DT Stuffz – dog toys & more

Posts Tagged ‘dog toys’

Tips on How to Create Interactive Dog Toy Treat Puzzles

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

What a mouth full! Just headlining this article was a tongue twisting puzzle for me! Speaking of tongue twisting, that seems to be what makes a good interactive dog toy. If you can find dog or puppy toys that have containers to hold special treats which have to be dug – or licked – out through interactions of your dog or puppy’s various muscles, tongue, nose, and brain muscles and maybe paws too then you’ve got a lot of working parts to end one goal – getting the treat into his stomach (muscle)! – That just taxed my brain to write that run-on sentence!

Including the puzzle part to this sort of interactive dog toy can lend itself to occupying your dog or puppy’s time away from destructive things and help keep them calm too. And, if you have to leave your dog or puppy home alone while you are away then you’ve got a little bit of a distraction with these toys for a happier fun time for him or her instead of a crying, whining pup.

Some top tips for creating your own interactive dog toy treat puzzles:

1) Frozen Toy Treats – We prefer not to use small ice cube trays unless you have a very small dog or puppy because they are so easily swallowed without much ado. Get a plastic bowl and scatter in a few treats put a layer of water, about ½ full and freeze, and a few more treats, add more water and freeze completely. Take the frozen treat out of the container and leave outside with your dog or puppy! You can put other dog toys in the ice if treats aren’t your desire.

interactive frozen dog toy treat

2) Treats in a Bag – Place treats in a paper bag and tie closed. Keep your dog toys safe and DO NOT use plastic or non-digestible bags if eaten. This works for inside and outside but beware the possible torn paper mess and the possibility that the dog will eat the bag too. We suggest brown paper bags as they can be digested. Note that allowing your dog to destroy a bag to get a treat might suggest he or she will go for any bag!! And a special side note – do NOT put the cat in the bag!

cat in the bag - not a dog toy

3) Hide-and-Seek Treats – Inside the house you can hide little treats in a variety of places just consider dangerous or breakable places that might not be good. Stay away from electrical outlets, wiring and plugs. Don’t place treats around breakable items. We stick to ground-level hiding places so no one is climbing to get their treats. Outside, mainly watch around plants that you care for and things that could be knocked down or hurt your dog. Digging can come from your dog looking for more so watch that. Hide the treats when your dog or puppy isn’t around and let them in or out when you need them entertained.

hide and seek dog toy treat

4) Digging for Treats – This one can be done if you have a place, dirt box or sand box where you are ok having a mess. We’ve created dig boxes using a children’s low hard plastic wading pool, filled it with sand and hide treats. Yes, there can be a mess no matter how well contained it is but it works nicely if you have a digger. It can make a digger out of a dog who isn’t naturally one – so watch that too!

digging for dog toys

5) Sometimes non-homemade is the way to go, it can be safer for your dogs, puppies and your household.
Lately we’ve been noticing a lot of special attention going towards the Nina Ottosson’s Interactive Puzzle Toys for Dogs. They really are kind of special, originally designed as wooden dog toys, they can also be found in plastic form. These toys are interactive, hold dog treats, and the puzzle part is very cleaver. You don’t need to put in a lot of treats, just small potions, in the special slots if doggy weight is of concern. We have three of these Nina Ottoson interactive dog toy treat puzzles but she has others to choose from as well. We featured some of these dog and puppy interactive toys in an article on Interactive Dog Toy Puzzles with Treat Reward posted in February. They can be seen here too:

Eco-Friendly Dog Toys for a Green Environment

Friday, March 6th, 2009

“Going Green” seems to be the talk these days for everyone, everything and every animal! Our dogs are just as concerned with our environment and being eco-friendly as we are. Heck, they tend to be closer to it than we are at times being that they have to do so much outside!

So much, lately, have we been talking about having to be eco-friendly but also being economy-friendly too! Solar power, energy efficiency, recycled goods, remanufactured products, biodegradable items – all of which help the environment but also help our pocket books.

