Keeping our furry friends safe while they’re playing is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, dog toys are still poorly regulated in terms of safety in the majority of western countries. There are a plethora of products aimed towards dogs that never undergo any toxicity checks, which is more than concerning for every dog lover out there.
However, there are still ways you can ensure your pet gets only the top-quality toys that pose no risk to its health at all. Here we’ll discuss the topic in more detail to help you find adequate toys for your dogs to chew on.
1. Understand your dog
Nobody knows your pet better than you! If your dogs are aggressive chewers you should avoid items that are potential choking hazards, for example. If your dog has any allergies or intolerance to certain materials, remember to check the labels carefully before buying any toys. Additionally, your pup’s preferences and needs are something to consider as well! Some dogs prefer certain materials, sounds, and shapes, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
If you notice any signs of poisoning or even mild sickness after use, immediately discard the toy. If the symptoms persist, contact your vet for further instructions. Remember to keep the label to help the vet better understand the situation.
Again, you know your dog better than anyone else, so pay attention to its behavior. Even the slightest changes should be considered: it’s better to be safe than sorry!
2. Ask your vet for recommendations
Your vet likely knows the dog toy market better than everyone else! Many vet clinics have their own toy sections where you can shop for the best quality playthings for your little fluffball to enjoy! If not, you can still seek advice from a veterinarian, as they’ve probably dealt with the effects of unsafe and toxic toys before.
You can find these tips and advice online as well by visiting different forums and blogs frequented by the veterinarian community. Of course, if you’ve already bought some toys but you’re doubting whether they’re safe or not, just call your vet and let them read the label before you give them to your pup.
Overall, getting the vet’s opinion is always a good idea when we’re talking about everything dog-related (including their playtime).
3. Avoid toys with squeakers or bells inside
Now, while dogs generally adore squeaking and ringing sounds, toys that come with those sound effects are usually not the best choice for your pup. That especially goes if your furry friend is an aggressive chewer, as there’s more risk they’ll destroy the toy and possibly swallow the squeaker inside.
If you’d still like to treat your dog with a squeaky toy, we recommend looking for strong rubber materials that your puppy won’t be able to bite through that easily. Even then, make sure you dispose of the toy once the rubber starts falling off, and ensure your dog’s playtime is strictly supervised.
All in all, toys with squeakers inside are better avoided, but if your dog really loves them that much, make sure you choose models made from quality rubber.
4. Stick to the big-name brands
It’s better to invest in a couple of pricey toys instead of having hundreds of poor-quality ones. Cheap dog toys aren’t only easy for your dog to destroy, they could also be potentially harmful to its health.
Brands like PetSafe, Kong, and kuoser.com are popular among pet owners for a very good reason. While you can find quality off-brand dog toys if you’re persistent enough, it’s usually not worth the effort. You wouldn’t want to risk your pet’s health only to save a couple of dollars, now, would you?
So, yes, stick with the popular brands if you can help it. The price differences aren’t that extreme. Besides, branded toys provide better value for money since they’ll last longer than their off-brand counterparts.
5. The size does matter!
Buying miniature toys for your large golden retriever or mastiff is simply counter-productive. They won’t only get bored of them quickly, you’ll also need to worry about accidental swallowing and poisoning. Look for toys made specifically for larger dogs if your pup’s on a chunkier side. The same goes for smaller puppies as well: they need to be able to lift their toys comfortably!
We suggest you visit a specialized store and talk to the vendors until you’ve found something suitable for your furry friend. Again, seek popular brands, and don’t forget to read the product label before making your purchase. Go for food-grade rubber products, and avoid softer materials if you can.
6. Listen to other pet owners
Your friend told you about their awful experience with a certain product line, and it made you avoid that brand altogether. Are you overreacting?
Well, we’d say no, not at all! While your friend (and their dog) might just be a bit unlucky, risking your pet’s health is never worth considering, even if you truly like the brand in question.
We recommend reading different blogs, forums, reviews, and other relevant online content to learn more about the toy brand before you order anything from their website. Join a pet owner community online to share your experiences with others and learn more about theirs at the same time. You’ll quickly become an expert in everything dog-toy-related!
You love your dog and you want only the best for him/her. Unfortunately, the toys marketed towards our canine friends are currently all but regulated properly. Buying cheap toys could potentially lead to poisoning or choking, which is better avoided.
That’s why we believe you need to choose your new favorite dog toy brand carefully. Seek advice from your vet, friends, family, even strangers online if need be, but ensure your dog is getting what she or he deserves!
We hope our tips helped you in your search for the perfect toy to make your dog the happiest fur baby in the world. We also wish you good luck in keeping your canine friend entertained and healthy at the same time: we know that’s not easy sometimes!