Caitlin UltimoHealth / Pet Safety & Injury Prevention

Dog Toy Safety Considerations

We all know how important playtime is to our pets. It gives them much needed exercise and enough mental stimulation to ward off destructive or bad behavior that might be caused by boredom. Dog toys are a fun and essential part of play for your pals. Here’s how to make sure your pets’ favorite playthings are safe for them, too.

While it’s better, of course, that your pet chew his toys rather than your sofa arm or designer shoe, you should still watch out for potential choking hazards like string, plastic wrap, floss, rubber bands and anything lying around the house that your dog might swallow.

Use the following guidelines for picking safe dog toys:

• Choose a safe dog toy that’s appropriate to your dog’s size–too-small balls, for instance, could get lodged in a larger dog’s throat. Fetch toys are usually available in a range of sizes for every size dog.

• Be sure to dog-proof any item your pup has taken a liking to by removing any ribbons, strings, glued-on eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and ingested. Most dog toys won’t often include such items. But, for instance, if your pal just can’t part with a child’s stuffed animal, be sure to remove all possible pet choking hazards to make it a safe dog toy.

• Throw away any toys that begin to tear or break. Your dog could ingest fluff, fabric or other small parts. Some toys come without stuffing for dogs that tend to take pleasure in de-fluffing their toys.

• Supervise any play with a squeaky toy. Your dog probably feels a compulsion to find the source of the squeak and DESTROY it! That often includes eating it.

If you have a multi pet household, know that cats go crazy for enticing cat toys, such as teaser wands with feathers and catnip-filled soft mice that they can hunt. But that doesn’t mean your cat won’t be tempted by a piece of string or ribbon, rubber band or small bits of tape or plastic, too. Be sure to kitty-proof your home by removing these items. If swallowed, string or rubber bands can loop themselves around your cat’s tongue or make their way into your cat’s intestines, causing serious internal damage. And as with dogs, remove any small decorations that your cat could chew off and swallow, and hide toys that could be harmful to your cat until you can supervise her play.

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