If you’re one of the millions of pet parents in America, you’re probably indulging your furry friends with an assortment of fluffy, plushy and squeaky toys. Whether you have pint-sized human kids or four-legged furry kids, you’re responsible for their overall well-being. Before purchasing a toy for your human kid, you inspect it and ensure that it’s safe and appropriate for their age and style of play. Well, four-legged furry kids deserve the same consideration.

Spending on toys and other accessories was $3.6 billion.1

Within the pet product industry, toys are designed to serve diverse purposes; they help to stimulate a dog’s mind for learning and are great for preventing boredom and destructive behavior. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal by the market research firm Euromonitor and the American Veterinary Medical Association, in 2014 Americans lavished $30.4 billion on their pets, up from $17.8 billion in 2000.1 With American pet parents spending a substantial amount on pet toys, it’s essential that pet parents select toys that are appropriate for their dog, to ensure that their furry friends are safe during play! Take a moment to read our safety precautions and other important considerations for choosing the best dog toys for your pet.

Chew Style

Selecting the perfect dog toy doesn’t have to be a daunting task. While each dog has its own preferences for what constitutes the consummate toy – from plush, squeaky and rugged builds – knowing your dog’s chew style will help you select the ideal toy for your pooch. Over the years, dog toys have become more innovative offering more features than they did 10 years ago, which means that there are more small parts that can easily become lodged in a dog’s throat. Dogs also have very different chewing styles so an important part of choosing a safe toy for your pet is to understand how your dog plays with his toys. If your dog is determined to “kill” the squeaker in every toy you bring home and toys quickly get shredded into multiple pieces you must be very careful that you are purchasing toys designed for tough chewers.

Always remember to supervise your dog during play. If a dog toy has separated parts or pieces it should be removed immediately. On the other hand, if your dog still has the very first soft squeaker teddy bear that you gave him when he first came home, you can be slightly less selective with the type of toys that you offer. Each and every dog will treat each type of toy differently, knowing your dog’s preferences will help you to provide toys that will be truly safe for your pet.

Follow these dog toy safety and general playtime best practices to keep those tails wagging!

  • Be sure to select a toy that is ideal for your dog’s size – not too big, not too small. In this way, you can help prevent a toy from getting lodged in your dog’s throat. An ideal toy as Goldilocks would say, “is just right!”
  • Check labels for child safety. Look for stuffed toys that are labeled as safe for children under three years of age and that don’t contain any dangerous fillings. Problem fillings include nutshells and polystyrene beads, but even “safe” stuffings aren’t truly digestible.2
  • Inspect your dog’s toys regularly for missing or broken parts and torn fabric; discard of these toys immediately. Doing so will help keep your dog out of harm’s way.
  • Dog-proof your home by removing string, ribbon, rubber bands, children’s toys, pantyhose and anything else that could be swallowed. 2
  • It’s also a great idea to purchase electrical outlet stops that can be inserted into the socket, ensuring you can create a safe haven for your precious pet.
  • Supervise your dog’s play with squeaky toys that contain a “squeaker” buried in its center. Your dog may feel that he must find and destroy the source of the squeaking, and he could ingest it. A wonderful line of safe, innovative toys to check out includes Petmate’s JW Pet Funble Football with a unique and patented design that “locks” the squeaker into the toy and protects it.

The important thing is to remember the size of the dog, not the age, unlike when you’re buying a toy for a child. You probably wouldn’t want anything adverse to happen to the child. The size and aggression of the dog will help you determine what to get.3 – Veterinarian Marty Becker

Made in the USA?

Many pet parents believe that if they buy a product made in the U.S. it guarantees a quality toy and this is simply not the case. A responsible company can produce in China, in the U.S. or in any other country and have a quality product that is safe. It’s all about the testing, the design, the follow-through and the integrity on the part of the company to ensure their products are truly top–notch!


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