cat playing with toy

Toys are more than just fun for pets! After the basics are met (food, water, and shelter) toys play an important role in helping our pups burn off excess energy, deal with frustration, satisfy the need to chew, provide comfort, and have fun

All toys are not created equal, however, and some may be downright dangerous for your pet. Stick with the team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital as we explore dangerous pet toys and how to choose the right products for your pet.

Choices, Choices

Walk into any pet supply store and you are bombarded with choices when it comes to toys. It’s easy to assume that everything for sale is regulated and considered safe for dogs, but unfortunately this is not the case. There is no regulating body when it comes to dog toys, so it’s up to the owners to use a combination of research and common sense when it comes to choosing products for our pets.

Dangerous Pet Toys

Dangerous pet toys come in all shapes and sizes. Keep the following in mind when selecting toys for your pet:

  • Avoid anything with small dangling bits such as string or fibers, or hard parts that can be chewed off and swallowed. Rope toys fall into this category as the nylon can come undone and be hazardous if swallowed.
  • Extremely hard toys, like antlers, hooves, and even nylabones can break a dog’s teeth and should not be given.
  • Very soft toys or those made of thin rubber that can be easily torn apart pose a choking hazard.
  • Any toy with a squeaker inside should be avoided, squeaker removal is a fun challenge for many dogs and can be swallowed.
  • Rawhides, especially those formed into a knot, pose a risk of intestinal obstruction. Additionally, extremely hard rawhides can have sharp edges. Rawhides from overseas may contain toxic chemicals from the manufacturing process, so always choose U.S. made rawhides and soak them in warm water before offering them to your pet.
  • Rubber toys with only one hole at the end, such as a ball, can cause serious injury to a dog’s tongue. The tongue can become “suctioned” inside the hole, where it remains stuck and begins to swell. This will require surgical removal.

Know Thy Pet

Another important aspect when it comes to avoiding dangerous pet toys is to consider what your specific pet needs. Large breeds should not be given tennis balls or anything small enough to pose a choking hazard. “Super chewers” should not be given any toy that can easily be ripped apart and the pieces swallowed, such as soft toys or flimsy rubber toys – opt for a sturdy Kong or similar product instead.

Last but not least, ALL dogs should be supervised while chewing on or playing with toys. Every year we see cases of intestinal obstruction due to swallowing part of a toy that has come off – it only takes a moment!

As always, we are here for you and your dog. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team with your questions or concerns regarding your pet.