Play it Safe

Walk into any pet store and you will find a staggering array of toys. But how do you know which are safe? In the past week at our hospital, two dogs have had to have surgery to remove toys that they ate. Both dogs are very well cared for and supervised and yet they still managed to get themselves into trouble. Both came through surgery well and are recovering. Below are some guidelines to help keep your pets safe during playtime.

  1. Assume that everything is edible. Some breeds like Labradors are notorious for eating unexpected items like socks, underwear, and rocks.
  2. Beware of loose strings, especially on cat toys. Cats love playing with dangling strings and thread but if they are swallowed, such items can cause serious damage.
  3. Chew toys need to be sturdy but not too hard. Sturdy, of course, because if it is too flimsy it can be chewed up and the pieced swallowed. However, if an item is too hard, your dog can break their teeth.
  4. Stuffed toys can be dangerous if your dog likes to rip them apart as they may eat the stuffing or the squeaker. The “unstuffed” soft toys may be safer, but I have seen dogs who have swallowed them as well.

Ultimately, to be safe, consider all toys to be rated PG13, meaning that playtime should always be supervised.