At DogToyStuffz we are committed to safety and protection of not only our dogs but everything around them. So, you’ll start to see a lot of additional hand-picked dog toys with eco-friendly aspects in mind. We’ve had the Planet Dog’s Orbee Glow Ball for a while and we love it. It’s not only made of recyclable materials and non-toxic but Planet Dog is putting 100% of the sales towards their Foundation which supports canine service programs.

We’ve found tons of recyclable eco-friendly, dye-color-free dog and puppy toys. We also have general dog stuff that is all similarly green and eco-friendly. We’ve ordered a few from our list below and hope you’ll like our selection.

If you and your dogs have special eco-friendly toys and other dog stuff that uses green, recyclable or recycled materials, let us know. We’ll try to feature it here at

Safe Dog Toy Recipes for Added Treats

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

We found some great recipes suggested by Kong dog toys that go great with some of their fun dog and puppy toys. If you don’t have anything special for your dog or puppy for Valentine’s Day consider whipping up one of these simple recipes for added treats and lots of love from your pets. Kong also offers some easy squeeze dog toy treat stuffing too. You’ll love the added play time created by adding these safe dog treats to almost any plastic or rubber dog toy.

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Cheesy Dental KONG Delight:
3 Slices of your pet’s favorite cheese.
Any Dental KONG dog or puppy toy

A very simple and creative way to make any dog or puppy drool in delight. Just place the three slices of cheese directly into the grooves of your dog’s Dental KONG (if model has rope – make sure cheese does not get onto it). Melt in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Give to your pet after it cools.

Philly Steak Dog or Puppy Toy Treat:

Steak scraps
1 ounce cream cheese
Appropriate KONG dog or puppy toy

Place small scraps of steak inside KONG toy. Spread cream cheese in large hole to hold scraps.

Aunt Jeannie’s Archeology KONG (for advanced dogs):

Fill your KONG toy (the larger the better!) in layers and pack as tightly as possible. LAYER ONE (deepest): KONG Stuff’N Beef and Liver treats. LAYER TWO: KONG Stuff’N Tail Mix or dry dog kibble, Cheerios, sugar-free, salt-free peanut butter (picj a safe brand), dried banana chips, apples and apricots. LAYER THREE: carrot sticks, turkey or leftover ravioli or tortellini. The last item inserted should be an apricot or piece of ravioli, presenting a smooth “finish” under the main opening. – by Jean Donaldson

KONG on a Rope:

KONG Stuff’N Tail Mix or dry dog kibble
Appropriate KONG dog or puppy toy

Pull the rope through the KONG toy and knot it. Hang this upside down from a tree, deck or post. The small hole should be facing the ground. Fill the large hole of the KONG toy with KONG Stuff’N Tail Mix or dry dog kibble. Make the toy hang just high enough that it is out of your dog or puppy’s reach. Your dog will spend hours trying to retrieve the treats from the KONG toy. At the end of the day, take the remaining treats and give to your pet as a reward. This is advanced work for your dog. – by Ian Dunbar

Frozen Jerky Pops:

Peanut butter (make sure it’s a safe brand!)
Jerky Strips • Water
Appropriate KONG dog or puppy toy

Muffin tin. Smear a small amount of peanut butter over small hole in your KONG toy. Fill with cool water and add a pinch of bouillon. Place a Jerky Stick inside KONG toy and freeze. This can also be put (once frozen) in a children’s size swimming pool for a fun day of fishing for your dog or puppy. – by Terry Ryan

Simple, Tried and True Yummy Treat:

Peanut butter or KONG Stuff’N Peanut Butter Paste (always choose a safe brand, pls!)
Appropriate KONG dog or puppy toy

Smear a small amount of peanut butter or KONG Stuff’N Peanut Butter Paste inside the cavity of your KONG toy. It’s that easy! KONG Stuff’N Liver Paste, KONG Stuff’N Breath Treat or KONG Stuff’N Puppy Treat also work great. – by trainers and vets worldwide

A New Breed of Safe Dog Toys – Time to Play

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Simply Fido website before and after view

Oh yay! We found these cool, cute, soft plush and safe dog toys from Kong. You’ve heard us before about our quest for soft plush dog toys that don’t have the squeakers in them – always on the lookout for safe dog toys. These seem pretty clear on their safety factors and we’ve ordered our supply for this doggie household. These are made by Kong, a giant in the dog toy industry, especially for indestructible dog toys.

