I came across this wonderful blog post discussing all the ins and outs of Choosing Safe Dog Toys at TheBark.com. Its author, Sheila Pell, goes into great detail about the facts and myths surrounding the quality of purchases from China. She points out that just because a dog toy is made in the United States, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safer.
The article discusses the physical and choking hazards some dog toys present, including a horrible story about a dog choking to death in front of its owner on a tennis ball and another story about a dog getting its tongue trapped in a hole inside a toy, eventually requiring amputation of the tongue.
Dyes, preservatives and chemicals in and on toys may also pose certain dangers. The article points out that many toys have tested positive for containing dangerous heavy metals such as lead and chromium. Dogs don’t have the USDA, FDA or FTC looking out for them like we do, and the dog toy industry is the Wild West when it comes to safety.
Things to watch out for include heavy chemical smells on toys that indicate residual chemicals, bright dyes, and toys treated with fire retardants and stain guards.
The article goes into further discussion about each of these key takeaway tips:
- Avoid balls with single air holes, which can create a deadly suction trap; sticks and stones; heavily dyed toys; toys treated with fire retardants or stain guard; soft plastics.
- Supervise play.
- Choose toys to fit your dog’s size and avoid those he can work to the back of his mouth.
- Select toys that match your dog’s play style.
- Keep a variety of toy types on hand; rotate to spark your dog’s interest.
- Don’t use toys as a substitute for interaction.
I urge everyone to read the article in full and learn from its wisdom. We love our babies way too much to introduce dangerous toys into their lives.
Thankfully, there is good news! The article ends in a listing of top-notch brands who produce quality, safe dog toys. These include:
- Go Dog
- Kong Company
- Nina Ottosson Zoo Active
- Planet Dog
- West Paw Design
We feature reviews on several toys from these brands including:
In the future, I will aim to write reviews about toys from the other safe companies listed. In the meantime, choose wisely and stay safe!