Instructables
My mom's dog, Molly, loves to play - an activity that for her usually involves rounding up all her toys and ripping them to shreds. In an effort to make some kind of indestructible toy or at least something that she could play with that might last longer than a half hour, I rounded up a few things and gave it a shot.

While she was able to dismantle this awesome rope and dried sweet potato contraption, it at least took her a little longer, and she seemed to really love it. Molly was probably able to obliterate this because she is so tough (doesn't she just look so tough?), but it would be awesome (and probably last a little longer) for dogs who don't shred toys up in record time, as well as for puppies.

Note: Homemade treats or an awesome princess bed are other great options for your fabulous furry friends

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

  • Hemp or jute rope (I used 9 pieces of a thin-ish diameter braided together to make a larger rope. Approximately 2 1/2 feet works well for medium dogs, less is needed for a toy for a smaller dog and more for a larger dog)1
  • Sweet potatoes or yams (2 for a medium-sized dog toy, one for a smaller one and 3 or 4 for a larger-sized toy)2
  • Sheet pan and parchment or foil
  • Sharp knife
  • Round cookie cutter a bit larger than the diameter of your rope
  • Vegetable peeler (optional)
1Hemp and jute rope are used here because they're super strong and durable, and also because if Molly managed to eat some of it, it was much less likely to cause any of the issues that ingesting a synthetic rope would
2Sweet potatoes and yams are awesome for dogs as well as people. Dogs seem to love to chew them, and when they eat them they're also getting a big dose of nutrients
 
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colonelb31 year ago
Thats a great idea! But my cocker spaniel buries most of his toys lol.
Do the sweet potatoes get "rehydrated" when the pups chew on them? My golden retriever chews up every toy she ever gets.
shesparticular (author)  leah_phillippe1 year ago
They do soften a bit and are likely to get eaten, but they're also great sources of vitamins!
saosport2 years ago
WOw this sounds great I want to try ir minus the rope because my pup will eat the rope too:) Has anyone tried baking it in a slow cooker? That I don't mind using over night or when I am not home with some saftie measures.
pblanchard22 years ago
Do i *have to* cut a hole in the center of the sweet potato rounds? I am making them for the first time right now and have some strips and some thick rounds and some skinnier rounds but i didnt put a center hole in any as i dont intend to string them up. Does the hole have any bearing on the drying process?

I cant tell you how happy i am to find this! Just found a commercially made one for $25! I will make my own from now on! He doesnt care about the rope part anyway :)
Priscilla
shesparticular (author)  pblanchard22 years ago
You certainly don't have to cut a hole in the center if you don't want to. They may take longer to dry though, so thinner slices would probably be a good idea. Hope your pup enjoys them!
gkroegman2 years ago
These are great. I've made a few for my pit bull and she LOVES them. i find it a little tedious to string them together, so i use the baked sweet potato slices as treats. i must confess, i've even eaten a few myself. i bake them with a little sea salt on top since dogs love salt, and they taste amazing. me and my dog both love these! it's cheaper to go buy a few sweet potatoes and bake them than it is to buy dog treats
shesparticular (author)  gkroegman2 years ago
So glad ya'll enjoy them!
Mauigerbil2 years ago
My grandma has a pit/lab mix 2 year old and a bernie/chow mix 4 year old. I hope we can make this for them. I think Dakota, the pit/lab will like it most because she is on an all-veggie diet and Morgan, the bernie/chow will like it too! Thanks Shesparticular!
shesparticular (author)  Mauigerbil2 years ago
Awesome! Hopefully they'll love them! You might also want to try these simple dog treats - pooches seem to love them, especially when they're made with peanut butter and sweet potato.
Uptonb3 years ago
Good luck on the Pets Challenge.

Actually going to do this for my Boston Bull.
shesparticular (author)  Uptonb3 years ago
Thanks so much! I hope your dog loves it - please do let me know how it goes!
scottjl3 years ago
Made one for my Jack Russell Terror. She LOVES it! I like it because I know it's not full of junk, it was simple, it was cheap, and I got to make it for her. Thanks for sharing.

