Pet Lovers

Safe Toys for Dogs?

Dear Pet Lovers:

I am wondering about safe toys for dogs. My 4-year old lab mix loves fluffy stuffed animal toys with squeakers in them but rips out the squeakers within hours. She also likes raw hide but I recall a friend telling me they are unsafe. Can you recommend some safer toys for dogs?


Sadie’s Mom

Dear Sadie’s Mom,

The safest toys are hard rubber, Nylabone and Kong-type toys. Sturdy rope toys with knotted ends are generally safe but as with all toys, even the safest, supervise your dog. If he starts to pull out the separate pieces of rope, it’s time to toss the toy. As for raw hide, the issue is that these toys can become choking hazards as the dog starts to destroy the toy – check with your vet and supervise, supervise, supervise. When it comes to the stuffed toys and especially those with squeakers, know your dog. If your dog likes to carry around the soft toy and uses it more as a comfort toy, it should be fine. If your dog consistently rips apart the soft toys and could choke on the stuffing and the squeaker if the toy has one, skip them.

Some other notes on dog toys:

Always check with your vet on their toy recommendations for your breed of dog.

Always supervise your pet. For example, some dogs love tennis balls and chew on them with no problem, while there have been horror stores of dogs choking on tennis balls. Keep on eye on your pet. Also, toys should not be a substitute for interaction.

Rotate your dog’s toys to spark interest.

Use toys as a way to have fun with your dog. Play “hide and seek” with toys or fetch.

5 Responses to “Safe Toys for Dogs?”

  1. I once had a Husky and one day while I made a quick trip to the store had ingested about a pound of bacon grease. Of course this meant a trip to the vet since I could not get him to vomit. After the vet trip the next day, Bandit vomited some mucous but also a ball that was about the size of a soft ball…fully intact. I was shocked. Of course I called my vet and asked how could he swallow that whole! He said that a dog’s throat is like elastic and can stretch to swallow things bigger than you think! Just wanted to remind everyone that balls are toys and you need to supervise any play with a ball.

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  4. Cindy B says:

    Re: Those stretchy bandages that are similar to the stretchy bandage they wrap around you arm after having blood drawn. Well, I took my Rocky (AmericanEskimo/BoxerMastiff Mix) to a vet that my regular vet referred me to. My regular vets office was already dealing with 3 emergencies. So he gave me 2 referrals, so I picked the vet offc closest to me My Rocky had a twisted Do-Claw (spelling?) The vet clipped the nail, soaked it, put ointment on it, then lastly, wrapped it with a doggie stretchy bandage…yellow with brown little bones on it.
    I told her that I’d never had a sick dog before…so what should I do to treat Rocky. She said…Oh, just be sure you put a new bandage on him in 2days. She said to add ointment and rewrap it. Well, 2 days later I went to chg his bandage and I saw that it was gone. MY DOGS….I “HAD” 4 RESCUE DOGS….NEVER EAT FOREIGN OBJECTS! Long story short…..2 wks later Rocky had to be put down on the operating table! The vet could not figure out what had happened to him?!?
    Well, after I kissed him good-bye and went bk into the little waiting room there at the office and totally broke down crying! She eventually comes in to give me her condolences and say she was so sorry for what happened with Rocky. AND THEN, AS I AM STILL THERE CRYING….SHE SHOWS ME THIS OBJECT IN A ZIP LOCK BAG. She said, I don’t know what this is, but this is what was inside Rocky and the cause of all of this. WELL, I TOOK A GOOD LOOK AT THE ITEM IN THE ZIP LOCK BAG SHE WAS HOLDING….THIS WAS RIGHT AFTER SHE PUT MY BABY BOY DOWN…..IT WAS THE BANDAGE THAT SHE HAD PLACED ON HIM AT OUR FIRST VISIT!!!!! MY HEART JUST DROPPED, KNOWING THAT IF SHE WOULD HAVE ADVISE ME T PUT A LAMPSHADE COLLAR ON HIM TO PREVENT HIM GETTING AT THE BANDAGE…OR AT THE VERY LEAST, SHE SHOULD HAVE WARNED ME TO LOOK FOR THE BANDAGE IF IT WAS NO LONGER ON HIM!! So one day I take my perfectly healthy Rocky in for a twisted DoClaw (spelling?) and 2 weeks later he’s dead! BOTTOM LINE….IF YOU PET EVER HAS TO WEAR ONE OF THOSE STRETCHY/SELF STICKING BANDAGE ANYWHERE ON IT’S BODY….LOOK FOR IT IF IT IS NO LONGER ON YOUR PET!!!! Warning….if the bandage is nowhere to be found and your pet stopped eating….TAKE HIM IN SO THEY CAN REMOVE IT BEFORE IT GETS ALL TWISTED IN HIS DIGESTIVE SYSTEM!!! So now, I sit here with a box of ashes and an $1100.00 vet bill……and the devasting loss of our wonderful, awesome, smart, loving, Rocky! It’s been over a month and I am still having breakdowns of crying!!! PLEASE BEWARE!!

  5. Sean Maki says:

    Great points, when visiting with friends or some family members I often see their dogs playing with really worn out toys. It’s worried me a bit in the past but I’ve never really thought a whole lot about if there are actual dangers.

    I hadn’t thought on checking with my vet, do toy recommendations really vary much based on breed?

    Sean Maki

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