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If you have a dog who loves toys, you know how important those objects can become. Toys serve many purposes in your dog’s life, helping them fight boredom, comforting them when they’re nervous, and sometimes even preventing problem behaviors. It’s important, then that dog owners choose toys that are safe and smart. Swallowing parts of all of toys or other objects is a leading cause of intestinal surgery in pets.

Why smart? Sometimes well-meaning people buy their dogs toys that resemble objects they don’t actually want their dogs to chew. If it looks like your child’s stuffed animal, your toothbrush, or your shoe, it’s ill-advised to give your dog permission to play with it. It’s also a good idea to rotate toys in and out of your dog’s world, letting the favorite comfort toy stay out all the time, and keeping a few different types accessible without overwhelming your dog with too many toys. Choose toys that serve a variety of purposes, and toys that involve interacting with you: this is an important part of bonding with your pet.

Now that we’ve covered smart, let’s move on to guidelines for choosing safe toys.

  • Choose indestructibility. Skip soft rubber toys that can be easily destroyed in favor of hard nylon or rubber toys that stand up to chewing. If a toy has a squeaker or bell, supervise your dog closely to make sure he doesn’t extricate and swallow the noisemaker. If the toy has a rope, make sure the rope remains undamaged.
  • Mind the damage. Especially with stuffed toys, it’s easy for dogs to rip them and spread stuffing throughout your house. Far worse is when the dog eats that stuffing; stuffing in the abdomen can mean an expensive trip to the vet. Throw away and replace damaged toys.
  • Reconsider rawhide. Dogs love rawhide and can spend hours gnawing it. Unfortunately, some rawhide is preserved with formaldehyde, it’s often a byproduct of the fur trade, and it sometimes causes choking or illness. If you buy rawhide, choose pressed chews that break easily into small pieces. Avoid rawhide products made in China.
  • Be aware of toxins. Cheap pet toys often contain toxins like lead, PVC, phthalates, BPA, chromium, melamine, arsenic, and bromine. That’s why it’s important to stick to brand name toys from reputable companies and toys made in the United States. Additionally, keep an eye on the FDA’s list of pet products that have been recalled.

At Reed Animal Hospital, we treat your pets as if they were our own. Our goal is to help you and your pet enjoy a healthy, fulfilling life together, so our extraordinary team offers a wide range of services. We’ve got veterinarians, technicians, assistants, and receptionists, all prepared to help you and your pet, and we even offer referrals to specialty surgeons, many of whom will travel to our office to consult with your pet. For more information or to make an appointment, call us in Campbell at 408-369-1788, or in Saratoga at 408-647-2906, or contact us through our website.