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Choosing Safe Dog Toys for Your Dog

Updated on September 21, 2014

There are Plenty of Hidden Dangers in the Dog Toy Aisle, So Be Aware

Dogs are a part of the family, so it's important for dog owners to be selective about the dog toys they buy for their four-legged family members. There are plenty of dog toy hazards lurking out there on the shelves of pet stores, so it's important to be aware of dog toy safety before you go shopping for your pooch.

unsafe dog toy
unsafe dog toy

Plush Dog Toys

What to look for and what to look out for

There are lots of dogs out there who simply refuse to chew on anything other than soft, stuffed animal toys. Hard rubber or plastic dog toys just don't feel good on their teeth, but soft dog toys do and it's fun for them to tug and pull on the soft fabric. The problem is that if you give your dog ordinary stuffed animals they rip and tear much too easily and the stuffing starts coming out. Unfortunately, for some dogs, that's an invitation to snack and soon Fido ends up at the Vet , awaiting surgery to get the stuffing removed. Painful for Fido, costly for you. Or even worse, the ripped toy has stuffing and a sound chip, bell or squeaker inside - just waiting to be ingested. The best way to avoid this situation is to buy your dog soft dog toys that are 1) made specifically for dogs and 2) made to be tough and durable chew toys. One manufacturer in particular has made great efforts to manufacture strong soft chew toys for dogs: Tuffy's (For instance the Tuffy's Mega Ring is their toughest soft chew toy) .

Dog Balls

These can be the most dangerous of all dog toys!

Dogs love chasing, fetching, catching and pouncing on balls - all different shapes, sizes and colors. And while dogs seem to like all sorts of balls, it's up to their owner to make sure the balls they're playing with are safe because, yes, there are dangers in the world of balls too. First, tennis balls. Dogs and tennis balls are a match made in heaven, right? Well, they can be. The problem with regular tennis balls is that the fuzz is bad for dogs' teeth and it eventually wears away the ever-important enamel, leading the way for tooth decay and other problems. Luckily, there are safe tennis balls out there which are much softer on a dog's teeth. One example is the West Paw Jive.

Another problem with balls is that it's important to consider the size of the ball verses the size of your dog's throat. Many dogs have had to be rushed to the Vet in order to dislodge a tennis ball or racquetball from their throat. Be sure to also consider that a large-looking tennis or racquet ball can be compressed to fit into a dog's mouth when it's bitten and then flexes back to it's original size, getting stuck in the dog's mouth in the process. Consider a larger ball like the 4" Vibram K9 ball. It's small enough for medium to large-sized dogs to carry around and chew but large enough that it won't get stuck in their mouth or throat.

Cheap-O Dog Toys

"Step Away From the Dollar Bin"

Those inexpensive rubbery squeak toys you find at dollar stores or in bulk bins - beware. Dog toys like that are well-known to be laden with chemicals that can be toxic to your dog. Also, it's best to stay away from dog toys with any type of paint on the outside. There may be a good chance that the paint contains lead and it won't take much chewing before the paint is ingested by a dog. You can bet these dollar dog toys are made from the absolute cheapest, easiest-to-rip materials which can end up inside your dog's tummy after the toy's all torn to bits. When it comes to dog toys, quality is definitely better (and safer) than a low price. Especially if that low-priced dog toy ends up with Fido having to make an expensive trip to the Vet!

Amazon Recommendations for Safe Dog Toys

Another safe dog toy for your dog to enjoy!

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