The world of pet products is full of surprises. There is so much to choose from. Dog toys are a trend, just as exciting as it can be frustrating for pet parents. Novel dog toys have gained much attention. Most pet owners look for toys to keep their pets engaged and entertained. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, dog toys amuse your fur baby, and some pets spend hours exploring their toys. Indeed, thanks to the kind of variety on offer, it is easy to provide your furry baby with enrichment toys that cover every aspect of their healthy development.
On the flip side, with so many options, how reliably can a pet parent separate the hazardous pet toys from the safe ones? They may also wonder if popular and traditional toys for dogs, such as squeakers and rope tugs are unsafe dog toys or not.
Do they carry any risk for the apples of their eyes? Being able to play is significant for a dog to be happy and healthy in every sense of the word, and this is where you tend to look to the experts for answers. Based on the information you get, you can understand what are unsafe dog toys and what makes them as bad as they are for dogs. It is significant to understand how you – a dog parent – can mitigate the risks and find the safest toys for your pups.
Understand toy safety standards
As a responsible pet parent, you should understand dog toy safety standards and make sure your furball is not playing with unsafe dog toys during playtime.
Importance of dog toy safety standards
Dog toy safety standards play the role of guidelines established to guarantee that toys produced for dogs to play with are safe for them. These standards aim to reduce risks related to potential hazards such as toxicity, choking, and injuries from toys designed poorly.
ASTM International Standards
ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) has stated specific safety standards that help us distinguish between safe and unsafe dog toys. In general, the ASTM F963 is supposed to be a detailed safety standard for toys, and it includes guidelines for key areas in this regard, such as materials, toxicity, and mechanical properties. It outlines specifications to ensure that toys adhere to specific safety criteria such as non-toxicity, durability, and the absence of small parts that might pose choking hazards, thus doing away with unsafe dog toys to a significant extent.
Materials and chemicals regulations
Safety standards for dog toys focus on the chemicals and materials used to produce them. These standards forbid the usage of harmful substances like BPA (Bisphenol A), lead, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals that could be harmful when ingested by dogs. Toys, complying with these regulations are labeled by authorities as non-toxic and, thus, are deemed safe for pets.
Choking hazard prevention
Choking hazards are a major part of dog toy safety standards. Unsafe dog toys will never meet size requirements so dogs cannot swallow them or choke on small parts. Buy your dog toys made from sturdy materials so they do not break easily. This is essential to make sure that there are no choking incidents because of accidental ingestion.
Durability and strength requirements
These standards also deal with how strong and durable these toys are. If a dog toy is constructed properly, the likelihood of it breaking into sharp and small pieces, which could harm your dog, is lesser. These days, makers of dog toys perform rigorous tests to ensure that their products can deal with chewing, rough play, and tugging, thus limiting the number of unsafe dog toys out there.
Certification and compliance
Ethical and dutiful dog toy manufacturers make sure that they adhere to these safety standards and undergo the necessary certification processes to get validation for their compliance. So, when you buy from them, you can be sure you are not getting unsafe dog toys. Also, always look for toys carrying labels or certification marks that indicate adherence to the stipulated safety standards established by regulatory bodies or recognized organizations, such as CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Which toxic materials to avoid?
If you want your dog to be safe during playtime, it means you have to be aware of materials that can be potentially harmful to them.
Phthalates are chemicals often used to make plastics softer and more flexible. You can be sure they will be there in unsafe dog toys made from materials, such as soft plastic and vinyl. If your dog is exposed for a long time to phthalates, they might suffer health issues such as hormonal disruptions, organ damage, and reproductive problems.
This is another chemical found in plastics, and its primary function is to make them hard. It might leach into your dog’s system because of exposure to such toys or prolonged chewing. Do not buy unsafe dog toys that contain BPA because it can result in serious health issues such as certain cancers and hormonal imbalances.
Read Also: 12 Funny Dogs Posing With Their Chew Toys
Lead and heavy metals
Toys, at times also have heavy metals such as lead, and this is especially true for the ones imported from countries with relaxed rules and regulations in this context. If your dog ingests lead, it might cause them to suffer from neurological issues, organ damage, and digestive issues.
Some dog toys might contain formaldehyde, a chemical used to make several materials. If your dog ingests the material or is exposed to it for sufficient time, they will suffer from respiratory problems and irritation at the very least. This may also manifest as more critical health issues.
Know unsafe toy designs and features
If you want to make sure you are not buying unsafe dog toys, you should know what constitutes the opposite – it must be your top priority.
