7 Toys (and Non-Toys) Dogs Want but Shouldn’t Have

Yes, it’s hard to resist giving our pets everything they want — but we do it for their own safety.

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No plushy toys around? How about giving your dog an old T-shirt to play with instead? By: zenjazzygeek

Dogs are mischievous. We look away for just a moment — and they’ve got something in their mouths that they shouldn’t have.

Of course, we’re also guilty of giving our dogs things we shouldn’t give them. Really, who can resist a sad puppy face? Not this woman.

But dogs don’t understand that some things are bad for them. It’s up to us to be parents. So below are 7 toys or objects to keep away from your dog for safety’s sake.

1. Toys That Are Too Small

Something as simple as a ball can be dangerous if it’s not the right size for your dog. Larger dogs should have toys and balls that they can chew on but not swallow — no one wants a choking accident or possibly other internal injuries.

2. Plastic Bottles

Dogs seem to love chewing on water and soda bottles. But insurance company Pets Best does not recommend this: “The cap of the water bottle can come off, and the dog can swallow it, leading to a blockage. Also, dogs can tear off pieces of the plastic pretty easily, resulting in sharp, rough edges. The dog may try to swallow these sharp pieces and/or cut their gums chewing on the newly exposed rough edges.”

3. Rocks

Yes, dogs really do eat rocks. One of my pet-sitting clients has a dog who does this if I don’t watch him closely in the yard.

In their book Why Do Dogs Like Balls?, Caroline Coile, Ph.D., and trainer Margaret Bonham warn, “This is a potentially dangerous practice, since they can cause an intestinal blockage and need surgery to save their lives.”

Don’t Miss: When a Dog Eats Non-Food Items, Like Metal, Rocks or Wood

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Sad but true: Bone treats can tear up a dog’s mouth and cause gastrointestinal blockages. By: schopie1

4. Ice

There is a lot of debate about this one. Because it’s water, ice water isn’t thought to be too dangerous for dogs (unless you give them too much water and they bloat).

But stop your dog from chewing on ice — he could fracture his tooth.

5. Toys That Create a Vacuum Effect

In 2015, Jamie Stumpf posted pictures of her Rottweiler’s graphic tongue injury. The cause? A type of KONG ball that had only 1 hole in it. When her rottie chewed on the toy, it created a vacuum — and his tongue was sucked in. Sadly, the injury was so severe that the dog died.

Check all toys and make sure they have at least 2 holes to prevent this from happening.

6. Bone-Type Treats

This one is surprising, considering all the bone treats marketed for dogs. But the FDA reported serious chewing injuries in dogs in 2015. These injuries included but were not limited to:

The FDA recommends supervising your dog closely when offering anything new. If your dog is injured or something seems off, contact your veterinarian right away.

Bonus: You can also train your dog to put away dirty laundry after she plays with it: 

7. Toys With a Chemical Smell

In 2007, Consumer Affairs released a report indicating high levels of lead, chromium and cadmium in toys found at Walmart. Although some veterinarians told the organization that the levels weren’t harmful, it was unclear whether they meant that just children and adults were safe from these potentially deadly chemical levels. What about pets?

In cases like this, use your senses — including common sense. When choosing a toy, smell it. If you detect a heavy chemical odor, you may want to find pick out another brand.

So which toys can your dog play with? There are many options out there. The Humane Society of the United States recommends hard rubber toys from trusted brands, rope toys with knotted ends, size-appropriate stuffed toys and perhaps even an old T-shirt, along with other ideas.

But no matter what the toy, be sure to supervise play and, for the safety of your dog, discard any items showing signs of wear and tear.

Melissa Smith

View posts by Melissa Smith
Melissa Smith, discussions manager for Petful, has been researching and writing about pet behaviors for several years. A longtime pet lover, she lives in Massachusetts with her teenage son, their cat Harrison and the spirit of their German shepherd named Gypsy. Melissa is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia design and hopes to adopt as many needy animals as she can.

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