why we always recommend supervising your dog closely when it comes to toys made of materials that can be chewed to bits and using them more for fetch or tug of war purposes than chew devices.


Where can I get squeakers for dog toys?

by Marian 
(Sacramento, CA)

I like making toys for my dog but I don’t know where to get the squeaky things you put inside the dog toys. It’s hard to find toys that squeak at yard sales or thrift stores anymore, which is what I used to do.


If you type “dog toy squeakers” into Google you ought to see links to Amazon or eBay. also sells them.
Just be sure to check on the shipping charges.

We suggest that to prevent the dog from chewing through the squeakers, encase them in a tough material such as that used for good quality nylon rain jackets, athletic bags, or backpacks. Look for used items at thrift stores. If your dog is really good at shredding things, I’d go for a double layer.

Happy toy making! (And please feel free to share what you’ve made through our Dog Toys pages). 

Cotton or no cotton in chew toy??

by Daisie 

cotton or no cotton in a dog toy?


I’m buying a chew toy for my dog and I don’t know what to do. Should I buy one with cotton or without??? I’m worried ’cause it’s just a puppy – you never know what they will eat or swallow.


Always assume that a puppy can tear apart any chew toy, until you find out differently. Therefore, NEVER leave a puppy alone with any chew toy, whether it has cotton inside it or not. 

You may find out that your puppy cannot chew through heavy rubber toys such as Kongs, but most of the homemade chew toy ideas on this site will involve supervision. 

Again, until you know for sure what your dog is capable of, do NOT leave him/her alone with anything he/she can chew on – and that includes your furniture, shoes, clothes, cleaning supplies etc.

Strong Dog Chew Toys:
Knotted blue jeans

by Cindy Holmes 
(Kerrville, TX)


I saw somewhere recently a homemade dog toy made with bluejeans. It was a video and knotted a special way, not just braided. It seems really sturdy. I just can’t find it again.


Cindy, thank you for posting this question. I did a search and found an entry on Squidoo for AlishaV from Reno with the video title “Make a Dog Toy Out of Old Jeans” that might be the one you’re looking for. She uses a type of weaving technique similar to making a lanyard (I think). It’s down the page a bit, and the Google search term I used was “knotted jeans dog toy.” It came up as number one.

It sounds like this could be one of those strong dog chew toys. 

Another possibility would be to take long jean strips, sewn together, and make a monkey fist knot. Directions are at Animated Knots. Just take your mouse and roll it over the numbers at the bottom of the photo and it shows you each step.

Someone took that a little further – here’s the link: Instructables-Rope Dog Toy

Another human mentioned that they put a squeaker inside a slit in a small tennis ball and put that in the center of the monkey fist. That enhancement sounds like it would turn it into a favorite toy for some dogs!

For extra sturdiness for a dog with large jaws, you could also consider starting with extra long braided jean strips and then knotting them in some fashion such as the monkey fist knot or using AlishaV’s weaving technique. 

Tip: To get the knots really tight, try tying one end to a stationary object and using pliers to pull the other end tight.

Whatever you end up making, feel free to post instructions and/or a photo on our site under Unusual Dog Toys

Best wishes,

What do you use to stuff dog toys and where can I get it from?

by Red 


I really want to start making stuffed plush dog toys for my dog, but I don’t know where to buy the stuffing from! Or what it is called…? 

Are there any kinds that are toxic or shouldn’t be used? 


Hello Red, thank you for your excellent question. I usually use old socks or rags made from old clothes or towels for stuffing our dog toys. I may also use plastic bags for a soft feel. With any of our homemade toys that are vulnerable to being shredded when chewed, I advise one of two things: Either use several layers of a very strong fabric that cannot be ripped, such as the material used for backpacks. Instructions are under the heading “The Squeakers” if you scroll down on the Dog Toy Patterns page. 

Another option is to be present to supervise your dog when chewing to make sure no pieces are swallowed. You would want to do this in the beginning anyway, even with the tougher cover, to see what your dog will do. This is especially critical for smaller dogs since their throats and bowels are narrower.

If you want to emulate the commercial varieties with the white stuffing, I would go and talk to some folks at your local fabric stores and see which materials they carry that are non-toxic. This would most likely be items made of cotton (although you cannot be sure that pesticides weren’t used unless they mention that the cotton was organically grown). At any rate, I feel that the choking or bowel obstruction hazards are greater than whether the material is toxic.

Therefore, in my opinion, it would be best to make toys where the stuffing cannot be easily accessed. You can use some tough layers first and then cover them with a softer material, if you like. But then you need to be concerned that the softer covering fabric does not get end up in little chunks as well.

If you find some material that works, feel free to post about it in the comments section to help other visitors to our site.

Thanks again for writing! Jo