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The Ultimate Guide to Safe Dog Toys - Part 1

Did you know that dog toys aren't regulated like children's toys? Safety in pet toys relies heavily on you being informed of potential risks and knowing what to watch out for. There are so many dog toys available, how do you choose the safest toy for your dog? We've put together some comprehensive tips to ensure you'll know what to look out for and some important safety details that you need to know for safer play in a four part blog series. If you want to skip to a specific portion of the series, click the links below, otherwise follow along with us as we begin with choosing the best toy size and shape for your dog.

Part I: Proper size, proper shape:

The first thing you need to consider to reduce choking risk when purchasing a new toy for your dog is the proper toy size and shape. There are many confusing sizes of toys on the market. Does your whippet need extra small or small? Does your Labrador Retriever need a medium, large or extra large? Sometimes sizes from different manufacturers aren’t even the same. Many times manufacturers use a dog's weight as a guide for toy size - which can fail you in several scenarios.

The common tennis ball has a 2.5” diameter and this is a pretty standard "medium" size for a round fetch toy. Small round toys can often be in the 1.5-2” diameter range and larger sizes are often 3.00” and up. As manufacturers rushed to fill stores with more and more toys, the sizes have proliferated adding to the confusion.

Why is this important? Round balls conform to the shape of your dog’s throat. If you choose a size that is too small for your dog, you may increase the risk of that ball becoming lodged in the throat during play, cutting off the oxygen supply and becoming very difficult to remove due to its smooth, round shape. If you choose a round ball that is too large for your dog, they can have difficulty even picking it up and may lose interest in it altogether. And what do you do if you have multiple dogs of different breeds and different sizes? You might buy a small and a large toy to accommodate both dogs - creating a potential hazard if your larger dog finds the smaller toy.

To help solve these issues, look for toy shapes that allow your dog to pick up the toy and carry it without needing the entire toy to be in its mouth - this provides much better airflow. If you have a large dog that will inevitably carry the entire toy in its mouth, look for one-size-fits-all, non-spherical toys like our Cube that won’t conform to your dog’s throat so if they do get lodged in the throat, the toy won’t block the entire airway and will offer surfaces you can get hold of to pull it out. Take a look at the gallery above for some one-size-fits-all non-spherical toy ideas.

If you made it this far, we hope you learned some good tips on choosing safer dog toy sizes and shapes and we would love for you to join us on our next topic as we take a look at common toy constructions, where toys are made, and why it matters to you and your dog!


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