I’ve been looking for ways to provide Odin and Fin with more enrichment.
They have plenty of toys but they’re both shredders and love to chew so soft plush toys don’t last very long.
We do brain games with puzzle toys and they have been loving their West Paw Toppl’s that I pack with healthy low-fat goodies but those are usually saved for rainy days or weekends.
Basically, I wanted to add something else into their rotation and since they love their homemade sweet potato chews, I decided to try something with those!
Now, before I go further I want to make clear that I’m not a big fan of rope toys.
Not only have I seen my fair share of dogs with ropes stuck in their intestines when I was a vet tech but I’ve also watched Finn quickly dismantle a rope toy in no time so we normally don’t keep those as fair game in the house.
However, since this DIY sweet potato rope chew toy is meant to be an enrichment toy, it will be given under close supervision and once the sweet potato chews have been chewed up, I will take away the rope.
So to be crystal clear, this DIY toy should only be given if you can supervise your dog and promptly take it away after they have chewed the sweet potatoes.
Also, I used organic unbleached jute rope for this DIY toy but you can also use hemp or cotton rope and if don’t want to use the rope you can use an old shirt, a small towel or fleece fabric.
This would work great if you cut the material to size, wet the shirt, freeze it and then added the baked sweet potato chews.
I did a sample with some strips of fleece fabric to make sure it would work and it did.
Just remember to cut the strips long enough.
Supplies Needed For DIY Sweet Potato Rope Chew Toy For Dogs
I use organic sweet potatoes but you can use whatever type your grocery store carries. The number of potatoes you need will vary on how many ropes you’re making and how long the rope is. I used 6 for our DIY Sweet Potato Rope Chew Toy
Sharp kitchen knife
Cookie-cutter or fruit cutter
Rope-hemp, jute or cotton (or t-shirt/towel/fleece) I got the 7-foot x 0.5 inches for Odin (Newf) and 15ft x 0.5 inches for Finn(Corgi) organic, unbleached jute rope.
Preheat your over to 250°F
Wash and dry sweet potatoes
Cut sweet potatoes into round shapes to about 1/2- 1 inch thickness-I would recommend slicing them no bigger than 1/2 inch. (The ones that I cut thicker took way longer than 5 hours to dehydrate in the oven)
Remove the center of the sweet potato with a cookie cutter
Make sure the rope fits through the hole and adjust as needed.
Place sweet potato rounds on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper
Place in oven
Bake for 2 1/2 hours
Flip sweet potatoes
Bake for another 2 1/2 hours
Allow sweet potatoes to cool in the oven completely. (I usually let them cool overnight)
You want the sweet potatoes to be hard so if they still feel soft, bake for another 30 minutes until they are crunchy.
Measure your rope to the desired length keeping in mind that you’ll subtract about 3 inches for the knots at the end.
On my first try I measured 16″ inches but by the time I tied the knots I was left with only a 10-inch rope which is fine for a smaller dog but not for a Newf.
24″ inches seemed to be a good size for the rope which resulted in a 16″ rope.
If you opt to use a shirt or towel in place of the rope the measurements will be about the same but you can always do a trial run before you cut.
Put It All Together
When the sweet potato chews have cooled completely you’re ready to assemble!
String through 2 chews, knot, and repeat until the rope is filled.
Mine was 6 chews.
Give to your dog and let them chew under supervision.
Remove rope when the sweet potato chews are gone.
If you’re wondering what to do with the centers of the sweet potato chews that you removed, you can either toss them, boil and mash them or dehydrate them with the rounds.
I dehydrated mine and I’ll use them in one of our treat-dispensing toys!
You can customize the chews however you want.
I left ours plain but before baking, you could sprinkle them with cinnamon, add some coconut oil or sprinkle them with dehydrated treats.
If you have a dehydrator you can definitely use that in place of the oven and remember that the thicker you cut the slices the longer the dehydrating time will be.
This chew toy is not indestructible so it’s important that you monitor your dog while it’s in their possession.
Our chew rope lasted about 30 minutes for Odin and about 20 minutes for Finn!