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What Kind of Toys Are Safe for Dogs

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What Kind of Toys Are Safe for Dogs

For dogs and other pets, toys are not a luxury, they are a necessity.

Toys are important to your dog’s health. When you have to leave your dog at home, toys can help combat boredom and provide comfort when they are stressed. Toys can even help prevent your dog from developing certain problem behaviors.

While cats can be very picky about toys, dogs generally prefer to play with any object they can get their paws on. This means you need to be particularly careful when monitoring your dog's playtime to prevent any "unplanned" activity.

Many factors can affect whether a toy is safe or dangerous, many of which depend on your dog's size, activity level, and preferences. Another thing to consider is the environment in which your dog spends his time. Often the things that are most attractive to dogs are also the most dangerous. Prevent dogs from entering your home by removing strings, ribbons, rubber bands, children's toys, pantyhose and other inedible items that could be swallowed.


So which pet toy is safer? Not all toys are 100% safe, and playing with a squeaky toy, for example, your dog may feel like they have to find and destroy the source of the squeaking, which means they may swallow it if left unattended. Avoid or modify any toys that are not "dog-proof" by removing ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and swallowed. When a toy starts to chip or tear, throw it away. Check the labels on stuffed animals to see if they are labeled safe for children under three years old and do not contain any dangerous fillers. Problematic fillings include nut shells and polystyrene beads, but even the "safe" fillings can't actually be digested. Remember, stuffed toys are not indestructible, but some are sturdier than others, and stuffed animals should be machine washable. Here are the toys we recommend based on some research on pets:

1. Rubber toys

Hard rubber toys come in many shapes and sizes and are fun to chew and carry. For dogs who enjoy tug-of-war and chewing on interesting textures, rope and woven toys are often in the shape of "bones" with knotted ends. Tennis balls are a great toy for dogs to fetch, but they are not very chewable. Discard any chewed tennis balls as they may pose a choking hazard to your pet.

2. Edible toys

A flexible toy box, especially one filled with broken up treats, can keep a puppy or dog busy for hours. "Business box" or "feeder" toys are large rubber shapes that can be filled with treats. By moving the cube with its nose, mouth and paws, your dog can get to the tasty treats. Many dogs that eat too quickly can benefit from feeder-style toys.


3. Plush toys

Stuffed toys serve many purposes, but they are not suitable for all dogs. Some dogs like to carry stuffed toys with them. If your dog sees a toy as a companion, choose a toy that is small enough to carry. Some dogs want to shake or "kill" their toys, so choose a toy that is large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and sturdy enough to withstand a dog's attack. Dirty laundry, such as old T-shirts, pillowcases, towels, or blankets, can be very comforting for dogs, especially if the items smell like you! Be forewarned, this item may be destroyed by diligent fluffing, handling, and sniffing.


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