Choosing Safe Toys for Dogs

Make Sure Your Dog’s Christmas Present is Safe & Healthy!

Christmas is upon on and many pet owners buy treats and toys as gifts for their beloved canine companions.

Toys and chews for dogs are not only fun – they are a necessity for your dog’s mental and physical wellbeing. Toys help fight boredom when they are alone, and provide comfort or stress release when they’re feeling nervous or anxious.

Dog toys enable your canine buddy to get exercise and remain active – which is essential for healthy muscles, bones, and weight maintenance.  Chew toys improve dental healthy. And activity toys can even help prevent your dog from developing certain problem behaviors.

But defected, recalled or inappropriate dog toys can also result in injury or illness to pets. So ow doe the responsible owner know which toys, chews or treats are safe?

Safe Dog Chews & Treats

Several brands of dog chews have recently been recalled for containing toxic chemicals. (See List Here). Though the “brands” were US companies (like Petco and Walmart Essentials) these recalled treats were actually manufactured in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. (Read More About Rawhide Recalls Here)

Our South Bay veterinarians always recommend looking for Made in the USA food products, because US regulations and standards are stricter than many other countries. Look for USDA facility certification on the label – which means the quality control is even higher

Additionally, try to find natural products that look as close to their original form as possible – with is a few additives as possible.  For example look for products with as little processing and as few additives as possible. Stay away from products that are bleached with chemicals to remove odors.

Safe Dog Toys

To begin with, be sure to buy toys that are the appropriate size for your dog. Toys that are too small can easily be swallowed, or become lodged in your canine’s throat or windpipe.

When choosing squeaky toys, always supervise your dog’s playtime with them. Many dogs decide that they must find and destroy the source of the squeaking – which can lead to ingesting parts and pieces if left unwatched.

On stuffed toys, check the labels to ensure that they don’t contain any dangerous fillings. Toxic fillings can include nutshells and polystyrene beads, etc. But also remember that even “safe” stuffing – while not necessary toxic – are not truly digestible and can cause blockages in a dog’s intestines if eaten.

Avoid dog toys treated with fire retardants or stain guard, as they may contain formaldehyde and other chemicals.

Tennis balls, children’s stuffed animals, etc. may be appealing to dogs, but they simply don’t stand up to chewing very well, and can pose a choking hazard to your pet. Always supervise a dog with a tennis ball, and discard any tennis balls once they become chewed through.

Made-for-dog toys constructed of hard rubber, such as Nylabone® and Kong® products, are fun for chewing, fetching and tug-of-war – and they stand up to a dog’s sharp teeth without shredding into choking hazard pieces.

Veterinarian Recommended Dog Toys & Treats

If you’re thinking about giving your dog treats, chew or play toys for Christmas, you can always check with your veterinarian about which ones are safe and appropriate for your dog.

Use common sense – strong chemical smells from a toy may indicate residual chemicals. Brightly dyed fabrics can contain toxic dye that leaches out when wet. Read the treat or toy’s label carefully and visit the manufacturer’s website for additional information. Conscientious toy companies will be open and transparent about their processes and ingredients.

Stick to products made in the U.S.A. whenever possible. Don’t rely just on the brand name, but also read the fine print. However, just because they are made in the United States doesn’t 100% guarantee safety.

Additionally, you can also check the FDA list of pet recalled foods when trying something new for your dog.

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