There are many factors that contribute to what makes a dog toy “safe” or “unsafe.” Some toys by nature are not safe, however many of the factors depend on your dog’s age, size, temperament, etc. We suggest following these guidelines to determine what toys are safe for your dog.
1. Be cautious. Often the things dogs are most attracted to are the most dangerous. Avoid or alter any toys which have ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts which could be chewed and ingested. Discard any toys which begin to break into pieces. Choose toys that are the appropriate size for your dog, avoiding toys which can be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s mouth.
2. No toy is indestructible. While some dog toys are “nearly” indestructible always check for signs of wear and tear. Kongs are one of the toughest dog toys on the market and are usually fine for unsupervised play with most dogs (however there still is a danger that pointy headed dogs may get their jaw stuck in the hole). Soft toys are fine for gentle dogs who don’t rip toys apart, although are usually best suggested as “supervision only” toys.
3. Avoid rawhide. Although a popular treat/chew toy, rawhides are not safe toys. Rawhides can cause an intestinal blockage since they expand when wet and are not digestible. This can mean expensive surgery for you and serious illness or worse for your pet. Raw beef bones are an excellent, safe alternative to rawhides. Dogs can eat and digest raw beef bones and they offer as much or more chew satisfaction.
4. Keep it fun! Rotate sets of toys weekly, leaving only 4 or 5 toys out at a time. This keeps all the toys “new” and interesting to your dog. Also provide toys which offer a variety of uses – at least one to carry, one to “kill” and one to chase. Make sure to have interactive toys for you and your dog to play with together!
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