Intermountain Pet Hospital Blog

Intermountain Pet Hospital's blog provides tips and ideas to help make life more enjoyable for you and your pet.

Dog with toys

Safest Toys for Your Pets

Posted by Nikki Wardle on December 20, 2021 at 11:30 AM
Nikki Wardle
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Toys are a necessity for all pets. Toys can provide comfort, entertainment, and even help combat bad behavior problems. So, when choosing a toy for your pup or kitty, you want to make sure it is the correct type of toy, especially for cats, as they are very particular about what toys they will play with.

Not all toys are created equal. One of the most common mistakes pet owners make is that they buy toys that are meant for humans. Don't, just don't. Human toys are meant for humans. Our jaws are stronger than a cat's jaw, but a dog's jaw can be up to 280% stronger than a human's jaw. Human toys are not meant to handle that kind of pressure.

What to Avoid

  • Size Matters — Letting your dog play with toys that are too small for them could be a choking hazard, and dogs can ingest small toys that later need to be removed via surgery.
  • Squeaky Toys — Some dogs feel the need to destroy a squeaky toy, and if they get at the squeaker, they can eat it.
  • Chemicals — Avoid toxic dyes (usually bright neon colors). Some toys may contain lead or other harmful substances such as phthalates that are known to damage the liver, lungs, kidneys, and reproductive system.
  • Loose Decorations — Just like small toys, toy decorations can be a choking or intestinal blockage hazard.
  • Fillings — Nutshells, polystyrene beads, or other small items are fillings to stay away from.
  • Rawhide — It has long been proven that some rawhide toys can cause major choking hazards. Talk to your pet's veterinarian about what kinds of rawhide products are safe. You may also want to look into rubber toys or safe antler chew products.
  • Yarn and String — Ribbons, yarns, rubber bands, and strings are easily ingested by a dog or cat and can cause big intestinal trouble that can lead to emergency surgery.
  • Tennis Balls — A tennis ball is made for one purpose, to be played in a game of tennis. They were never designed to be dog toys. At the least, they can cause excessive wear and tear on your pooch’s teeth.

What to Look For

Below are a few of the kinds of toys your kitty or canine will enjoy and will help them get out all their pent-up energy.

Good God Toys:

  • Kong Toys — These toys are great because most Kong toys are meant to hold treats which are great motivators for canines.
  • Treat Puzzles — If your pup is an escape artist or loves digging holes, more than likely, your pup is bored and needs some mental stimulation. Puzzles, snuffle mats, and slow feeders are enrichment that can help focus your pup on more positive behaviors.
  • Chase and Tug Toys — If you have two or more pups that like to play together, or you love playing fetch with your pup, these toys are great.

Good Cat Toys:

  • Treat Puzzles — All fur babies need mental stimulations, and treat puzzles are great for keeping your kitty busy. Puzzles are also great for slowing down fast feline feasters.
  • 2-in-1 cat bed and play tunnel — Kitty City makes a great cat bed/tunnel that your frisky feline will get hours and hours of playtime.
  • Scratch Pads — Cats scratch, they need to scratch, and the last thing you want is for them to pick the side of your favorite couch to dig their claws into. Get them the gold standard Scratch Lounge. The scratch pads are laced with catnip, and the Scratch Lounge doubles as a bed.

If you are unsure of what kinds of toys are best for your dog or cat, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about toys they recommend for your specific furbaby's personality and needs.

Topics: Puppy Care, Pet Facts, Pet Enrichment