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Dog Toys : The Potential Dangers to Your Pets Health

Updated on March 12, 2015

One of the oldest known toys for dogs is an all natural toy created by mother nature herself. But this toy can also be one of the most dangerous to a dogs health and well being. The stick. Our Golden Retriever " Emma " was a big fan of sticks and anything else she could fit into her mouth. But we learned the hard way what a common stick can do if handled badly by a dog.

My wife had taken Emma out for a walk at one of our local parks while I was working. There was one area at this particular park where we could let our dogs play off leash. Emma found a small stick , maybe 18 to 20 inches in length and wanted to play fetch. My wife began throwing the stick and Emma would run , grab the stick and retrieve it. If you've ever noticed , when a dog runs with something in their mouth , their head sometimes tends to bob up and down as they run.

About the third time Emma was bringing the stick back to my wife , one end of the stick caught the ground and shoved the other end straight up into the roof of Emma's mouth. The stick went very deep. Emma began shaking her head and yipping , trying to remove the stick . My wife panicked. There was no one around to help and there was blood everywhere.

She sped with Emma to our veterinarian as fast as she could. After a quick examination , it was determined that Emma would have to undergo emergency surgery to repair the damage that had been done by the stick. After it was over , the vet said the stick came within a sixteenth of an inch from piercing the sinus cavity and doing permanent damage.

Since that day , we no longer allow any of our pets to play with sticks. We train them at a very young age that it is bad to pick up sticks and run with them. Emma was alright after her surgery but there was no more stick play.

We have found over the years that other dog toys can present hazards as well. For example,.. balls that are sold as dog toys. I don't allow our dogs to play with balls that are smooth coated or small in size. The smooth coating can present a problem after it has been covered in the dogs saliva , making it too easy to slide down the throat.

I especially don't give my pets golf balls or any type of ball that small. It's just too much of a choking hazard. Actually , the only type of ball I get for my dogs are tennis balls. They are just the right size to prevent choking and the course outer skin helps to keep it from sliding down the dogs throat. If you have a very large breed of dog , I would suggest purchasing the large size tennis ball for them.

Another choking hazard is bones. Never ever give a dg or pup chicken or rib bones. Actually no type of poultry bones are acceptable for a dog to chew. In addition to a choking hazard , the bones can splinter and get caught in the intestines or cause a bowel blockage. I always buy knuckle bones for my dogs and I buy them from a reputable pet store where I know the bones are already pre-prepared for dog safety.

Plastic toys such as squeaky toys and those shaped like hamburgers and hot dogs can be a problem for certain dogs. If your dog is the type that is not satisfied to just play with the toy , but feels he or she has to chew it , you're probably better off to stop buying them. Plastic pieces are just as dangerous as slivers of bone , causing possible bowel obstructions and other damage.

I know that rawhide has been around for a long time , and a long time favorite of pet owners , but unfortunately rawhide can present a danger as well. If you are going to buy rawhide chews for your pet , make sure it is size and age appropriate. Another thing to remember is to make sure the rawhide chews you buy are not from overseas. Some pet supply companies over seas use chemicals as a preservative on the dogs chews they manufacture.

If you buy your pet rawhide , make sure it is taken away from your pet after it has been chewed down enough to fit inside your dogs mouth to prevent choking. We stopped giving our dogs rawhide chews and toys a long time ago. Depending on the size and breed of your dog , cloth toys can also present a risk.

I know it seems that I'm coming down on the old time favorites of the dog toy world , but I just want to pass along to others what I have learned by experience. If in doubt about the kind of toys your dog should and shouldn't have , consult your veterinarian about it. Most vets will gladly give you some alternative ideas on toys for your pet.

Many people I know who are non pet owners think that I am too particular on the toys and even the food that we buy for our dogs. But I believe you have to be particular if you're going to give your pet a long and happy life. They bring us so much joy and companionship. We owe it to them to give them the best we possibly can.


Emma

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Beau : Playing with a tennis ball.

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