Easy & Cheap Dog Toy




Introduction: Easy & Cheap Dog Toy

This Instructable describes how to quickly turn a tennis ball into a puzzle toy for your dog.

Step 1: Ingredients

Tennis balls work well since the felt keeps the rubber from splitting.

Take a walk around any public tennis court and you're bound to find some used balls under trees, behind buildings etc.

Treats - smelly and crunchy.

Your favorite cutting tool for working with rubber.

Step 2: Make the Cuts

There are numerous ways to make this toy harder or easier depending on your dogs determination, it's likelihood of destroying the ball, and the size of your treats.

Making a cut along the seam leaves a flap that can be tucked in for added difficulty.

Making a straight cut can lead to more crushed treats instead of "released" treats.

Cross cuts required only one or two chews before the treats fell out, but have an advantage in that they can release the treat when battled around.

Cutting only the felt and creating a deep pocket creates a good space for kibble to fit. Our dog tends to just rip the felt off.

We use the Cross Cut and the Seam cut most often.

Step 3: Load and Go

Load 'em up and watch 'em go!



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23 Discussions

Please note the glue in some tennis ball brands may be toxic when swallowed. Purchase pet-safe balls from your local pet store.

Tennis balls made for sport can wear down the dog's enamel just FYI

Love it!! But my dog didn't take to it. She kinda sniffed it and she knew that there was treats inside but I guess she didn't get the concept :D could you please make an instructable on how to introduce a dog to this toy?! Thank you :D

Amazing!!!!!! THX U For this Video!!!

Tennis balls are highly abrasive, and thus very bad for a dog's teeth. There's nothing wrong with using them for playing fetch, but it's not a good idea to let them sit and chew on them for hours. I think you could do the same with a racquetball.

11 replies

Dogs in the wild are made to chew on bones. Invalid argument.

I agree with Jdege. The fuzz on tennis balls can hold lots of grit--the grit can contribute to wearing down dog's teeth. (Revalidated argument?)

Nope.Still no argument.

This is just as valid an argument as those made by mothers who do not want their kids to see sunlight, dirt or -god forbid- rock and roll.

Come look at my dog's teeth.  Some are worn down to the gum.  His canines are warn so that the center is exposed.  That's from his first owner letting him chew tennis balls all the time. 

It does happen and just because you think it doesn't done change that fact.  My dog doesn't get tennis balls anymore and none of mine ever will.

Bones are harder, but are far less abrasive, than are tennis balls. In structure, the felt of tennis balls is little different from a scouring pad. Occasional chewing is not a problem. It's regular or habitual chewing that causes problems.

I read somewhere that new tennis balls are bad for dogs because of the chemicals from the manufacturing process, so used tennis balls should be used.

They are also easier to cut and apparently, chew. Regarding the chemicals: we made a cost to benefit choice since our dog seemed to like the toy so much. I did try to avoid the "fake" tennis balls having read that the manufacture is different.

You can see the "fake" versions if you compare the tennis balls from say a large pet supply chain made for "fetch" and those balls made for tennis. Curious, I did some minor research. The seams are cruder and the felt is flimsier, apparently Tennis balls are fused together with rubber, the "fake" ones I found were clearly fused with glue. The Tennis balls are reported to be covered with felt that is melted to the surface rather than with adhesive. This was clearly not true with the "fake" ones. I can't confirm the written claims but from anecdotal evidence I just decided to use the real tennis balls instead of "fake".

This is a great alternative to somewhat expensive "Kong" toys. Probably not good for "hard core chewers" but then again, what is? As far as abrasiveness goes? Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it. I was a vet tech for 7 years and NEVER heard the vets I worked for say anything resembling that. Thanks for a great Instructable!

1 reply

I got a bunch of Kong toys on clearance for $1 each after Christmas one year (they were packaged for Christmas sales).  That said, this idea is great because with this you could put any kind of treat inside, including the dog's own kibble. In a regular Kong, small stuff like that falls out.