While all of us in the Sweet Goodbye team love to treat our fur babies with as many toys as humanly possible - we (like many!) often go for the cutest toy on the shelf, which may not be the best thing for them! Safety is a huge part of choosing the right toys for your furry friends - so rather than looking at the cost, here's a few things to consider the next time you're in the toy section about to bring home a new squeaker for your pet!
Toys to Avoid
1. Small Toys that can be swallowed
Small toys can be a choking threat, especially to our smaller pets. If you can fit the entire toy or any of its parts into your pets mouth, it is possible they may swallow it and choke. Any toys with small detachable parts, marbles or small rubber balls should be avoided.
2. Toys with Small Detachable Parts
Pets chew off parts of toys and swallow them, it is not uncommon, so toys that have detachable parts may potentially be a choking hazard for your pet. Also, if swallowed they could result in blockages or digestive issues requiring vet intervention. Those stuffed animals we see a lot, the ones with plastic eyes or noses, they are potential risks. The eyes and noses, and perhaps other parts, can be chewed off and swallowed, so be diligent when selecting these types of toys.
3. Toys with Sharp Edges or Points
Help prevent cuts and abrasions by choosing toys that have smooth surfaces. Toys that have sharp edges or pointy bits may cause injuries to your pet's mouth, paws, or other body parts. Be on the look out for cheaply made squeaky toys - these often are made of hard plastic that when broken create sharp edges.
4. Toys with Loose Strings or Ribbons
Whilst they may look pretty, strings and ribbons can unravel . These could become tangled around your pet's limbs or even in their digestive tract if swallowed. This can lead to serious injuries or worst case scenario, requiring surgical intervention. Many cat toys have dangly ribbons or similar, so if it cant be avoided, make sure they are well made and that your pet is supervised when playing with the toy.
5. Toys with Toxic Materials
There are toys on the market that may contain materials or dyes that are toxic to pets. Choose pet-safe materials, avoiding those with chemicals that may be harmful if ingested by your pet. Think twice before buying toys with bright colours as they may be dyed with potentially harmful chemicals and be wary of toys made cheaply with inferior quality materials.
When purchasing toys for your pets, always check the product details, materials used, and reviews It may also be beneficial to chat to your vet , they may be able to recommend toys based on your pet's specific needs.
Enough of the bad stuff - let's talk about what you should look for when buying something new that can keep your pets engaged, stimulated and most importantly - happy!
Toys to Look For
1. Interactive Puzzle Toys:
Stimulate your pet's mental and physical activity with puzzle toys. They provide entertainment and increase your pets problem-solving skills. Not only do they help prevent boredom, they are great for keeping our senior dogs minds stimulated.
Things like Kong Dog Toys which can be stuffed with treats, keep dogs occupied as they try to retrieve the treats by manipulating the toy. They are one of the most versatile toys around. Feeds, stimulates and exercises all at the same time!
2. Durable Chew Toys
Chew toys satisfy a pet's natural instinct to chew and promote dental health. An average chewer may rip apart poor quality toys, so look for durable rubber, nylon and edible chews. Good quality chew toys will survive the strongest chewers allowing them to play safely.
Nylabone DuraChews are made from durable materials that are safe for dogs to chew whilst helping to clean their teeth and freshen their breath.
3. Interactive Laser Toys
Humans love laser tag so why shouldn’t our pets! Laser toys provide an interactive and engaging way for cats to chase and "hunt" a moving light. This type of play can be mentally stimulating and encourage physical activity.
There are some laser toys made specifically for pets that feature automated laser moves in random patterns for cats, and maybe even dogs to chase.
4. Soft Plush Toys for Comfort
A favourite for our senior pets, soft plush toys can provide comfort and serve as a source of companionship for our pets, especially those that enjoy cuddling or carrying toys around.
Plush toys with latex exteriors are especially good as they are gentle on a dogs mouth.
5. Natural Fibre Rope Toys
Rope toys made from natural fibres make excellent dental toys, promoting healthy teeth and gums through chewing. They also provide an outlet for natural chewing instincts.
Large colourful ropes tied with knots are durable and provide endless hours of satisfying chewing experience whilst flossing their teeth!
You should also consider your pet's size, pets age and what type of play activity they enjoy when selecting toys. Its important to remember, senior pets may not have the physical or mental ability to enjoy the toys that entertained them as pups. Regular inspection of toys for wear and tear is recommended and consider replacing toys as they become worn or if they become damaged. This will ensure your pet's continued safety. We also suggest supervising your pet when introducing any new toys, not only is it entertaining, you can see if there will be any potential hazards.