Choosing the best dog toys and non-toxic safe chew toys can be challenging. Currently, there are no standards set in place with regards to the safety of pet toys. This is why you have to educate yourself on how to evaluate the toxicity of a dog toy, what materials to avoid, and best practices for picking, introducing toys to your dog, and replacing them when they go bad.
In this post we will discuss the 10 most important factors in picking the safest, non-toxic pet toys for your dog.
We also want you to be ready to give your dog the best toy experience, so that they can thrive and grow to be the best dog they can ever be.
The well-being of your dog should be your first priority
You may not know this, but there are no current standards for making pet toys.
In a previous post on the top 10 best toys for your puppy, we talked about what materials to avoid (i.e. pet toys made with vinyl, soft plastic, products made with BPA or toys improvised from fruit pits).
When choosing a teething or chew toy for your puppy, make sure it is made of safe material and nothing toxic like polyvinyl chloride, vinyl plastic, soft plastic that can separate and be mistakenly ingested, BPA, and Phthalates (according to research published by Chemical Watch, BPA can possibly linked to cancer in rodents).
We prefer playing it safe than sorry. For this reason we will not recommend any products that have any of these dangerous materials, even when there are a lot of toys being sold on the market today that contain these chemicals, and even if so many other people recommend them.
We care more about the well-being of your dog, not to mention that there are plenty of other toys that will do the trick.
We will continue to tweak our lists the moment we know of any dangerous materials in any of the dog toys that we recommend.
Avoid these chemicals when choosing safe chew toys for dogs
According to American Pet Products Association (APPA) there are over 77 million pet dogs that live in the United States. Parents of pet dogs spent an average of $47 per year on toys in 2015, and the amount of spending dollars is increasing with time.
As a consumer on behalf of your puppy or dog, you want to make sure to keep an eye open on any potential damage or harm a new toy may bring to your puppy. This is because there’s a dramatic need to continue testing pet products to ensure that they are safe.
Dogs are very intelligent and curious and they will want to explore anything and everything. They might think your designer Nike shoes or Gucci bag are great toys. They will chew them and even attempt to eat them.
Although your dog may play with anything and everything, it doesn’t mean you want to part away with your hard earned money. It also means that you don’t want your dog to get sick eating or chewing on the wrong things.
In order to be prepared for the teething and chewing needs of your growing dog, as well as other functions such as fending off loneliness and mouth hygiene, you want to invest in safe toys, especially non toxic chew toys that can be replaced or interchanged.
You should never buy a soft plastic toy for your dog or pup because it may be toxic if chewed or digested by mistake. Hard plastic that is free of BPA or free of Phthalates is a better option as these soft chemicals are used to make plastic more elastic and can interfere with reproductive systems. Also, avoid anything made of polyvinyl chloride and vinyl plastic (what makes plastic very soft and easily breakable).
The 10 golden rules for picking nontoxic safe dog toys
The reason we’re concentrating on dog and puppy toys is because these animals like to chew toys and teeth on toys. They literally will put anything in their mouths leaving them open to more injuries than many other pets, such as cats or birds. The same should apply to all other pets.
Here are the top 10 rules to giving your puppy or dog the best toy experience.
- 1. Don’t buy any dog toys that can break easily. Make sure that you purchase safe toys that are hard to break. Don’t choose any jagged or sharp edges. Toys that break easily may choke your dog.
- 2. Avoid chemically toxic products especially for dog chew toys. Get educated on what constitutes a toxic toy for your pet. One example is soft plastic.
Avoid toys made from fruit pits, or made from regular household materials, with the exception of a sock and a safe dog ball inside it, tied in a knot.
- 3. Size matters. Get a chew toy that is appropriate for the size of your puppy. Don’t buy small chew toys for large dogs and vice versa. large dogs can choke on small chew dogs. Chew toys that are designed for a Great Dane should not be given to a Chihuahua.
- 4. Stock up on your dog’s favorite toys. You may want to buy two of your dog’s favorite toy at one time, such as a ball, the Frisbee, or the favorite squeaky toy… Stowe one away just in case the first one gets destroyed from over usage.
- 5. Less is more. You can buy all the toys at once, but introduce new toys slowly but surely and not all at the same time. Giving your puppy ll the possible toys in the world will get them bored and disengage. You want to keep them challenged.
- 6. Get a rubber toy or two. Rubber toys are great options for your puppy. The safest chew toys for dogs should be well-made, durable, and can withstand a lot of chewing. They will be great (and necessary) for the gum health of your puppy. They will promote good oral health by promoting teeth, jaws, gum, and overall mouth health. All while giving the puppy what it needs. It can also serve as a way to keep your dog busy if they have an oral fixation and a gnawing and distressing problem.
- 7. Get a squeaky toy or two. Squeaky toys are wonderfully entertaining for your dog, and all dogs love them. Just make sure to get a good quality squeaky toy, because you know exactly what your puppy is going to try and do. You got it: Seek and destroy. You don’t want your dog to swallow the material inside the squeaking toy (the stuffing, or the squeaker). That could become stuck in the intestines or the throat of your puppy, creating problems and hassles.
- 8. Do not use your own untested and unsafe creations of toys. This includes giving your dog any fruit pits or any eatable items with hard shells. Many veterinarians tell horror stories of dogs swallowing avocado pits and having to get operated on because the owner was playing ball with their dog using these items. Make sure these hard to digest pits are out of the reach of your dog.
- 9. Don’t buy toys with very small parts for your breed. Toys should be size appropriate. Too many small parts may result in choking hazards, so always evaluate the size of the parts inside the toy. Make sure eyes, noses on toys are not loose and not small enough to be easily digested by your puppy.
- 10: When edible parts are involved. It is OK to buy toys with edible parts, but make sure digestible products are made in the USA and given under supervision. Just make sure to watch your puppy or dog as they play with that toy and attempt to eat its parts. Too big a chunk may choke your dog.
Dogs love the challenge of playing and running around and they will play back with you when you give them a bit of your time. When picking the right toys for your puppy or your dog, you have to take into consideration safety, non-toxicity, and the function of the toy.
It’s not enough to just buy toys that your pooch just plays with. They need an overall well-being approach to using toys, including teething, chewing, snuggling, loving, mouth-cleaning, and hydrating. The list goes on and you can read up more on choosing the best toys for your dog that will help with mind, body, and spirit.
Buy a variety of toys for your pooch, but introduce them slowly so that your dog does not get bored easily.
Most importantly, make sure you choose the best quality pet toys. Anything edible should be made from a source you trust.