Baked the slices in the oven but it took 2 days for them to dry out (only had the oven on while I was home). Next time I'll try them in my dehydrator, should be easier. Don't mind the smell around the kitchen either. Kinda tasty!
shesparticular (author)  scottjl3 years ago
I'm so glad to hear she's enjoying it!
Made and gave 6-ring toys to a pair of Whippets today after starting yesterday and dehydrating for 24-hours. They liked the flavor. I had started them on the center cut-outs first while I was still stringing the rings.

I'll need to get many more potoatoes since the whippets each devoured 4 of the 6 rings I'd loaded on the rope within about 20 minutes. At that point they'd tired of the toy for the time being. I expect them back later for more tasty chewing fun.
So glad they enjoyed them!
sub8933 years ago
will it work for a bigger dog?
shesparticular (author)  sub8933 years ago
You could most certainly make a larger version for a bigger dog.
Mauigerbil3 years ago
Looks cool!! I'll try dis sometime... I have a beagle and a basset hound and I would classify both as HEAVY chewers, and have destoryed every toy I know they have had. I WILL TRY THIS
shesparticular (author)  Mauigerbil3 years ago
They'll likely gobble it up as well (Molly was able to get it apart, though it did take a bit more chewing than usual), but the benefit is that it doesn't contain plastic, rubber, or other synthetics so it is safe (and actually healthy!) for dogs to eat it.
Statique3 years ago
I started making this today! I have a few slices that are still in the oven.
I don't think it will last long with my rather large puppy - but I happened to have two sweet potatoes in my fridge that probably wouldn't be fit for consumption if I had left them alone another day or so.
Instead of using a cookie cutter for the centre holes, I just used a steak knife and cut little squares out, which worked really well.
Thanks so much for the idea!
shesparticular (author)  Statique3 years ago
Fantastic! I can't wait to hear how it turns out!
Here's puppy sporting his new toy!
I made mine a bit longer, and with synthetic rope as it's what I had an excess of. It's definitely an under-supervision toy though, as he managed to break one of the rings and eat it already.
He loves it! Thanks!
p_00030.jpg
shesparticular (author)  Statique3 years ago
So cute! It should be fine if he eats the rings, but I'd keep an eye on him in case he tries to much on the rope. Thanks for sharing such an adorable photo of your gorgeous puppy!

Also, please feel free to rate and vote :)
integrator3 years ago
Indestructible? I wish. Those rope toys that are all monkey fist knots? Destroyed the day we get it. Thankfully our Weimaraner doesn't eat shoes or furniture. Though he has been known to eat a full loaf of bread (he loves bread) or a 2 pound bag of Twizzlers in one sitting. But he knows what his toys are and what aren't.
I have two words for you: Kong Wubba

It's basically some sort of Kong toy wrapped with ballistic cloth. I don't actually know what is inside because my dog hasn't been able to chew through. She did manage to kill the squeaker, though.

It's the only truly indestructible toy I've come across.
I got my Catahoula a Kong Wubbam, and while it lasted the longest of any of his toys, it took a mere day or two to destroy. I have yet to find anything that will last for this strong chewer.
dogs like to chew, the bigger the dog, the bigger the chewtoy, even the large hard plastic/rubber chewtoy from the petstore (I think its called a kong) doesn't last long with some breeds. Rope is usually inexpensive and if you live near a marina or someone who raises livestock you can often find it FREE !
shesparticular (author)  integrator3 years ago
Sadly Molly was able to destroy it as well, but at least it's stuff that isn't harmful if eaten.
susanrm3 years ago
Definitely a nice idea for a dog toy. If you want indestructible, though, training is your best option. With this, my dog's stuffed toys went from lasting 1-2 days to, well, months or years. She still loves playing with them, but she uses her hard chewing instinct on Nylabones, not soft toys.
shesparticular (author)  susanrm3 years ago
It's certainly not as indestructible as I had hoped it would be (hence the quotes in the title), but it did last a little longer than other toys. Molly is actually pretty well trained, unless she wants to play and then all bets are off. Personally I think this is a good option for chewing and gnawing, since it's quite hard and isn't harmful if eaten.
Yeah, it's a great toy, like I said. And most people don't know it's possible to train your dog to play differently, non-destructively.
lazemaple3 years ago
I use a dehydrator for mine... takes longer, I like the colour better though.
I made sweet potato Strips last year after buying some at the pet shop and they were too long for my small dog - she nearly choked on one so the Rounds are a much better idea I think. Being strung up on a cord would enable them to grasp the thing securely too.
shesparticular (author)  lazemaple3 years ago
I wish I had a dehydrator, sadly I don't though. I've made strips using a mandoline (similar to when making Eggplant Bacon). I think they're awesome for smaller dogs, but the rope is also great.
You do have a dehydrator... But it's just living a hidden life as a box-fan.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5912487412723519389
shesparticular (author)  Spokehedz3 years ago
Awesome point!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
what a neat idea! I had no idea dogs even liked yams, simple and nutritious!
shesparticular (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thanks! Most dogs I've met adore them, but like with some people the high fiber content in yams and sweet potatoes can be problematic so it's best to try to make sure that pups don't gobble down the whole toy at once and have plenty of water.
These are much better for dogs than much of the stuff they get called "dog treats." Any kind of rawhide can be chewed off in chunks, swallowed and block the throat. Same for "Greenies." Get involved and brush your dog's teeth.
You don't have to brush your dog or cat's teeth if you feed raw meaty bones (try that phrase with a dot com for info). It's the more natural way to feed and the pets live healthier, longer lives. My vet is continually amazed at the health of my cat who has been completely fed raw meat & bones since she was 6 mo. FYI - bones (even chicken) are only dangerous if they've been cooked because then they can splinter.

