Choosing safe, appropriate toys for your pet can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. It’s like buying toys for a toddler. You have to look out for any potential dangers in every single toy no matter how harmless they may seem. This is how you ensure your pet’s safety.
Pet parents are likely already familiar with such common toys as catnip plushies and stuffed squirrels. These are soft toys that seem perfectly harmless, right? But, even the safest-looking toys may still pose some risk to your pet’s health and safety. That’s why it’s your job to make certain that your pet’s toys are safe. Here are some things to consider next time you head to the pet toy store:
- Stuffing – You can bet that any plush toy you bring home for your dog is eventually going to be torn to pieces, and with that, stuffing can go absolutely everywhere – even your dog’s stomach. Stuffing can be made from cotton, polyester fibers, kapok, plastic beads and more. All of these materials can be harmful to your pet if ingested. Fortunately, you can now get stuffing-free toys for your pets, so they can just tear and rip until their hearts are content. But, even with these, your safest bet is to always get rid of or replace toys once their seams start to open.
- Edges & Pointy Parts – Cats love to chase soft, stuffed toys that dangle from strings off wands. They’re great to play with so long as you are the one controlling the wand motions. But, you have to watch out for the stick ends of these toys when left alone, as these pointier ends can pose a risk to your unsupervised pet. They can easily throw them up in the air or jump on the pointy ends and hurt themselves.
- String – Toys made from or that involve some form of string (e.g. yarn, balls of wool, tinsel, etc.) can also be potentially hazardous to your pet. A pet can easily choke on pieces of string or get wrapped up in it to the point of airways being cut off. If string is ingested it can even pose life-threatening problems to the intestines, a medical emergency.
- Tiny Parts – Toys that come with smaller parts, like eyes and noses, also have the potential to become choking hazards. These parts are often just glued on, so it’s very easy for your pet to get ahold of them.
- Paint and Dye – Over the past several years, news of recalls has come out over children’s toys containing lead, cobalt, mercury and cadmium in the paints used to decorate them. While not as prevalent, these same paints and dyes can be of concern when it comes to your pet’s chew toys. Your safest bet is to choose toys that only use food-grade dyes or avoid painted toys altogether.
When it comes to keeping your pet safe, you have to think of it in the same way that you would keep a child safe. Check all toys carefully, and decide which are appropriate for supervised and unsupervised play. Remember, your pet can’t judge which toys are and aren’t in their best interest, so make the easy decision for them.