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Dog Toys to Avoid in Pet Stores

Dog Toys to Avoid in Pet Stores

Dog toys are a necessity rather than a luxury. These things prevent boredom and keep your dog stimulated. They provide them comfort when your pet feels anxious or scared.

However, toys can also harm your pet’s health and well-being. What’s safe on the surface can be potentially harmful to your dog. That’s why pet parents should be prudent in buying toys for their beloved companions.

Knowing what dog toys to avoid in pet stores will ensure you only give what’s best for your pet. Read on.

Are Dog Toys Toxic to Dogs?

Are some dog toys toxic? Toys in pet stores don’t necessarily mean they are safe for your dog. Some toys may become choking hazards if ingested. Others can be made of toxic materials, usually common in cheap toys.

As a responsible fur parent, these are some things you need to take into account:

1. Choking Hazards

Any toy that your dog can swallow can be a choking hazard. Small toys that can get past your pet’s mouth can be stuck in your dog’s throat, posing high choking risks. Are large toys generally safe then?

Choking Dog Assisted by the Owner

Large pet toys that your dog cannot consume whole may be fairly safe. However, if these toys are not durable and can break easily, the broken parts may be swallowed by your pet and may choke them. Some toy parts may cause intestinal blockage or perforate your dog’s internal organs, which often requires expensive surgery.

Hence, avoid flimsy toys that can be easily torn apart by your pet’s constant chewing.

2. Toxic Materials

Dogs like to chew a lot, their toys are no exception. You might have found the right size for your pet, but don’t stop there. You must also ensure that there are no toxic materials in these toys.

Toxic materials found typically in pet toys include:

  • Lead

Lead is a toxic metal that is commonly found in toys’ paint. This substance can cause severe health damage, including neurological and kidney problems. Dogs are highly susceptible to lead poisoning since they chew on their toys.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is a highly toxic type of plastic often used to make dog toys. This chemical can damage your pet’s internal organs, such as their kidneys, liver, and lungs. Exposure to PVC in high quantities can lead to cancer.

  • Phthalates

Phthalates are often added to toys made with PVC. This is because PVC is a very hard material and phthalates help to soften plastic, making it flexible. Unfortunately, this toxin poses reproductive and developmental problems to pets.

  • Bisphenol A (BPA)

Similar to phthalates, BPA is a chemical used in hard plastic. This substance can cause cancer and disrupts your dog’s metabolism.

  • Chromium

Trace amounts of chromium are beneficial to dogs. Chromium is a mineral used in pets with diabetes. However, elevated levels of this mineral can harm your beloved friend.

Chromium helps make dog toys polished and shiny, making them appealing to customers. But don’t be fooled about shiny toys in pet stores, as these may contain toxic levels of chromium that can cause liver and kidney damage to pets.

Dog Toys To Avoid in Pet Stores

In pet stores brimming with dog toys, how do you ensure these things are safe for your canine friend? Toys can appear safe on the surface but may carry health risks when ingested by pets.

Below are examples of dog toys dangerous to pets:

1. Small Toys

Dog Playing with a Rope Toy

Tiny toys can be a choking hazard regardless of your dog’s size. These may be too small to be eaten but can be too big to pass their throat, causing choking. Even large toys that are torn apart can be swallowed, too. Examples of small toys are rope toys and ping-pong balls.

2. Squeaky Toys

Dog Playing with a Yellow Duck Toy

Many dogs love squeaky soft toys because of their instinctive nature to hunt. Hearing the high-pitched squeak can help satisfy their predatory instinct, driving them to tear the toy apart. Unfortunately, your dog can swallow the noisemaker inside or the shredded parts of the squeaky toy. Like small toys, this can result in choking or internal damage.

If you can find something that doesn’t break easily, getting one for your dog is okay. But always check for any signs of tearing and throw out broken toys. Don’t leave your dog unattended while playing with these toys.

3. Stuffed Toys

Dog Covered with Stuffed Toys

Stuffed toys are excellent playthings, so long they stay intact. If your dog likes destroying things, you should think twice before giving your dog a stuffed animal. Stuffed toys typically come with button eyes or other small parts on the side, which can come off. Also, the stuffing inside the toy can be another choking hazard when swallowed.

4. Rawhides

Golden Retriever Biting a Rawhide

Rawhides are bad for dogs for several reasons. They are hard to chew, which can crack your pet’s teeth. And if you have a dog that tends to swallow things, rawhide bones or chews can be extremely dangerous. Rawhides swell inside the stomach and can grow up to 4x their original size. This, in turn, can result in intestinal blockage, which requires foreign body surgery at the ER vet. Lastly, chew toys can get contaminated with bacteria like salmonella or E. coli.

5. Animal Bones

German Shepherd Chewing a Bone

Animal bones contain fatty marrow that can cause pancreatitis in dogs. For aggressive chewers, these bones can splinter and may cause mouth injuries. Moreover, your furry friend may eat the bone shards and risk puncturing their body organs.

Tips for Choosing Safe Dog Toys

As a pet owner, you have to ensure that what you’re giving your dog is safe for them. Pets cannot distinguish between a safe and harmful toy. So, buying dog toys in pet stores entails a good deal of consideration.

Tips for Choosing Safe Dog Toys Chart

Below are a few things you need to do:

1. Read Dog Toy Labels

Children’s toys are not advisable to be given to pets. Kids’ toys are not durable enough and can easily break by your pet’s chewing or tearing. Choose toys specifically designed for dogs. You should also check for any toxic components found in these toys.

2. Choose Toys Appropriate for Your Dog

Consider your dog’s mouth size and specific needs when shopping for dog toys in pet stores. Anything too small may be swallowed whole, blocking their esophagus or intestines. Meanwhile, if it’s too large, your dog won’t enjoy playing with it, defeating its purpose.

Also, opt for toys made with nylon or tough rubber that can handle your dog’s chewing and playing habits.

3. Avoid Buying Harmful Toys

As mentioned earlier, some dog toys in pet stores may pose potential health risks. As much as possible, don’t buy cheap squeaky toys, stuffed animals, rawhides, and animal bones. It’s always best to err on the side of caution than have regrets later.

Additionally, you need to inspect your pet’s toys regularly. If possible, monitor your dog while playing with their toys. Discard toys that are already damaged and worn out.


Pet toys are necessary for your dog’s health and happiness. Toys may appear safe but may pose risks to your furry friend. Understanding the potential hazards and which toys to avoid can help you select safe toys from pet stores.


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1 comment

  • Amazing! Very helpful article!

    - Love123

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