Playtime safety for dogs
How do you buy toys and chews for your dog that keep them happy and safe?
If you want to know which chew toys are good for dog amusement and training, ask a dog trainer, behaviourist or a good salesperson. However if you want to know which dog chews and toys are dangerous, ask a vet.
We vets see what happens when things go wrong. Here’s our guide to what not to let your dog chew and what chew toys we recommend for dogs.
What are the dangerous things dogs should not chew?
- Sticks. Splinters get lodged in the mouth and throat. Throwing a stick is even more dangerous when dogs either run onto it or attempt to catch it.
- Bones when Too Small, Brittle, Cooked or Smoked. Most people know that cooked or cured bone becomes brittle and breaks into sharp splinters. Dog owners need to also know the dangers of feeding undersize raw bones (we recommend no smaller than your dog’s head) or bones able to be broken into fragments.
- Antlers. I have seen antlers keep teeth as clean as raw bones do, but I have also seen nasty tooth fractures. They are just too hard.
- Rawhide. Hide chews seem fun at first, and look good, but very quickly they get gooey and soft. At this point many dogs will get the rawhide stuck in the oesophagus or stomach. Then there’s the problem of not knowing how they are made and preserved. The picture gives some people’s opinion.
- Tennis Balls. Tennis balls are abrasive and permanently wear down dogs’ teeth. They break up into pieces which block the intestine. Their cover can be stripped off and swallowed. They choke large breeds. All this is a problem because your dog ca
n find tennis balls everywhere.
Of course, dogs can chew up and swallow anything, especially when puppies. In the past 20 years I’ve surgically removed all of the following from dogs.
- cheap dog toys, parts of rubber balls
- rocks and fruit stones
- bedding and blankets
- underwear and sanitary products
- corn cobs, satay sticks
- children’s toys and plastic ware
- and of course the items mentioned earlier.
Dog chew toys need to be tailored to:
- The size of the dog. Small toys & balls are a choking or obstruction hazard if given to big dogs.
- Their chewing style. Powerful and destructive dogs may demolish even the toughest toy or bone.
- Whether you leave them unsupervised. Some dogs can’t be left unsupervised with chewable objects at all. Others can be once you know they have a predictable and safe chewing style. Regardless, it’s necessary to always supervise a dog with a new toy.