Updated: Jan 2
December 13, 2019
Dogs love playing with and chewing on their toys, and these items are actually a necessity to keep dogs physically and mentally healthy. However, there are many things to consider when choosing a safe dog toy. Read below for some tips on how to pick the right toy.
Toxic or not?
Dyes, heavy metals, chemicals, and plastics with BPA are all toxins that can be found in unsafe products. We worry a lot about these things when considering our own health, and it is just as important for our animal’s chew toys. Unfortunately, it can be nearly impossible for an individual to judge whether or not a toy contains these toxins. Instead, purchase your toys from reputable sources and companies with positive past records for supplying quality products.
One of the most common issues when choosing a safe dog toy is whether or not it is the appropriate size to avoid being a choking hazard. Of course, this will vary from dog to dog. Too small of a toy can be inadvertently swallowed and stuck in the windpipe. But too large of a toy can also cause problems by getting lodged in a dog’s open mouth. Remember, they don’t have hands to remove something if it gets stuck. Dogs can also be injured if they ingest parts of a toy. Fabric can clog and twist in intestinal tracts and shards of chew bones can cause damage throughout the entire digestive tract if swallowed.
Is it made to hold up?
Dog toys are not all made equally. Some brands make products that are well known to be nearly indestructible while others will deteriorate or shred to pieces after just a few minutes of play. Always get toys that are intended for dogs. Children’s toys aren’t nearly as tough and have parts that can be dangerous when ingested by your dog. Plastic eyes from stuffed animals are commonly swallowed and cause digestive issues. Some toys made specifically for dogs come without any stuffing or plastic bits to allow for safer play.
Remember that dog toys are not replacements for your supervision. Watch after your dog while it plays and chews so that if a toy begins to come apart, it can be taken away. Toys like plastic bottles can become sharp if allowed to be destroyed too much. This can tear apart gums and cause other cuts in the mouth. Also, consider your specific dog when picking how to play and with what. If you have an elderly dog with poor teeth, it may not be the best idea to get a tug-of-war rope. Look out for toys that are too hard for dog’s teeth to handle or even oddly shaped larger toys that could poke a dog’s eyes while being manipulated in their mouth.
Some dog toys contain food or flavoring items. These can be fine as long as you are aware of potential allergies. Keep an eye on your dog the first time they are trying out any new type of food based toy. It is also possible for dogs to have allergies to different types of rubber just like humans do. Stay on top of product recall news as well so you know your dog is getting the safest toys!