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Dangerous Pet Toys

Updated on May 6, 2012
Qupid always has her tennis ball in mouth
Qupid always has her tennis ball in mouth
Qupid as a baby, wearing her organic sweater!
Qupid as a baby, wearing her organic sweater!

The Harmful Side to Your Pet's Favorite Toys

We all want to pamper our pet with the occasional- or more than occasional- toy. These fun assortments of chew toys, squeaky mice, and rubber shoes look innocent enough on the outside but in actuality they are packing a painful punch to your pet’s health. Some recent studies have surfaced, showing the alarming levels of toxins being used to make pet toys, largely because of deregulation for companies who outsource their labor. The Washington Toxics Coalition paired up with the Michigan-based Ecology Center to test over 900 common household products, here are some of their worrisome findings:

  • First of all, 80% of all dog toys are made in China where regulation is far more lax.
  • 2/3 of all pet toys tested contained toxic levels
  • 1/3 contained heavy metals!
  • 1/2 of all dog collars tested were positive for lead, with 25% beyond safety levels!
  • ½ of the tested tennis balls were lead-positive, and tennis balls made exclusively for pets are more likely to contain high levels of lead. Imagine, this is a toy your pet crates in their mouth for long hours at a time.

Brominated flame-retardants, the compound used to make most everything in our homes from clothing to plastic dishes, are actually showing up on the insides of our animals! Cats exposed to this lovely and largely unknown chemical have a 23 times greater chance of developing hyperthyroidism than exposed humans. Those cute plastic dishes etched with pink paws and pet-friendly quotes, they are leaking chemicals being found to disrupt our pet’s hormones and health.

The toxic dyes coating the outside of toys are now known to create seemingly unexplainable mouth ulcers in pets, especially dogs who spend the longest time chewing one toy. Keep in mind, there are no national safety standards for pet toys.

Of course, pets are not the only ones at risk. This same study also looked at children products, finding ½ of all car seats contained levels in chemicals dangerous to the baby’s fragile health. Manufacturers have gotten so distant from the consumer that careless mistakes are being made, the actual safety of the public jeopardized. Even the government is angry, these are big businesses that have the money to be responsible, and therefore it’s up to them to remain accountable and trustworthy. Currently, changes are underway to increase the scrutiny of what goes into consumer products.

So what do we do for now?

1) Buy toys made in USA, are they hard to find? Yes! They are also more expensive but 1 nontoxic toy is better than 5 cheap ones.

2) Purchase good quality stainless steel bowls- preferably made in America where stricter production regulations will keep your pet safer.

3) Before splurging, check to see if those adorable outfits or cute cozy beds have flame-retardants listed on label.

4) Make your own toys, get creative!

Your pet will be safe with these products!


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