Which Dog Toys Are Safe?
Every dog owner has a moment of panic when you find your dog chewing on something he shouldn’t be. Dogs don’t know the difference between a shoe and a toy because they both look like fun things to play with. Though all your dog wants is to have fun, it’s your responsibility to make sure that he stays safe while he plays and that means choosing your dog toys carefully.
Not all dog toys are safe, and some can be downright dangerous. Keep reading to learn more about which dog toys are safe and which ones to avoid.
How Are Dog Toys Regulated?
This is a trick question because dog toys are not strictly regulated. When it comes to pet food, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) oversees the production and sale of pet food products, but there is no overseeing organization for other pet supplies like toys, bedding, and clothing. If you’re concerned about the safety of a pet product, the best thing you can do is contact the manufacturer for more information.
What Should You Avoid in Dog Toys?
When it comes to safety, there are two things to be concerned about regarding dog toys. The first is, of course, hazardous materials. You don’t want to give your dog a toy made from something that could harm him. Second, you want to avoid dog toys that are designed in a way that could be harmful. For example, a dog toy with small, ingestible parts is not safe.
Here are some other things to watch out for in dog toys:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – This material is often used with chemical additives to make PVC toys more flexible.
- Phthalates – These additives are often found in PVC toys and can leach into your dog’s skin and gums over time.
- Formaldehyde – A preservative often used in rawhide chews, long-term exposure to this chemical can be very dangerous for dogs.
- Stuffing – Plush toys that contain a lot of stuffing can be unsafe for dogs because the dog could ingest it or choke on it.
- Small Parts – Any toy that has small parts which could come off poses a choking hazard.
- Rawhide – All-natural raw hide can be safe for dogs, but you need to be careful because if your dog chews it down into small pieces it could be a choking hazard.
- Tennis Balls – These are fine for throwing and chasing, but don’t let your dog chew on a tennis ball because he could swallow the pieces.
Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious when a dog toy is unsafe. You need to learn how to use a critical eye when shopping for pet supplies, and not just toys.
Which Dog Toys are the Safest for Dogs?
If you want what’s best for your dog but you don’t want to start scrutinizing every toy at the pet store, there are a few options that are widely recognized as safe. Here are some of the safest toys for dogs:
- Rubber Toys – Hard rubber toys (like KONG) toys are a great option because they are very durable, but your dog can still chew on them.
- Rope Toys – Woven rope toys are generally safe for dogs because even if he chews off some of the fibers, there’s little risk of choking.
- Distraction Toys – If you’re trying to keep your dog busy, a distraction toy or interactive toy is a great option – just make sure you fill it with dog-safe treats.
- Plush Toys – Many dogs like to carry plush toys around. This is fine as long as the dog doesn’t rip it apart. If your dog tends to destroy toys, just make sure the plush doesn’t have filling.
- Chew Toys – Nylon and natural bone are other good materials to choose for chew toys because they are durable, non-toxic, and safe for your dog.
You are your dog’s protector and it’s your job to keep him safe. Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t realize the danger that some dog toys pose until their dogs get hurt. If you want what’s best for your dog, take what you’ve learned here and start shopping smart for dog toys.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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