This is a great instructable and I will be making both the sweat potato and the high protein flour chews for my grand-dogs.
shesparticular (author)  jodiwer3 years ago
Thanks so much, I hope the pups love them! You might also want to try these homemade treats - Molly is a huge fan of them.
lazemaple3 years ago
if you use a thin coating of oil on the sweet tater they will retain their pretty orange colour when dehydrated.

I also recommend searching for ORGANIC jute to avoid any pesticides/insecticides used in the growing and harvesting of the jute. Some 3d world countries are required really douse grass mats, jute etc in pesticides order to import into this country.
it might be possible to find organic cotton yarn at a knitting store easier than the jute - not sure if it would be strong enough though. For some dogs I expect it would especially if several strands used.
shesparticular (author)  lazemaple3 years ago
Awesome tip, thank you! Also, I did use organic jute - should have mentioned that organic rope products should be used to avoid pesticides.
drzcyy3 years ago
For hard wearing chews, i use plain high protein flour, add some water and knead it plain. you can add some peanut butter or dried spices for flavor. Do not use any baking powder, etc., just plain flour and water. cut them into the size you want (for me, i cut them into 2-3 inch slabs for my rottweilers). Dry them in hot sun, or bake them SLOWLY. Do not bake at high temperatures or it will crack and will not last long. The secret is to dry out the dough slowly. The result is rock hard (really!) chews which are (also NOT indestructible, mind you) cheap, healthy, and easy to make!
shesparticular (author)  drzcyy3 years ago
I made some treats for my mom's dog also that sound kind of similar to what you're describing. However, I used whole wheat flour and oats instead of high-protein flour, and I did use baking powder. They were super easy to make and she adores them!
baking powder make the dough porous, and therefore, more "destructible". The peanut butter also weakens the chew, come to think of it, probably roasted peanuts may be better. I use high protein flour because it produces more gluten, therefore makes the chew stronger.
shesparticular (author)  drzcyy3 years ago
I was going for treats rather than chews, so the fact that they are crunchy but not hard was alright with me. Thanks for the tips!
sweetriver3 years ago
Is Molly a Goldendoodle? My Doodle loves this idea - He's a hard chewer, but really dry yams slow him a little.
ipoW.png
shesparticular (author)  sweetriver3 years ago
He's so adorable! She's actually a cockapoo, so she's probably a little smaller than your handsome pup.
ipo ("sweetheart" in Hawaiian) is two and about 70 lbs now. They do make a handsome couple!
shesparticular (author)  sweetriver3 years ago
I'll have to let my mom know that her dog has a suitor :)
l8nite3 years ago
I like the sweet potato treat idea, but as far as indestructable, not when my 3 get into a tug of war ! The brown one ripped so many fence panels apart I ended up lining the yard with old pool side metal and the brindles favorite way to spend time laying in the sun is chewing firewood into sawdust ! ( I keep the firewood in the side yard now where she can't get it)
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mslaynie l8nite3 years ago
Oh my goodness, your dogs are GORGEOUS!! The brown one is so beautiful... actually, they all are, and I just wanna snurgle them! Thanks for sharing the pics!
l8nite mslaynie3 years ago
apologize to the author, I didn't intend to hijack your thread ! ! Thank you mslaynie, they are all well behaved with people in general and babies/kids in particular
shesparticular (author)  l8nite3 years ago
Not a problem at all - your dogs are totally adorable!
Now that's an adorable face (I mean the dog, not you!) LOL Love his coloring.
I guess I have to settle for my dogs thinking Im all that = S   Thank you,  I guess he is kind of adorable, at least until he destroys a halloween display !
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shesparticular (author)  l8nite3 years ago
Oh my goodness, they are so cute! Even Molly (who is much smaller than them) was able to rip it up pretty quickly, but she still enjoyed it. Also, the good thing is that if dogs destroy and eat it, it's things that aren't harmful like plastic or rubber would be.
oilitright3 years ago
I was wondering why such large holes in the slices? Could a smaller hole be used with correspondingly smaller hemp rope? Is sisal rope the same as hemp?
shesparticular (author)  oilitright3 years ago
Good question!

