Dog lovers know that dogs tend to make toys out of anything – but their favorite playthings are usually the special toys given to them by their owners. However, not all dog toys are safe, and some are actually health hazards, no matter how much fun they may look. When getting toys for your favorite pet or before getting a new dog, these are the ones that are best avoided and why they can be a problem.
This may seem like an odd toy to be wary of, especially for older pet owners who grew up with a rawhide bone in every home. However, rawhide bones have earned an increasingly poor reputation.
First, rawhide is not necessarily digestible; rawhide is compressed bits and scraps from leather production factories. If your dog chews the bone to pieces, some parts (especially if there’s actual bone) can be sharp and get lodged in their stomach, causing serious digestive health problems.
Additionally, rawhide bones contain chemicals, used for everything from burning off the hair from the rawhide to preserving it. There aren’t any regulations that limit the chemicals used in these bones, so some of them can be dangerous to digest. These aren’t the types of toys you want your dog chewing on.
The keyword here is stuffed; it’s fine to give your dog an animal toy to play with, but an animal that has stuffing inside is not a good pet toy. Dogs will rip the toy apart and then swallow at least some stuffing. Even organic stuffing isn’t very healthy, but many stuffed toys use inorganic fill materials that come with additional dangers.
Tug ropes are a very popular way of interacting with your favorite pup, because who doesn’t like a good tug of war with their best bud? And if you carefully put away the tug rope afterward, it’s probably not going to do your dog any harm. However, leaving tug ropes out can be quite dangerous, because dogs tend to chew on them and swallow the strands. These strands aren’t digestible and can actually become a very dangerous foreign body trapped lengthwise in the digestive tract. Moreover, some dog experts recommend against using tug toys because they can encourage aggression in some dogs, making them more likely to bite.
It’s an old favorite, especially in the summer months, but don’t give your dog ice cubes. A dog’s teeth aren’t made to chew on ice (even less so than human teeth), and eating ice can actually chip their teeth, which should always be avoided.
Latex and Vinyl Toys
Always look at what the rubber-like dog toys are made of before purchasing, avoiding latex and vinyl. Just like humans, some dogs can have a latex allergy; if you don’t know for sure, it’s best to just avoid latex toys. Vinyl toys, on the other hand, include toxic plastic chemicals like phthalates – nice for your floor, but not good for a dog toy.
Squeaker toys are already a rough proposition because of all the noise they can make. But even if you are not the type of owner to be bothered by that, there are other reasons to consider skipping these toys. The squeak attracts the dog, but it also gives them something to chew for; if they chew the toy apart to find the squeaker mechanism, they will usually swallow it. The squeaker can get lodged in their throat, block their stomach and cause serious complications.
While they’re often a popular pet store item, pig ears aren’t the best thing for your dogs. Dogs may be very attracted to them, but these pig ears aren’t very digestible, and they will cause many dogs to throw up if they manage to bite off a piece. Plus, they aren’t the most sanitary toys in even the best conditions, let alone after your furry friends has slobbered all over them. This is actually true of many “animal part” toys, like hooves and antlers as well; it’s best to avoid them when possible and find toys that are safer for your dogs to chew.