Just about every dog lover who has given their dog stuffed animals know just how much stuffing an animal holds…way more than you have the time or energy to pick up. Sure, not every dog will de-stuff their toys but the families of Destructo-Dogs out there know that the job of picking up stuffing is a tough one, especially when the toys are in the yard and the stuffing creates a snow-like effect, strewn over grass, snagged on the bark of trees, and blowing like white tumbleweeds.
(Dogs have a practical reason for unstuffing their toys; females need to be able to teach puppies the skill of ripping fur and pulling off meat. While you might not mind picking up after this practice session sometimes, at other times you might want to give your dog a toy and not have to plan for a cleanup time later.)
There’s an easy solution, though: de-stuff the toys before you ever give them to your dog. We scour local thrift stores for inexpensive used toys (anywhere from 25 cents to $1). While we previously looked for very durable material that might prevent our dogs from ripping into the fabric for a while, with de-stuffed toys, we can opt for soft chenille bears like the one above.
First, cut out all plastic parts such as eyes and the nose. These can cause real problems if your dog pulls them out and swallows or chews them (most have sharp backs).
Using the opening you’ve creating when cutting out the eyes and nose, start reaching in and pulling out the stuffing. Turn the arms and legs inside out and grab all the stuffing. Pay special attention to make sure the toy doesn’t have micro plastic beads (they’re used to weigh down dolls so they’ll “sit up.” Toss them all.)
When you’ve pulled out all the stuffing, you can insert some replacement squeakers in the toy; these plastic squeaking bladders cost as little as 50 cents each. If you want to anchor the squeaker in an arm or leg of the toy, just sew a quick stitch above the squeaker. (We put squeakers in the “indoor toys” or ones we’ll be supervising the dogs’ use of; we leave out the squeakers for toys they’ll play with on their own in the yard.)
Finally, sew up the opening you cut to remove the eyes then the stuffing. No need for anything fancy, just some quick stitches…and your done! Your dog has a new toy, you’ve got a pile of stuffing you can use for another project, and you’ve saved yourself a big pickup job!