I used several pieces of a thin-ish jute rope braided together. The main reason for the holes being the size they are is that that was the smallest size of round cutter I had. If you had a smaller one that you wanted to use, you could most certainly do that and use a corresponding smaller rope.

I believe sisal comes from the agave plant (and thus is not hemp), but like jute (the rope I used here) it is also a natural fiber and so would be a good selection for this application.
cwatsen3 years ago
this is so fantastic. i have a rescued pit/boxer who LOVES chew toys but she goes through them SO fast. this is something I will try very soon.
shesparticular (author)  cwatsen3 years ago
She'll likely gobble it up as well, but hopefully she'll enjoy it and at least it won't upset her stomach :)
peacenique3 years ago
5. Repeat until you reach the end of your rope

LOL I had a great laugh with this step!

As far as baking/drying for 5 hours goes: why not dry them outside in the sun instead? Solar energy as opposed to electric ~ cheap!

Thanks for the great idea.
shesparticular (author)  peacenique3 years ago
I did too :)

My main reasons for not drying them outside were:
1. I live in an apartment
2. It's been very humid and rainy here

You could certainly give it a shot though (please let me know how it turns out if you do), but make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't get moldy or anything.
remery23 years ago
Want to let you know that both my dogs loved these!! I've tried making dog biscuits in a variety of ways without their approval. So this is a big deal for me. Thanks so much.
shesparticular (author)  remery23 years ago
Yay!
tconnolly23 years ago
I just started looking into noncommercial dog food and treats for my service dog and his two lady friends. This looks great and I'll give it a go this week, will let you know how ours turn out. Thanks for posting this, really saved me time searching!
shesparticular (author)  tconnolly23 years ago
That's awesome, and you are so very welcome! You might also want to check out these easy dog treats - my mom's dog loves them.
Great idea!!! I had forgotten about a good friend that had a special needs vegetarian dog. Sweet potato and carrots were staples. The dog was amazingly healthy and active. I bet my friend would benefit further if she had used a pressure cooker to make meals for the dog. Meals were made daily or every other day and served as leftovers to the dog. Other than the time involved, I don't have dogs but if there is such a thing as high end healthy organic dog food I think this was healthier and cheaper. She added protein but I don't remember how. Thanks!!
shesparticular (author)  stretch mark3 years ago
I know some folks with two dogs, both on vegetarian diets - they used whey protein and it seemed to work rather well.

Thanks so much for sharing this story about your friend! It's awesome to hear about everyone's dogs!
em217013 years ago
This looks like it might be a good toy for my Macaw. She shreds toys faster than anything I know. Sweet potatoes are safe for macaws.
shesparticular (author)  em217013 years ago
Sounds like an awesome idea! Please post pictures if you make her one!
very cool except i have chihuahuas and i dont think they could even pick this up
shesparticular (author)  mr.squeakers3 years ago
I bet you could give it a try with peeled slices of sweet potato and a thinner piece of hemp or jute (basically just a mini-version). Or you could also try slicing the sweet potatoes a bit thinner and drying them and giving them to your pups to chew on, or you could make some homemade treats!