Leon_iStock_000027731191_Large (1)It’s safe to say that most dogs love a good toy. Whether they’re playing with you or keeping themselves occupied, dogs love to tug, squeak, chew, fetch, and cuddle their favorite play things. Not only do good dog toys serve to keep your pet active, but they can serve as a wonderful alternative to treats when it comes to rewards for good behavior and devoted companionship.

Safety, however, should be a special consideration when selecting dog toys for your furry friend. After all, the last thing we would want to do is give our BFF (Best Furry Friend) something that would make them sick or worse.

So how do you know if you’re barking up the wrong (or right) tree when it comes to dog toys? …Let’s find out!

Dog Toys Best for Social, Supervised Play

Playtime can be fun for everyone. The social interaction of play offers a great bonding experience for all involved, and it offers some much-needed exercise for our furry friends (and us, in some instances).

  • Tennis Balls – Under supervision, tennis balls used in a game of fetch can truly be a healthy and beneficial activity. Tennis balls do offer some minor dangers when it comes to foreign object obstruction if the ball or its green fuzzy exterior is chewed up and eaten, but under supervision are a great interactive toy.
  • Knotted Ropes – A major concern for the knotted rope dog is foreign object obstruction (if pieces are swallowed), as well as the dies used, and other chemicals used in the rope’s manufacturing. Oils and preservatives are often applied to conventional rope (found in a hardware store, for example), so they should be avoided. A dog-specific, all cotton rope, without dyes and chemicals is best, especially if it is made in the USA.
  • Frisbees – Use only non-toxic and specifically declared pet-safe frisbees. Soft fabric discs might be a great starter disc, since the design also lends itself to tug-o-war. Taking special care in selecting discs is important, as fast flying, heavy discs can cause injuries to your dog’s’ teeth upon an incidental impact.

More to Consider…

One of the many benefits of dog toys is the ability to entertain your dog while you are unavailable. Often used while unsupervised, chew toys, increase the risk for your dog in consequence to their using it solitarily.

  • Stuffed-animals – A stuffed / soft toy can be a great option as they hold scents, which can aid in separation anxiety if you are away. The texture and softness can protect your dog’s mouth while they chew or tear it apart. Some special considerations for dog toys safety in this regard might include “dog-proofing” them by removing any extraneous objects such as ribbons, eyes, and hard plastic items that your dog could dissect and ingest.
  • Nylon “Bones” – Dog chews or “bones” made of nylon, or in conjunction with nylon, offer a durable chew toy. These toys are fairly safe, with one caveat; they need to be replaced or removed before they become small enough to be accidentally swallowed.
  • Rawhide/ Animal Hides – These can be a great treat for your puppy, but this particular option does pose a choking hazard, and is best used under direct supervision. It’s also important to know the source of these chews, as they are not created equal may contain ingredients that are harmful to your pet’s wellbeing.

All Work and No Play

Having a happy pup is important to every dog owner (we hope!), and providing your pet with healthy and engaging dog toys is an important part of meeting that goal. Don’t let your dog’s life get too serious. Play is not only fun for our pets, but it serves to keep them healthy and mentally stimulated. After all, a bored dog is a dog that chews shoes and has other behavioral issues.

Try and make play part of your relationship with your pet, and as always, your team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is here to answer any questions you may have.