We’re all guilty of spoiling our pets at Christmas, especially with toys. Toys are essential for your pet’s well-being and can help reduce boredom, strengthen bonds and stimulate the mind. But, before you treat your dog or cat to some new toys to go under the tree this Christmas, make sure you check that they are suitable for animals. Unfortunately, there are a number of inexpensive toys on the market that are not pet safe and may cause health complications.
Here’s our list of things you should look out for when choosing toys for your pets.
Pick an appropriately sized toy
When choosing a toy for your dog or cat ensure you are buying the appropriate size for their mouth. If a toy is too small it could be swallowed or become a choking hazard. A toy that is too big can affect the way the jaw lines up.
Be careful with squeaky toys
Always supervise your pets if they are playing with a squeaky toy. The squeak is designed to replicate the noise of animal and their natural hunting instinct means they are likely to destroy the toy. The plastic squeaker may be eaten or lodged in your pet’s throat, which can be incredibly dangerous.
Discard removeable parts
Remove any parts, such as string or ribbon that may become loose or have the potential to be chewed off and ingested. Discard any toys that begin to break or become damaged.
Check the stuffing of plush toys
Check the label before giving your dog or cat a plush toy as they may be stuffed with fillings that are dangerous. Typically, toys that are marked as safe for children under 3 will be suitable. Avoid any soft toys that are filled with polystyrene beads or nut shells. We also don’t recommend buying toys that have been treated with stain guard or fire retardants.
Choose durable non-toxic materials
Select durable and hardwearing toys that are specially designed for pets. Ensure they are clearly marked as non-toxic and BPA free. A strong smell is often an excellent indicator that a toy may contain a potentially harmful chemical. It’s also wise to avoid fabric toys that have been dyed.
Whist many dogs love chasing a tennis ball, the soft material outer can attract sand and grit. This can grind teeth down and expose sensitive parts of the tooth.
Avoid Antlers, Bones and Nyla Bones
Bones can be tasty but they aren’t great for your pets’ teeth. Dogs’ teeth are not designed for crushing; therefore, antlers and bones are too hard and cause fractures, which will require dental treatment, and can be incredibly painful.
What cat and dog toys do we recommend?
We highly recommend toys that engage your pet and provide mental stimulation. Kong’s and puzzles are an excellent option that can help keep your dog entertained for hours. To encourage your pet to be active, balls frisbees and things they can chase are fantastic choice. Fetch can help improve recall and can help bolster positive relationships with owners. If you are feeling creative this Christmas,you can even make toys for cats out of old plastic bottles – they love anything that rattles, especially if you make some holes for treats to occasionally fall out of!
If you require any advice additional advice on choosing a safe toy for your cat or dog this Christmas, please do not hesitate to get in touch. One of our friendly team in our Weymouth or Dorchester veterinary surgery will be more than happy to help.