Toys can keep your dog entertained for hours – but choosing the wrong type of toy or one that is poorly constructed could create an emergency situation. What makes a good dog toy – and what features should be avoided? Here’s what to consider when you shop for toys for your pup:
Kids Toys are not Pet Toys
Stuffed animals for dogs and kids might look similar, but your child won’t be able to rip into the toy and get at the contents inside. Dog toys should be made to withstand chewing, crushing and tearing; if the toy bursts when chewed, it is hazardous for your pet. The stuffing, exterior fabric and even any batteries or electronics inside pose a risk if your dog can access them. Choose durable toys designed specifically for dogs, and replace the toy when it begins to look worn for best results.
Size Matters More than you Think
It’s funny to see a tiny puppy toting an oversized toy, but a size mismatch in the other direction can be deadly. Toys that are too small can become lodged in your dog’s throat and pose a serious choking hazard. Oversized rubber toys like Kongs work well for most dogs, but even safe rubber chewables pose a hazard if they are too small. Toys with protrusions or pieces that could easily be sheared off need to be avoided as well; any small parts pose a risk to your pet.
Examine any new toy to see what it is made from – those component parts are what your dog will be able to access if he destroys the toy. Be wary of bright colors (which could be achieved using toxic dyes), hollow toys with non-edible filling (which could be anything from cardboard to sawdust) and hidden electronics (the battery that powers them could harm your pet).
Before you give any toy to your dog, look it over and check to see what it is made from and what’s inside. Gently tug and twist the toy, if you can break it with your hands, your dog will be able to destroy it in minutes. If you spot any questionable ingredients or can’t determine what the toy is made from, it might be better to pass on that item and keep your pet safe.