Finding Safe Dog Toys

Some people may think we spoil our dogs if they have toys. What they don’t understand is that toys relieve boredom, lessen stress, provide a chewing outlet and help with behavior issues. Plus, they’re a fun way to interact with your pup. When choosing toys for your dog, you should take into consideration your dog’s age, size and chewing tendency. You’ll also want to ensure that the toys are safe to prevent choking, intestinal blockage and exposure to toxins. Dog toys are not regulated, so consider the following tips when shopping for your dog.

Tips for Buying Safe Dog Toys

1. Buy your dog toys from a pet store. The owners of these stores source safe dog toys from reputable manufacturers. They can also recommend the right toys for your dog based on his age, size and activity level. Avoid buying dog toys from grocery, discount or dollar stores—these tend to be cheaply made and could be a choking hazard for your dog.

2. Look for toys made in the USA. Many dog toys are manufactured in China and contain high levels of lead, chromium and cadmium. Dog toys are not subject to any regulations or safety standards; it’s up to owner to research the safest brands.

3. Opt for non-toxic, lead-free, phthalate-free toys. Painted toys have the largest amount of lead. Vinyl and plastic dog toys contain phthalates, chemicals that leech out of plastic and can cause chronic toxic effects on organs.

4. Choose the right type of toy for your dog. Knowing your dog’s instinctive behaviors, activity level and temperament will help you select the right toy. For instance, if you know your dog will tear apart a soft toy in minutes, opt instead for a hard rubber bone or ball.

5. Find the right size. If a toy or ball is too large, your dog will have problems carrying it in her mouth or handling it with her paws. Too-small toys can cause choking if swallowed. Don’t give your dog a ball that he can push to the back of his mouth.

6. Beware squeakers. Dogs love squeaky toys and many will tear a toy apart to get to the squeaker. If swallowed, the plastic squeaker could choke your dog or cause an intestinal blockage.

7. Remove decorations from toys. For your dog’s safety, take off ribbons, strings, tags, buttons, decorative eyes or anything else your dog can chew off and swallow.

8. Give toys made specifically for dogs. Some people give dogs toys made for children. Many times these toys will not hold up to a dog’s chewing instinct and can pose a choking hazard.

9. Throw out worn toys. Check your dog’s toys often and discard any that are broken, cracked or pulling apart. You don’t want your dog swallowing the broken bits.

10. Provide variety. Your dog needs more than one type of toy. Always have toys that your dog can carry, roll, cuddle and attack.

11. Rotate your dog’s toys. Don’t let your dog have all his toys at once. Hold some back and then switch them so your dog stays interested.

12. Always supervise your dog when giving new toys. Observing your dog with toys will keep her safe and also let you know what types of toys work best. If your dog starts shredding or destroying a toy, take it away. Decide which toys your dog can play with unsupervised, which ones he can handle for short periods of time and which ones require supervision every time.

Dawg Gone Good’s Top 5 Safe Toys

1. Orbee-Tuff Glow-in-the-Dark Whistle Ball from Planet Dog is made in the USA from non-toxic recycled materials.

2. The Hol-ee Roller from JW Pets is a tough rubber honeycomb ball perfect for fetching and tugging.

3. KONG Rubber Toys are made in the USA out of a natural red rubber compound that dogs love to chew.

4. Mingo from West Paw Designs is an unstuffed plush toy made in the USA from non-toxic, organic fabric.

5. Daisy’s Funny Bone from Life Is Good is a 6-inch non-toxic bouncy toy with a peppermint scent.

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.


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