Many factors contribute to the safety or danger of a toy, and a number of them depend upon your dog’s size, activity level and preferences. Another thing to considerris the environment where your dog spends their time. Although we can’t guarantee the safety of any specific toy, we can offer the following guidelines.
The things that are usually most attractive to dogs are often the very things that are the most dangerous. Dog-proof your home by removing string, ribbon, rubber bands, children’s toys, pantyhose and anything else that could be swallowed.
Be sure to buy toys of appropriate size for your dog. Toys that are too small can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s throat.
Supervise your dog’s play with squeaky toys: your dog may feel that they must find and destroy the source of the squeaking, which means they could ingest it if left unwatched..
Avoid or alter any toys that aren’t “dog-proof” by removing ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and/or ingested. Discard toys that start to break into pieces or are torn. Check labels on stuffed toys to see that they are labeled as safe for children under three years of age and that they don’t contain any dangerous fillings. Problem fillings include nutshells and polystyrene beads, but even “safe” stuffings aren’t truly digestible. Remember that soft toys are not indestructible, but some are sturdier than others. Soft toys should be machine washable.
If you’re thinking about giving your dog rawhide chew toys, be sure to check with your veterinarian about which ones are safe and appropriate for your dog. These toys may pose choking hazards, so give them to your dog only when you can supervise them.
Many rawhides are byproducts of the cruel international fur trade. For a humane alternative, consider toys made of very hard rubber, which are safer and last longer.