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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!


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    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Thanks for the hub. I'll definitely be more careful now when buying toys for my pets and will use the tips that you listed.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      great hub!

    • zyztematic profile image

      Damian C 4 years ago from Myrtle Beach, SC

      Hi; my name is Dan Zyztematic they are making post a couple comments.

      This is a huge topic all over the media is airing a national news story on imports this year 2012.

    • TravelinJack profile image

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      So what's the answer? No more doggie toys my wittle guy??!!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      The online pet store "onlynaturalpet" (with the dot-com on the end for the website, of course) stocks several brands of "made in the USA" dog toys.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I just thought of another vendor for "made in the USA" dog toys if your dog likes stuffed toys. It's OliveGreenDog (with dot-com on end for the website). They make stuffed toys reinforced for strength that are cute as well as durable. I got a "tough cat" toy and a fire hydrant for my dog from OliveGreenDog. They have a good selection--no balls, but some of the fabric toys are of the tug variety, I think.

    • Laurie55 profile image

      Laurie 3 years ago from United States

      Oh my I have had to throw away my babies toys as there were to many that were made in China, my one pup doesn't like anything but tennis balls he is a Border Collie and is obsessed with them anyone have any Ideas what I could give him instead of Tennis balls

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