Dog and Cat Toys: How to Pick the Best and Safest (Pt. 1 of 2)
For dogs, cats, and ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity. If you don’t provide safe toys of your choice, your pets will find objects in your house to play with that may be your expensive items, or even worse, dangerous to their health. Cats and rabbits can be pretty picky about which toys they prefer, but dogs and ferrets are willing to play with any items they can get their paws or teeth on. This means that especially for dogs, you’ll have to monitor their playtime to prevent access to any household furnishings, electrical items, etc. that are off limits. Also the things that are most attractive to dogs often have our scent on them so dog-proofing also means paying special attention to items like phones, eye glasses, remotes, keys, jewelry, underwear, socks, dishcloths, wallets, gloves, children’s toys, etc.
Toys help fight boredom during those long hours of your absence. They may provide comfort and can sometimes help prevent some behavioral problems from developing.
Many factors contribute to the safety or danger of a toy, and a number of them depend upon your dog’s size, activity level, bite force, and preferences. Another factor to be considered is the environment in which your dog spends it’s free time. Although there can be no guarantees for the safety of any specific toy, I can offer the following Guidelines.
1.) Toys should be appropriate to your dog’s size. Balls are favorite playthings, but you have to be sure that the size of the ball or other chew toy is too large to try to swallow or to become lodged in the larynx.
2.) Avoid or alter other dog toys that don’t seem to be dog-proof by removing ribbons, loose strings, eyes, or other parts that could be chewed off and / or ingested. DISCARD toys that start to break into pieces, or loose their stuffing. Many clients have told me that Kong brand toys which advertise as being “indestructible” have been fragmented by their strong jawed dogs.
3.) Take note of any dog toy with a squeaker buried within. Your dog may try to seek and destroy the source of the squeak and many dogs have ingested the squeaker. Supervise your dog’s play with squeaker toys, and if they become frayed, either repair of replace.
4.) If not specifically a pet toy, check the label for child safety warnings. Look for stuffed toys safe for kids under three years that don’t contain dangerous fillings. Problem fillings include nutshells and polystyrene beads, but even safe polyester stuffing can be a problem if ingested in quantity.
5.) Rawhide Guidelines : Rawhide can be safe and an effective anti-boredom and tooth cleaning device. Some dogs can really chew up rawhide much faster than the owner expects. If it is a “knotted bone” shape, be observant of when the ends are gone and the center piece becomes small. Some dogs will try to swallow it whole or it can even become a choking hazard. Read packaging for rawhides made in the US, as some from foreign countries come from hides treated with potentially harmful chemicals. The square, flat pieces of rawhide seem to present less of a hazard.
FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL PET DENTAL HEALTH MONTH. TO CELEBRATE, OUR WINTER DENTAL DISCOUNT OF 10% WILL EXTEND THROUGH FEBRUARY.
TO BETTER ASSESS THE HEALTH OF YOUR PETS’ TEETH WE NOW HAVE DIGITAL DENTAL X-RAY EQUIPMENT. THIS ALLOWS US TO SEE HIDDEN PERIODONTAL DISEASE SURROUNDING THE TOOTH ROOTS SO THAT ACTION CAN BE TAKEN TO JUDICIOUSLY SUGGEST TREATMENT OR EXTRACTION SINCE OUR PETS CAN’T TELL US WHERE IT HURTS THEM.
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