The Ultimate Guide to Safe Dog Toys - Part 3
In Part I and II of this blog series we took a look at the importance of toy size, shape and construction for overall toy safety. Today we will be discussing common dog toy materials and material risks. If you missed the previous posts or want to skip to another topic in our series, use the links below!
Toy materials are part and parcel with toy construction. Dog toys can be plastic, latex, natural rubber, synthetic rubber, a multitude of natural and synthetic fabrics, even wood! Generally, harder materials, like the nylon plastics found in a lot of chew toys, have higher durability but also a higher chance of injuring gums, teeth and mouth tissue or if broken off and swallowed causing serious intestinal blockages and lacerations.
Softer materials like rubber, fabric and latex offer less durability but are easier on the mouth and teeth. However, just like people, dogs can have allergies to different materials such as latex. Learn the signs and observe your dog any time you are trying out a new toy.
According to Wag, dogs who have latex allergies show reactions at the site where the toy touches the body. However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes irritation occurs between a dog's toes, under its front legs, the groin area, or its face. It's not a fool-proof method, but many latex toys can be identified by their low cost and extremely soft, thin, rubbery feel. Many have hand-painted patterns like the bone in the photo below and a unique smell.
They can also cause more severe reactions like:
· Head shaking
· Face rubbing
· Obsessive licking
· Skin infections
· And skin ulcers, to name a few!
Finally, we need to talk about tennis balls…again.
It's not that we hate tennis balls or tennis - It's a great sport but tennis balls are not made for dogs. Tennis balls have fuzzy fabric and a consistency that makes chewing so much fun. They are brightly colored, widely available, very affordable, and often come in multiple quantities; all of these things can make them a tempting choice for your dog so it is important to understand that tennis balls are not made for a dog’s mouth or teeth and we DO NOT recommend them for your dog either as a chew toy or as a retrieval toy.
The brightly-colored felt acts as fine-grit sandpaper on your dog's tooth enamel and as the toy picks up more and more dirt and sand, it will increase the speed that your dog's teeth erode, eventually causing permanent damage. If your dog’s favorite toy is a tennis ball, we encourage you to read more about the health risks here, courtesy of The American Kennel Club, and to have your Veterinarian check your dog’s teeth regularly.
All of your dog’s toys, no matter the material, can become bacterial breeding grounds and benefit from frequent bathing just like your dog! If you can’t easily wash your dog’s favorite toy, consider opting for a different toy that is easy to clean.
Tips for cleaning Fetchfix toys:
Fetchfix Launcher: just use a mild soap and warm water to hand wash.
Fetchfix Cube: Cubes can be hand-washed like the launcher or can be run in the dishwasher on speed cycle.
We hope you learned something from our dive into common dog toy materials and hazards that you can apply to your own dog(s) for healthier, safer play. Join us for Part IV to learn more about common dog toys and chews that are prone to cause choking.