As a practising vet Dr Susanna saw many dogs with problems caused by poorly chosen dog toys and treats. Pets can end up with items stuck in their throats or stomachs which then require surgical intervention to remove. It pays to be super careful about the toys and games you allow your dog to play.
Dog Toys To Avoid
There are many dangerous dog toys on the market. If you're looking for a new dog toy consider the tips below to help you find toys that are safe and fun for your best friend. The safest dog toys are those made of sturdy, non-toxic material like hard rubber. Avoid plush toys or toys with squeakers. Dogs tend to rip off the squeakers and they can be choking hazards.
Which Dog Toys Are Dangerous?
Dangerous dog toys are those with pieces that can break off or fall out from the inside are potentially dangerous. I am always wary of squeaky toys as the squeaker can be a choking hazard and can potentially block the intestines.
Small plastic children’s toys are another favourite intestinal blocker. It is amazing what we find on x-rays or lurking in the intestines when we open them up.
If your dog is a really aggressive chewer, you need to be exceptionally careful. Although you may not plan to leave potentially dangerous toys anywhere near your dog when you go out, mistakes are made and accidents happen. So it is best to simply avoid them altogether. There are so many tough, indestructible toys to choose from, there is no need to risk harming your best friend.
Puppies can be very curious. Be careful not to leave interesting but dangerous, chewable items where they can climb to, jump to, or reach.
My top two safe and excellent toys are the Kong and the selection of cotton rope toys listed below.
On the other hand, toys made of incredibly hard material also pose a threat to the integrity of your dog’s teeth. I have seen plenty of fractured carnassial teeth from chewing very hard nylon "bones" for example. This is why rope toys are best.
What About Hide Chews?
Some people worry about hide chews because their dog destroys them in moments and swallows the pieces. Of course he does! It smells like food, so of course his aim is to eat it. The hide will be digested, so there’s usually no need to worry.
The Best Things To Chew
Of course, the best things to chew are real, natural food items.
- fibrous stalks of raw broccoli, cauliflower,brussel sprouts, cabbage
- whole raw carrots
- whole raw parsnips
- raw meaty bones
are all excellent nutrition, exercise, entertainment and teeth cleaning all in one.
I must stress the importance of being raw. Once you cook any of these items, they become useless and, for bones, absolutely lethal.
The Very Real Dangers Of Cooked Bones
Never, ever feed your dog (or cat) on cooked bones - they are exceptionally dangerous!
Cooked bones are brittle and impossible to digest, so frequently cause choking, broken teeth, intestinal blockages, constipation, vomiting and even rupture of the digestive tract anywhere from mouth to anus.
I have removed countless cooked bones trapped across the mouths of cats and dogs, given enemas under anaesthetic to severely constipated dogs and cats that have eaten cooked bones, repaired the broken teeth of dogs that have enthusiastically chewed or got hold of the wrong thing.
The key to safely feeding bones is that they are raw and meaty, the right size for your dog or cat and definitely not cooked, dry and brittle.
Natural Chewable Items To Avoid
If your dog needs to chew, he will chew whatever he can find. He'll chew your favourite shoes, best wooden furniture, wooden sculptures and bowls, but the very worst are stones. Stones are dangerous.
Don't Allow Your Dog To Chew Stones
Stones are abrasive and wear down your dog’s teeth. This can happens so fast that the root canal may be more quickly than the secondary reparative dentine can be produced to prevent exposure of the sensitive pulp inside. The pulp inside comprises nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics. Pain and infection are a likely sequelae requiring expensive veterinary attention. Although your dog may not show the signs you would expect, their teeth are effectively the same as ours. Broken teeth hurt!
Don't Throw Stones For Your Dog
Throwing stones for your dog is the worst game to play. The poor dog will try to catch the stone and if he does, he will break his teeth. I have had to do root canal treatments on broken canine teeth as a result of this crazy game far too many times. In fact, summertime near a stony beach is very lucrative for veterinary dentists ...
Don't Allow Your Dog To Swallow Stones
Dogs often swallow stones which are obviously indigestible. Usually, these just stay in the stomach causing pain and abrasion to the stomach lining, interfering with digestion and potentially resulting in ulceration and rupture. Sometimes, stones pass into the intestines where they may cause obstruction, necessitating urgent veterinary attention and surgery.
Chewing sticks and pieces of wood is usually fine, but throwing sticks is another dangerous pastime.
To throw a stick safely, it needs to be thrown horizontally and far away. Thrown vertically, the stick can impale itself in the ground and your enthusiastic, fast moving dog will run straight onto it. At speed, the stick can rupture the back of his throat, severing big blood vessels resulting in rapidly fatal haemorrhage.
Splinters also become lodged in the soft tissues of the nasopharynx, at the back of the mouth. These are often unnoticed until abscesses form, potentially blocking your dog’s trachea (windpipe). I have seen all these things as a veterinarian in practice. It is so distressing. Who would have thought innocent looking bits of wood could be so hazardous? Thrown with care and attention, they can be trouble free.
SSo provide safe things for your dog to chase, chew and play with. There is plenty of choice. Just think before you throw!!!