26 Oct 2014
If you’ve ever been inside a pet store or wandered through the pet aisle of your local discount store, you’ll notice a plethora of dog toys. However, just because it’s labeled and tagged as a toy for dogs doesn’t mean it’s a good option for your pet. Before buying a toy for your dog, there are several factors to keep in mind regarding safety.
Why buy toys at all?
Dogs are people too, right? They get bored and need some form of entertainment, especially if their humans are busy or away at work. Some toys give a dog something to do, while others provide comfort. It’s good to have a variety of each type and hide them around the home or rotate for play time.
The size of the toy and dog matter.
A small lightweight toy is going to be destroyed quickly by a large dog and pose a choking hazard as well. A large heavy toy may be harmful to a small or toy breed by being too much for little jaws to carry around. Make sure to get toys appropriate to your dog’s size and jaw strength.
Dogs and kids are eerily similar.
Just like kids, dogs are often attracted to dangerous things. Anyone that has ever had a dachshund for instance, knows they love to silence the squeaky toy. The squeaking mechanisms can be the equivalent of giving a marble to an infant. In the mouth it goes, where it can easily cause a choking hazard or lodge further down in the digestive tract. I wouldn’t recommend making a habit of giving squeaky toys to dogs and strongly suggest constant supervision when doing so.
Many dogs love a ‘lovie’ of some sort. Many female dogs will treat a stuffed animal like a puppy by carrying it around, licking and putting one paw over it for sleeping. Just make sure the stuffed animal doesn’t have button eyes that pose a choking hazard and check frequently for rips that might lead to lost stuffing. The stuffing can cause choking and vomiting so either sew it up or replace when it starts to come apart. You’ll save yourself and your dog an extra trip to the vet.
Make-do dog toy
If you’ve had to toss all your dog’s toys and haven’t been able to pick up new ones, make one from old laundry. And old t-shirt rolled up and sewn or tied in knots makes a good toy and probably smells great to your dog!
Rawhides should be given with caution. Dogs that race to finish their treats are at risk of swallowing big chunks that can get lodged in the esophagus, so supervise your dog and ensure he chews appropriately. Not all rawhides are made with strict manufacturing principles so they can cause stomach upsets due to E.coli or Salmonella. They are also high-fat and high salt treats (this is what makes them tasty!). Depending on what you purchase rawhides can also support unethical trades such as the fur industry, so consider what animal the rawhide comes from and whether you want to support the industry and company that made it. That being said, rawhides are a great (relatively) natural treat that can be excellent for dental health and satisfy your dog’s urge to chew.
Vet recommended toys for active dogs:
- Ezydog Dogstar Flyer – Made of durable nylon, this frisbee is recommended for two reasons. It floats and is durable yet soft enough not to cause trauma to teeth or gums.
- Kong Puppy Wubba Toy – Whether playing a gentle game of tug-o-war or fetch, this toy is sturdy enough for hours of interactive play.
- Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball - This is a toy designed to entice dogs with the scent of a treat inside or can be used for playing fetch.
- Jax and Bones Good Karma Rope Toy – These toys are sturdy yet comforting for dogs to carry around and keep nearby.
- Zogoflex Hurley Dog Chew Toy – Dogs love the flexible chewiness of this toy. Humans love that it’s very long lasting, practically indestructible and floats.
Most importantly, enjoy time with your furry friend. Remember, you’re his human for life. Make it count.
Eloise Bright is a mom to Duster, the Pomeranian, and Jimmy, the cat. As a Sydney based veterinarian of 7 years currently working with Love That Pet, Eloise has taken the opportunity to volunteer at charity clinics and is now completing her Masters in Small Animal Practice.