Small parts and detachable components
Toys that contain detachable components or small parts might pose choking hazards for dogs. If your dog’s toys have bits, they can chew off and swallow, they are unsafe dog toys – there can be no two ways about that.
Soft and plush toys with loose fillings
Plush or soft toys containing loose fillings such as beads or stuffing might come across as cozy, but they are indeed dangerous and, thus, unsafe dog toys. If your dog is an aggressive chewer,
they may tear apart these toys and ingest the filling material.
Thin and easily breakable materials
Toys made using flimsy and thin materials might come apart when your dog is playing vigorously with them. This creates splinters and sharp edges that can injure the throat, mouth, and digestive tract of your dog. This is why, you should always go for toys made using durable materials that are not as prone to breaking into sharp pieces.
Rope toys and frayed ends
Dog parents like rope toys because they allow them to interact with their fur babies, but frayed ends are risky. Loose strands can unravel and when your dog swallows them, it can lead to intestinal blockage.
Squeakers and noise-making components
Dogs are indeed entertained by squeaky toys. if your dog ingests the squeakers, it can be dangerous for them. Your dog might attempt to do away with the squeaker and swallow it. This can lead to digestive issues and choking hazards.
The importance of size and durability
If you do not want to end up selecting unsafe dog toys, make sure that entertainment is not the only thing you are looking for when buying toys for them.
Importance of size in dog toys
You must choose dog toys of the right size so that you can stop choking hazards before they even happen. Small toys as well as ones with detachable parts are unsafe dog toys simply because they pose the risk of ingestion. This is especially true of the larger breeds who might swallow them by accident.
Considerations for durability
Durability does play an important role in selecting toys for dogs and this is especially true for ones who happen to be energetic individuals and avid chewers. If the toys are made from sturdy materials they will be able to deal with chewing and vigorous play thus lowering the risk of breakage that might lead to your dog ingesting small and sharp pieces.
Safety aspects of size and durability
When you buy toys that are too small for your dog’s size you are getting them unsafe dog toys. This is because they will break apart easily, and lead to digestive issues or choking hazards when your dog ingests them. On the other hand, if they are too heavy or big for them they may get injured by the same. This is especially so when they toss those toys around while playing with them.
Finding the right balance
This is why when you are selecting toys for dogs choose ones that have been designed keeping in mind the size of the breed that they belong to – keep their play preferences in mind as well. Go for toys made using robust materials such as natural rubber, sturdy fabrics, and tough nylon.
Tips and alternatives for safe dog toy selection
If you do not want to buy unsafe dog toys for your fur baby, there are a few tips that you need to know and keep in mind.
Opt for size-appropriate toys
Always choose toys that are the right size for your dog so that there is no question of any choking hazard. If you have a bigger dog they may need larger and sturdier toys. If you have a smaller breed it is better to go with smaller and softer options.
Choose durable materials
Always select toys that are made from durable materials like rubber, tough fabrics, and nylon as they do not break easily and can deal with rough play. You can be sure that such products would not be unsafe dog toys.
Avoid toxic materials
Make sure that you read the labels of dog toys for the presence of harmful materials such as BPA, lead, phthalates, and formaldehyde so that you do not buy unsafe dog toys. Only buy toys that are labeled as non-toxic and are safe for pets.
Consider your dog’s play style
Always observe the playing habits of your dog. Their playing habits tend to vary from one another. If you are good at judging, it can help make the right choices of toys for your pet. Keep them in mind while buying their toys from the market. Some dogs like to play fetch a lot while others prefer interactive or chewy toys as those amuse them. It makes complete sense to go for toys that are in line with the play preferences of your dog to ensure the right purchase.
Inspect toys regularly
Check the toys that your dog plays with regularly for signs of wear and tear. If the toys are damaged replace them immediately so that potential hazards such as ingesting small parts and choking hazards can be averted.
If you are a pet parent rather than an owner keeping your baby safe must be of paramount importance to you. This is why, it is so crucial that you always select non-toxic and safe toys for them. An unsafe dog toy poses several health risks to your dog, such as choking, cancer, and organ damage being the most severe of the lot. It is important to be aware of these issues and understand what constitutes a safe toy for your fur angel.
As such, you must always go for products made adhering to toy safety regulations and standards formulated by ASTM and CPSC. Products made following these standards are never unsafe dog toys. steer clear of toys containing harmful substances such as lead, BPA, phthalates, and formaldehyde. In much the same way, avoid ones that might lead to choking hazards and have small parts, which can be swallowed with ease and sharp edges.