Safe Toys for Dogs

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Safe Toys for Dogs

by Richard G M Taylor

Why do dogs need toys? Well this is a good question and there is no simple answer. Dogs are like children or at least many owners treat their dogs like children. So for the same reason parents buy toys for their children, so do dog owners buy toys for their dogs.

There are many toys for owners to choose for their dogs. Choosing toys that are safe relies on a number of considerations which I cover briefly in this article.

First of all what do we mean by toys for dogs. Basically they fit into two categories. Special toys you can buy from a pet shop or other similar retail outlet. Household items or objects found in your garden or local park. Let?s take these in that order.

Special Dog Toys

Although you can buy toys for your dog in a shop that does not mean that they are all safe for your particular dog. Also you should realise that toys you can buy for dogs do not have to meet the same stringent safety standards imposed on the manufacturers and retailer as required for children?s toys.

Dogs of any age are like children at a young age and cannot distinguish between a safe toy and one that can cause harm. Of course Dogs can be trained to avoid toys that can be harmful but that really only applies to household items or objects used as toys which I cover in the second category. It is really up to the dog owner to choose toys that are safe for their particular dog.

So what criteria should dogs owners look for when choosing a safe toy for their dog. Well of course the toy has to be fun because that is the primary objective of a toy. Then it has to be practical in that the toy needs to be durable - it needs to be capable of quite a lot of abuse from your dog and you want it to last for a while. Finally it has to be safe and what is safe for one dog may not be safe for another.

Most dogs like to chew almost anything that comes near them, particularly when they are a puppy. So a soft cuddly toy which squeaks may be safe when bitten by a small Chiwawa but can be harmful and certainly not durable when chewed buy a Great Dane. Plastic toys can break up and cause harmful splinters for a dog with a powerful jaw. Anything that is small enough to be swallowed by your dog is potentially harmful. Choosing a toy of the right size for your dog is very important. Much of this is common sense to the majority of sensible dog owners and if in doubt about a toy then ask the shop attendant before you buy. Chew Bones are very popular and are safe provided they are not small enough to get stuck in the dog?s mouth and provided they are not made from a brittle material. Hard rubber toys are usually a good choice. Kongs are probably the best toy ever invented and come in a variety of sizes to suit any dog. So lets move on to the next category.

Household Items or Objects used as Toys

Well the list here would be endless so I will talk only about the type of household item or object that can be found around the house, garden, local park and anywhere you are likely to take your dog. Vigilance and common sense by the dog owner is very important particularly with young puppies that have yet to be trained.

Avoid allowing your dog to chew or bite on anything that can be harmful. Items such as string, shoe laces, cord of any kind (especially electrical), discarded socks etc etc. All of these things can be swallowed and/or trapped in your dog?s throat. Anything that is likely to break into small pieces when chewed or bitten must be avoided.

Whilst a dog owner can usually control what happens within the confines of the house and garden, it becomes much more difficult in the park, in the field or down by the local pond. This is where vigilance by the dog owner is so important. When out in the open, most dog owners like to play 'fetch' with their dogs and the choice of object used as a toy in this type of game is similar to the criteria used when buying a safe toy from a shop. Twigs and small branches are usually ok provided they cannot be broken or splintered too easily. Tennis balls are used as very popular toys for dogs as many are other types of ball. The main criteria here is to ensure the ball cannot be swallowed or become stuck in the mouth or throat of larger dogs.

In summary, when choosing a safe toy or object for your dog to play with it really comes down to just plain common sense.

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