These particular removable squeaker dog toys can be found under the names of Kong Material Dog Toys or Dr Noys’ Dog Toys with Kong referring to their own products under both labels. It seems these soft plush safe dog toys definitely have the strong double Velcro closure that we like which allows us to remove the squeaker from the dog toy – the squeaker is in its own separate pouch. We also noticed that these particular Kong dog toys are designed with no messy filling or removable stuffing so there’s no “stuffz” that ends up all over the place if the toy is dissected.

We really like a lot of the Kong dog toys (you’ll find more below). Being that I, Zeus, am a 110 lb pretty large guy, large dog toys are what I go for! Lots of them will also allow me to play tug-of-war with my buddy Charlie. But, Kong is good to consider even the tiniest toys for small dogs. Do note that the extra-small dog toys really are extra small and great for miniature and toy dog breeds. You’ll see they have sizes from x-small all the way to x-large if needed. You can find all the individual Kong removable squeaker dog toys we liked on our Dog and Puppy Toys page so you can pick the one you like best.

We noticed some reviews suggesting replacing the squeaker with a tennis ball. We love that suggestion and the large dog toys have the room to put a tennis ball in place of the squeaker which makes us even happier with regard to our safety concerns and doggy fun. Many other reviews we’ve read seem to be nicely satisfied with their purchases of these safe dog toys. We can’t wait to give these cute plush removable squeaker dog toys a try.

We need to set a doggy play date! Bring your toys.

Removable Squeaker Dog Toy Recall

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

We are issuing our own Dog Toy Recall. We had mistakenly believed SimplyFido in their labeling of certain plush dog toys that we backed up here at We were told, via the SimplyFido website, that they had products that were not only organic dog toys but that they offered these dog toys with removable squeakers. We even wrote about these great safe, soft, plush organic dog and puppy toys in our Cutest Organic Dog Toys article. We even invited Oscar The Monkey into our house!

We are going to leave our original article up, but will be updating it with more appropriate information so you can keep up with us and our suggestions on safe organic dog toys. Note the strike-thru on the word “removable” in removable squeaker of our pictures – seen here:

Plush Monkey - Organic - Dog Toy Plush Lamb - Organic - Dog Toy Plush Bear - Organic - Dog Toy

For us, we still hesitate in referring to a dog or puppy toy as organic in nature if it has plastic parts. Squeakers, see our article on What Makes the Squeak in a Squeaky Dog Toy, are generally made of non-organic plastic materials. We especially don’t like squeakers because of certain safety issues. For one squeakers in dog toys don’t digest properly and can seriously hurt your dog if swallowed (like our poor Sydney!). And, the obvious reason for a dog toy being considered organic is if all parts are bio-degradable, carbon based or made from similar natural products.

We have written SimplyFido about the sudden change in products and availability. It seems that the company is under some sort of reorganization because their Simply Fido website is a mess right now. Seen below is a partial view of their site upon our initial research and their site as it is seen today – note there is no mention of “removable squeaker” any more:

Simply Fido website before and after view

Anyway, we will keep you up-to-date if Simply Fido responds to us and continue to search and review safe dog and puppy toys – especially those that have no-squeakers in the dog toy if possible.

Again, our apologies!

