Safe and Unsafe Dog Toys

Looking for toys for our dogs can be fun, but be careful what you choose to buy for him. Buy the right size of toy for the size of your dog. Although no guarantees can be made for your dogs excitement or safety with any specific toy, the following guidelines are offered.

Unsafe Toys

· Unless you can safely remove these, avoid toys with parts on it that your dog could swallow or that could get caught in the dogs mouth or throat, like: price tags, ribbons, stables or strings.

· Don't buy toys that have pieces that could be chewed off and eaten.

· Stuffed animals can be dangerous for your dog. The eyes can be chewed off and swallowed and the stuffing is dangerous for the dog if eaten.

· Don't buy small toys or small balls, for large dogs. Too small of toys could get struck in the dogs throat causing breathing problems and could even lead to the death your dog.

· For large dogs, don't give them the little soft rubber toys. This type of toy will last my German shepherd about 30 seconds before he has it in pieces. Not worth it for me to buy him one of these and especially not worth the risk that he would eat any piece of it before I could get it away from him. These should be okay for a small dog.

· Don't buy toys that have polystyrene beads or nutshells for their filling.

· Watch too, for toys that have a squeaker in it. It sounds great to the dog, but watch for any breaks in the toy where the squeaker is located. You don't want the dog swallow that.

· In my opinion, rawhide bones should not be given to dogs, unless supervised. When they chewed on them, they become soaked and start to stretch out. These soaked slimy pieces can slip down their throat and they could choke on it. Others like, hooves and pig's ears should also be with supervision.

Safe Toys

Now here are a few toys that are "safer" than others.

· Buy hard rubber toys for your dog, especially for large breeds as they have a lot of 'chew power' in their jaws. Toys like 'Kong' toys are very good. These come in all sizes so both small or large dogs can safely play with these. Nylabone type products are good, if they like them. (Mine don't.)

· Tennis balls may be good for the medium size dogs, but not large breeds in my opinion. I had a German shepherd once that was playing with one; he turned his head up and it slipped to the back of the throat and got caught. I almost lost him.

· The "rope" toys are good. Just be careful with the ones that have the strings at the ends. They are good to help clean between the dogs teeth, but you don't want them to chew off and swallow any of it.

· I also buy a product called "Air Dog" toys. These toys come in different shapes, and are wrapped in the tennis ball material. My Zeus likes the large bone shaped toy the best and his father, Dancer, likes the football shaped toy. These are larger than the tennis balls, but they do not get these unless I'm right there to supervise them and when it gets torn, it goes in the garbage.

Rotate the toys

Most dogs get bored with the same toy, so rotate the toys they play with about once a week or so. Have 4-5 toys out for him to play with, but if they have a favorite toy, always keep it out. Zeus won't play with any toy but his one favorite, whereas our old guy Jerry, will go to his toy box and root through it to find the toy he wants to play with that day and will run the length of the house and back again about 3 - 4 times. Then he's tired and lies down with the toy and takes a nap.

Until you know what your dog is capable of, supervise! Giving your dogs safe toys to play with and supervising are just two ways to watch out for their welfare.

Betsy Reinier has had dogs all her life. Her main goal is keeping dogs healthy, happy, safe and very spoiled. For more information, check out and sign up for our free newsletter at where we care about the health and welfare of dogs.
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