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?
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.