To help, here are some alternative soft, plush dog toys that offer replaceable or removable squeakers in their toys:

Interactive Dog Toy Puzzles with Treat Reward

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Nina Ottosson has done her research. This gal from Sweden started a dog toy company called Zoo Active Products that offers these amazing interactive dog toy puzzles:

Wooden Brick Dog Toy Puzzle Tornado Dog Toy Puzzle Plastic Brick Dog Toy Puzzle

We have played with both The Brick and The Tornado wooden dog toy puzzles. But there is also a Plastic Dog Brick if slobber is a concern!

Dog playing with Tornado interactive dog toy.You just place little dog treats in the holes and help teach the dog how to interact with this dog toy to get at the special treat. One of the reasons we like these dog toy puzzles is because it takes a bit of time to get at the small little treats placed in the holes or compartments – thus saving the risk of too many treats that might be unhealthy.

We’ve seen a variety of interactive dog toys but because there are several areas in these puzzles to place treats the smell continues to be enticing until all the treats are found. We can’t actually say how long it occupied our dogs when we left the Dog Tornado dog toy puzzle filled with treats and left the house one day but we do know that all the treats were gone upon our return and everyone seemed quite happy and content!

I don’t know that I would have left these tempting toys behind with the dogs unless we had worked together to solve the puzzles a few times first. Sydney might have been able to handle it alone, our Australian Shepherd who loves to show off her skills and intelligence, she is a good problem solver, but working together with our dogs has given us an additional fun way for our own interactions too.

Note that these Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Toy Puzzles were also winners of the 2008 Top Ten Dog Products of the Year.

We’ve expanded to a variety of additional interactive dog toys and below shows some in plastic and rubber that you might prefer as they are washable!

Cutest Organic Dog Toys – and safe with removable squeaker!

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

We are so excited to find these cutest ever soft plush organic dog toys – or puppy toys – from Simply Fido! They are not only safe because of their organic nature for dogs but they also have a removable squeaky. This is great for any pet owner because if you have concerns about the squeaker toy part for your dog or puppy you can simply remove it – or leave it in for those dogs who are drawn to the crazy squeaky noise when playing and chewing on their toys.

Plush Monkey - Organic - Dog Toy Plush Lamb - Organic - Dog Toy Plush Bear - Organic - Dog Toy

Our dogs love the soft plush dog toys almost better than their hard rubber or plastic toys. We love these toys because they follow our personal safety concerns and they are so terribly cute too.

Benefits of Organic Dog Toys:

Cotton is safe and non-toxic. These toys by Simply Fido use materials that are organically grown with the fibers unbleached, untreated, and unprocessed. The dyes are organic too. Simply Fido uses only natural extracts from plants and minerals, such as gardenia seed, clove and chestnut bur, to dye the fibers.
Simply Fido’s organic dog toys are healthy by focusing on reduced toxicity and allergy levels for your dog or puppy – making these really nice safe dog toys. Some other plush dog toy products use pesticides and herbicides during cotton production, and chemical dyes during coloring, which can lead to allergies and sickness in pets.

The production of organic products such as these dog toys does not contribute to environmental pollutants and hazardous waste so are considered eco-friendly dog toys. Non-organic production process may cause damage to natural ecosystems including contamination in the water due to pesticide residue and chemicals. DT Stuffz wants to watch for all elements affecting not only our dogs or other pets but for ourselves, children and the community around us.

Note: See our newest update and information in our article about Removable Squeaker Dog Toy Recall.
And check out some of our new favorite soft, plush dog and puppy toys – with removable (or replaceable) squeakers!

Another reason for safe dog toys

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Wow! It sure feels nice to know that creating the DogToyStuffz website is going to help a variety of people find truly safe dog and puppy toys. We just found out about a terrible situation for a Labrador-mix dog and why really paying attention to how a dog toy works is so important for the pets we love so much. Apparently, this 10 year old lab-mix was given a Four Paws Pimple Ball with Bell and his tongue got sucked into it. Yikes! And what a tragedy, they had to amputate his tongue! I can’t even imagine.

