We all know how much dogs love playtime, and treating your pup to a new toy can be a great way to get its tail wagging! With so many different types of toys on the market, dog owners are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the right playtime accessory for their pups.
One of the major benefits of letting dogs play with toys is that they provide pups with mental and physical stimulation. Not only are toys important for a dog’s well-being, they can help to fight boredom and prevent bad behaviours from forming.
However, it’s crucial not to get too wrapped up in the excitement of a new toy that you forget to check its safety and suitability. You may or may not be surprised to hear that the pet toy industry is not currently regulated in the UK. This means that there are no real safety regulations when it comes to marketing dog toys, and companies are free to use words like ‘indestructible’ as they please.
Keeping your pup safe
Of course, no dog owner would knowingly buy a product that was potentially harmful to their pet. The problem is, that with the global pet economy growing at a rapid rate, keeping control over what’s being sold to pet parents is becoming more and more difficult. A lot of the time, packaging on these products can be hugely deceiving for consumers.
The worst part is that the consequences of choosing potentially dangerous toys can be severe. From choking to stomach obstruction, there are lots of risks associated.
But with misleading information, how can we ensure we’re buying safe, non-toxic toys for our pets?
How to make smart shopping decisions
When purchasing a new toy, there are some steps you can and should take to ensure you’re and buying responsibly:
1. As a starting point, always shop with reputable sellers that explicitly list the materials included. This way, you can look up the materials of the toy online, and see if they are safe for use. It’s important to do your due diligence and ensure no toxic materials are being used.
(You can take this one step further by checking out the manufacturer’s website for additional information)
2. Next, you should make sure that the toy you’re buying is appropriate for your breed of dog. Toys should always be bought for your dog’s current size. This is because there’s no one size fits all when it comes to toys, so check if the product you’re looking at is suitable.
3. It’s also a good idea to avoid buying any toy that has detachable parts, as these could be chewed and swallowed, leading to digestion issues.
4. If you’re happy with the supplier and the product, your next port of call is to check the reviews. Again, most trustworthy businesses will have reviews enabled, so if you’re struggling to find any customer testimonials, this should raise alarm bells. Take time to read through previous customer experiences with the toy, you’ll quickly find out whether the product is being marketed factually.
5. Once you have received the toy, it’s crucial to supervise your pup’s play. Whilst you may think some toys have greater durability, that doesn’t mean they should
be left with your dog for hours on end. Take note of your pup’s chewing habits to get a better idea of how long they can enjoy toys at playtime.
6. To preserve your toys, it can be a good idea to rotate them and only let each toy be used a few times a week. Be sure to inspect and clean each toy after use, as over time, toys start to wear down and rip. This is when they have the potential to injure our dogs’ mouths and stomachs. As soon as you notice a breakage, it’s time to buy a new one! Don’t take any chances.
A final note
With that being said, remember that toys also provide hundreds of benefits that dogs really can’t live without! Don’t be afraid to let your pup enjoy playtime. By following these steps, you can make more informed purchasing decisions, and be sure that you’re buying dog toys that you can trust!