Here are our top toy dos and don’ts:
- Be size-wise. Ensure the toys aren’t too small for your dog and that she can’t easily swallow or choke on them. If you have several dogs, base the size of toys you buy on the size of the largest dog.
- Check labels for safety standards. Buy only Bisphenol A-free (BPA-free), phthalate-free and lead-free toys. Since your dog will most likely be chewing on these toys, you don’t want her ingesting dangerous chemicals.
- Buy energetic chewers products made of durable materials such as natural rubber. If you buy a plush toy, stay away from toys with squeakers, or let your pooch play with them only under supervision in case she rips them open.
- Use tennis balls for fetch; dogs love them. But since the fuzz on tennis balls is quite abrasive and can actually cause wear to your dog’s teeth, don’t let her gnaw on it excessively between throws. It’s also a good idea to discard tennis balls as soon as they show signs of being split or punctured.
- Give children’s toys to dogs. For example, dogs might chew off and choke on the eyes and noses of stuffed animals.
- Let your dog chew on toys with string. Thick, knotted ropes are great for a game of tug of war but ingested pieces of string can mess up your dog’s intestinal tract if he/she swallows them.
- Give rawhide treats produced outside of North America, unless they’re guaranteed not to contain unhealthy chemicals and additives. Rawhide can damage your dog’s GI tract if she swallows it so always supervise and throw away any small pieces your dog chews off.
- Leave your dog unattended with a new toy