Choosing Safer Toys for Your Dog

December is Safe Toys and Gifts month and a great time to brush up on what makes a good toy for your dog. Just because a toy is marketed toward animals does not necessarily mean it is safe or appropriate for your pet. If you’re looking to pick up a new toy for your dog, here are a few things to keep in mind when making your choice.

Consider Quality

Look for toys that are fairly indestructible and well-made. You want to make sure it is an object that will hold up to your dog’s chewing, shaking, and pulling. Hard nylon is often a good option. Be aware of these potential hazards:

  • Strong chemical smell
  • Loose pieces that can easily be pulled off
  • Contains stuffing, bells, or squeakers that could be toxic or choking hazards to your pet.

Pay attention to the size of the toy as well. You don’t want to give a large dog a toy that is too small and could get caught in their throat and become a choking hazard.

Be Cautious About Bones

Chewing on bones can be an effective way to entertain your dog while helping to keep its teeth cleaner. However, be aware of the type of material used. Rawhide bones can become a choking hazard and may easily splinter into pieces that can cut your dog’s gums. Look for products made in the United States that have passed safety and quality standards. Opt for raw bones over cooked bones as well.

It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian before giving your dog a raw or natural bone product. They may recommend hard nylon instead, which can be more durable and still effective. Limit the time your dog chews on a bone to prevent their jaw from becoming too tired.

Choose Interactive Toys

Rather than giving your dog a toy that it will immediately chew on and try to destroy, give it something that will keep it busy. Kong-type toys where you put peanut butter (xylitol-free of course) or small treats inside can keep your dog entertained. Look for feeder-type toys as well where they have to roll, shake, or manipulate it to find the treats and get them out. Your dog will be interacting with the toy more than chewing on it.

Inspect for Damage

Regularly take the time to inspect your dog’s toys and replace or get rid of ones that are worn out. It may be your dog’s favorite, but if it poses a safety risk, it’s not worth keeping. Some things to look for include:

  • Tears in seams or loose threads
  • Stuffing coming out
  • Loose pieces
  • Cracks or brittleness (rubber can dry out)
  • Fraying

Have a stock of other toys on hand so that you can replace damaged items with the same product or something new for your dog to explore. It’s always a good idea to supervise your dog, especially if they are gnawing on a bone or playing with a toy that has a squeaker. Put up these types of toys when you are not home.

Let your dog safely run, play, and socialize when you’re not home by boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. They will get the attention they desire, stay entertained, and you can have peace of mind that they’re not getting into trouble while at home alone. Contact us today to schedule your dog’s next stay!