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Dog Toy Surgery: Fixing Your Dog’s Toy

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Dog toy surgery is a thing. Don’t let any human tell you it isn’t. Well at least it is a thing in our house. For me, dog toy surgery day is stressful and exciting. If all goes well, I get to play once again with a favourite toy that was taken out of action instead of losing them to what my humans call “retirement” (whatever that means).

So, what is dog toy surgery?

Simply put, dog toy surgery is the fixing of a well-loved dog toy.

Henry Toller Tails Waiting for Dog Toy Surgery Paitent. Photo: Charlotte Wolters

Given the cost of dog toys, more humans are choosing to repair dog toys instead of simply throwing them out. The benefit for us doggies is getting to keep and play with our favorites for many more days. The benefit for our humans is they can save some money by not replacing our dog toys as often.

That means more money left for yummy dog treats!

However, not all dog toys can be fixed. Manufacturers of plastic and rubber dog toys clearly state on their dog toy labels and packaging that any plastic or rubber dog toys that are chipping or losing parts should be removed from play.

Tiny pieces of plastic or rubber can be swallowed and become a life threatening if swallowed. Damaged or broken plastic and/or rubber dog toys cannot and should never be fixed. These types of dog toys are not good candidates for dog toy surgery.

Sadly, I have lost many a rubber and plastic toy, but it’s better that your humans throw it out than having to visit the vet.

What are the best dog toy candidates for dog toy surgery?

Soft dog toys or fabric dog toys are the best candidates for dog toy surgery. But, nylon fabric toys can be more difficult to fix. Some nylon fabrics fray and shred. In these cases, it’s harder to fix or repair the dog toy if too much of the fabric is shredded.

How My Humans Approach Dog Toy Surgery

Step 1 – Triage Your Dog Toys

My humans make it part of their routine to regularly check my dog toys for damage. They take my toys out and examine them in a well-lit area.

  • If any of my plastic and/or rubber dog toys show signs of chipping or the type of damage that may be a swallowing or choking hazard, they immediately get rid of it.

  • If the toy is a soft fabric or a flat fabric type dog toy, then they check to see how big the tear is and whether or not the toy is beyond repair.

  • The dog toy’s material, shape and doggy damage will determine whether or not the repair will be handstitched or if you need a sewing machine.

Step 2. Set Up Your Dog Toy Surgery Operating Area

Basic Dog Toy Repair Tools. Photo: Charlotte Wolters

Basic dog toy surgery supplies to repair a soft fabric dog toy are:

  • a needle;

  • cotton thread (my human prefers cotton embroidery floss you can buy at a craft or sewing stores);

  • scissors to cut the thread; and,

  • replacement dog toy squeakers, which can be bought online or at your local pet store.

Never use plastic or metal thread to fix a dog toy. These types of thread might seem sturdy, but they are a hazard if they break off during play.

My humans say that dog toy surgery goes faster when I am not in the room. Make sure the dog toy surgery is not accessible to your dog. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Sometimes us doggies get so excited at the sight of our dog toy, that we will jump up and grab the toy. This can happen mid toy surgery and result in accidental swallowing of dog toy parts or needles.

  • If you drop a needle or a squeaker toy part, then you want to make sure that it doesn’t make its way into a dog’s stomach. Keep in mind dog safety first.

  • Dog toy surgery can be stressful for humans. Staring at your human while they are trying to repair your dog toy can make them feel weird.

Step 3. Dog Toy Surgery Time!

After you make sure your dog won’t be able to interrupt while you are repairing their dog toy, then it’s time to get sewing.

Repaired Soft Duck Dog Toy. Photo: Charlotte Wolters

My humans choose usually to opt to hand stitch their dog repairs. But you can also use a sewing machine.

Make sure to do some post-op surgery inspection of the repaired toy. Take time to double check that you did not leave any hanging threads that your dog can tug and unravel your hard work. Also, check that you have not left any needles in the dog toy.

Henry Toller Tails Playing with Repaired Duck Dog Toy. Photo: Charlotte Wolters

Once you are sure that the dog toy is repaired and safe for play, then play away!

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