Four Paws has recalled these un-safe dog toys for a refund or replacement. But seriously, folks, let’s try to understand the physics here and decide if you’d really give this toy to your dog. First off, this particular dog toy had only one small hole in it. Without a second hole, to allow air into the dog toy cavity, then suction is easily created. The extra hole will allow air in and suction cannot occur. That’s one of the reasons we like the MultiPet Rubber Dog Ball, there are air holes everywhere and almost any size dog or puppy can grab hold of this one. But, we are also really happy that Four Paws acted immediately to remedy the situation around this un-safe dog toy.

So, let’s work together to keep our pet friends safe. Let us know your thoughts on your favorite dog toys and why. We’d love to hear from you.

What makes the ‘squeak’ in a squeaky dog toy

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Some of you have asked why we decided to point out the difference between dog toys that have squeakers in them and those that don’t. The diagram below shows the different sound elements that can be used in various interactive dog toys.

Squeakers in Dog Toys

You’ll also see many of them in most stuffed and soft plush dog toys too. The main thing to note is the size of the squeakers for these dog toys. Depending on the size of your dog, you will want to be careful in choosing the toy that has a noise maker or interactive part. There are a couple of reasons you may choose or not choose a particular interactive toy and that’s to help with our own sanity. If the noise the dog toy makes is too much, too loud, or just plain irritating after a while then I think you might want to stay away from it – even if Charlie thinks it the best! The other and main safety issue is that the noise or squeaker part could be swallowed if your dog likes to pull toys apart. These plastic, and sometimes metal, objects can lodge in the air-ways or intestines of your pet. – We’ve seen it first hand and had more than physical and emotional upset but also a bank account upset!

Anyway, we at DogToyStuffz want you to be informed and knowledgeable about your personal needs and mainly for the safety and consideration towards your puppy or dog. So, we hope our information and experience with a variety of dog and puppy toys will help you make the best decision for your own.

No-squeaker eco-friendly dog toy – Sydney’s all time favorite

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I can’t believe I found it…my all time favorite dog toy that has no squeaker in it. It’s a little different from the rope ball I found a while ago for my dog Sydney but it sure is close enough – it has an extra rope handle that the original rope ball didn’t have which makes it easier for tossing to my dog – and a little less slobber to come in contact with!! !! It’s a soft string rope ball dog toy but the rope is untwisted, leaving it more like a big furry, soft blob of a toy. Sydney, my Australian Shepherd (you can read more about her and why we started the DT Stuffz website by going to our About DogToyStuffz page) is the reason why I love this particular no-squeaky dog toy so much!

This cotton ball no-squeaker dog toy has been her absolute favorite of all her “puppies” (she responds to them when I tell her to “go get your puppy”!). She loves to carry it around with such care and sleeps with it at her head. She won’t let any of the other dogs ever come near to this fluffy plush puppy toy. It’s funny, because if any dog toy I give her has plastic or any hard surface, she is fine with the others playing with it. But this soft toy really is like one of her puppies, no other dog is allowed to come near, move it, or touch it without her ready to attack and protect.

Any time I have seen these, and it’s rare, in a pet or dog store, I buy them all. But because we have such trouble finding them online, we are sharing our next best favorites that are made of rope and string, even some softer than others. We’ll keep looking online for our favorite string ball. And we will add them here the minute we find any. In the meantime, check out some of our rope dog toy selections below. Many come in all sizes for small dogs to large ones. We actually like to have various sizes and will trade off toys when Sydney has slobbered too much on one – or it was left outside one too many times. She seems to like the size difference since it’s like a new baby for her each time.

I do have to be careful how I introduce the new dog toy because she will hoard them all. One of the other problems I have had with this rope dog toy is that it can be pulled apart. But, even if the small rope bits are swallowed they seem to easily come out without any problem – mainly because they are such short rope pieces! If you are at all worried about your dog swallowing string pieces then you might take a look at some of our other non-squeak dog toys we like. I just know that Sydney loves these and they are hard to find. I love them for her!