Though we don’t have to be as conscious of toy safety with our canine companions as we do with human babies, our pups are nevertheless prone to accidents and mishaps. To them, toys are a necessity and are not optional. They help alleviate boredom while you’re away, and since dogs will play with anything, it’s that much more important that you pay attention to what you leave for them to tear into without your supervision.
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. What works for a Chihuahua isn’t always a good choice for the St. Bernard. You’ll want to make sure the toys are big enough that they can’t become lodged in your dog’s throat. From tennis balls to stuffed toys, one accidental hard inhale could lead to a very sad ending.
Some toys dogs enjoy aren’t entirely dog proof. Muck like tinsel during the holidays is a choking hazard, so too is any kind of string or ribbon. Even if it seems firmly affixed to the toy itself, never underestimate your dog’s ability to loosen those bonds. Other things to watch out for are hard eyes that could pop off or any other thing that could be ingested. Make sure to always dump toys that are falling apart or are extremely ragged.
Never leave your pet alone with a new toy that has a squeaker unless you know for a fact that they won’t go digging for it. Some dogs are driven mad by the noise and refuse to give up until they find the source – a choking hazard. If such a toy irritates them in the slightest, trade it out for a new one.
Ideally, you’ll also want dog toys that are considered to be child friendly for children under the age of three. This means the insides are probably not filled with toxic substances or those tiny beads. It should be machine washable and sturdy enough that it doesn’t fall apart after the first play session.
Of the toys dogs are often left with, rawhides have been extremely popular. Nowadays, though, they are under heavy scrutiny and not sold the way they were. This is because the small pieces they break into pose choking risks and can even obstruct the intestines. Plus, some of the cheaper brands are taken from the fur trade. Either way, rawhide is no longer on the list of good toys to leave your dog with even when supervised.
If your dog has a toy that has only one hole, there is the chance a vacuum can form, sealing the toy on your dog in a dangerous fashion. Instead of throwing it out, simply make sure you poke a hole into the other end. If this is not possible, trash the toy in favor of something that won’t potentially hurt your pup.