It’s so much fun to buy toys for our pets. We want toys that will attract and amuse them while keeping our cat or dog occupied. Safety is not often a concern while we’re shopping, but it should be.
Squeakers are very attractive to both cats and dogs as they mimic prey animal noises. When the squeaker stays safely inside the toy, it’s great. There have been cases, however, when a dog tears a toy apart, swallows the squeaker and becomes very sick requiring lifesaving surgery. If you get a toy with a squeaker, watch your cat or dog as they play with it, so they don’t tear it apart and swallow the squeaker.
Dogs love bones and rawhides to chew. Hard bones can chip teeth. Softer bones can chip off and get stuck in the dogs’ teeth, gums or soft palate which could require veterinary intervention. Some dogs will consume rawhides without much chewing. This can cause choking or digestive problems. Nylon or hard rubber bones are good options for dogs who enjoy chewing. But be sure to inspect them regularly and discard them when they show pieces breaking off.
Chasing balls is great fun for most dogs and some cats. Be sure to have a large enough ball that won’t get caught at the back of your pet’s mouth which can cause suffocation. Also get a ball that your pet can’t chew apart. When the ball becomes weathered or damaged, discard the potential choking or blockage threat.
Feathers and yarn can be fun cat toys, but if your cat pulls the feathers or yarn apart and swallows them they can create problems requiring veterinary care. Mylar film is often part of cat toys because it floats, is shiny and attractive to cats’ prey instincts. This material is also made into tinsel for Christmas trees, and it can be hazardous when cats chew or swallow it.
One of the best and safest cat toys is a laser pointer. Your cat can chase the red light to her heart’s content. The light can go over and into cardboard boxes or paper bags. Just pay attention to where you’re pointing, so kitty doesn’t climb and claw the curtains or knock that Ming vase off your shelf.
If your pet likes to cuddle soft toys, be sure to get a child safe toy. When the toy wears thin or too much exuberant playing tears the toy, discard it as stuffing can cause choking or digestive system blockages. Be aware of any small parts that can come off and be chewed or swallowed can be hazardous.
When you rotate your pet’s toys, they’ll stay interested in the ‘new’ toy when you bring it out again. Always put questionable toys out of pets’ reach when you’re not available to watch them.
If your pet is fortunate to have a Hale Pet Door, be sure to put the inside toys away while you’re not home.
Share your pets’ favorite toys in the comments below.