Dogs thrive when they have lots of opportunities for physical and mental stimulation, without which, they can become bored and prone to developing undesirable habits and behaviors. There are several ways to satisfy this need, one of which, is providing toys that are safe for dogs. The right toys provide plenty of opportunities for play, enrich any training regimen, ease boredom, and curb the development of behavior problems.
Toys for your dog are not a luxury; they are a necessity. They need toys of different types-- balls, tugs, bones, frisbees, squeaky toys, etc. The main concern now is to find toys that are perfectly safe for your canine buddy. As more and more pet toy companies try to get a substantial chunk out of the dog toy market, the options (and problems!) continue to grow. Appearances and information that come with many toys are often deceiving. There is a need for pet owners to closely inspect dog toys and read reviews. There are just so many unfortunate incidents that have been linked to toys, including choking, ingestion and obstruction in any part of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), toxicity, and other adverse reactions. These problems may also be caused by the materials and coatings that are used. It is also unfortunate to note that there are pet toys found to be tainted with toxic heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and bromine. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, liver toxicity, developmental abnormalities, reproductive problems, and learning disabilities. There are also latex toys that contain phthalates and BPA (a known hormone disruptor).
The pet toy industry is not strictly regulated, thus it is up to the pet parents to choose which toys are safe for their dogs. Here are some tips to help you find toys that are perfectly safe for your pet dog:
- Select toys based on your pet’s life stage and personal preference. A teething puppy and a senior pet will need different toys.
- Use your senses in evaluating a toy. The presence of residual chemicals may be indicated by the presence of strong chemical scents.
- Avoid toys that are heavily dyed. Toxic ingredients may be present in fabrics that are brightly dyed; the fabric can also leach dye when wet.
- Avoid toys with sharp, pointy objects as they can pose a potential danger to your pet’s eyes.
- Remove strings, ribbons, eyes or other parts from toys that can be ingested and can be potential choking hazards.
- Don’t buy toys that contain fire retardants or stain guard materials because they may have formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.
- Take time to read product labels.
- When you buy dog toys online, visit the websites of manufacturers for additional information. Reputable companies tend to be transparent about how their products are made and the materials that these are made of.
- Don’t buy balls with single air holes because there have been many cases of a dog’s tongue being suctioned and trapped, requiring painful medical intervention and amputation of the tongue.
- Choose toys based on your pet’s size, play style, and activity level. Avoid those that he can take entirely inside his mouth. As a general rule, anything that is small enough to fit behind the rear molars of a dog is considered a choking hazard.
- Having a variety of toys on hand and rotating them regularly can go a long way in sparking your pet’s interest.
- If a toy starts to show signs of damage, it’s best to dispose of it and replace it with a new one.
- Resist the urge to buy cheap dog toys because they normally won’t last long and are more likely to have harmful chemicals.
- Don’t buy plastic dog toys because many of these use phthalates to make them more durable and harder to break. Phthalates have also been shown to be carcinogenic. These chemicals can also trigger asthma or allergy attacks and can wreak havoc on your dog’s hormones.
- Not all hard toys are durable. You should check out the toy dog material to determine whether it can withstand rough play, being chewed, pulled, or bitten. Many can easily splinter especially if your dog is an aggressive chewer. When worn out, these toys can also develop sharp edges which can be dangerous for your pet.
- Toys with soft edges won’t splinter and cause injury to your dog. They are also much less harmful when ingested.
- Toys that are made of natural rubber are very durable. In fact, natural rubber is one of the toughest types of rubber that comes from the latex of rubber trees. A popular brand of toy that uses high-quality rubber is KONG. KONG produces toys for both cats & dogs.
Whatever toy your dog is playing with, it is always recommended that you keep a close eye on your pet. Even when you are keen on selecting dog toys with the highest quality, knowing how to supervise your pooch while playing with his toys is equally important.