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Tips On Choosing Safe Toys And Gifts For Pets

December 1, 2023

December is Safe Toys And Pets Month! This is certainly a perfect time for it. While this awareness event is officially aimed at children, it definitely applies to pets. Read on as a Brampton, ON vet offers some tips on choosing safe things for Fluffy and Fido.

Read Labels

It’s always a good idea to take a look at pet product labels. Look and see where the toy was manufactured. This is important, because some countries are quite lax when it comes to quality control for pet products.

Materials are another thing to be cautious of. Some studies have found dog toys testing positive for harmful materials, such as lead, PVC, chromium, bromine, and phthalates, all of which are toxic for Fido.  Heavy metals, like lead and chromium, pose risks of cancer and neurological damage, while latex contains phthalates and BPA, which are hormone disruptors. Rice husk and natural rubbers are a few examples of safe materials.


Rawhide is another area of concern here. It’s very popular with our canine pals, as many pups enjoy chewing on it. Unfortunately, rawhide can break into smaller pieces. These not only pose serious choking risks, they can create major gastrointestinal blockages or even ruptures if swallowed. Ask your vet for more information.

Watch Recalls

We’d also recommend keeping an eye on recalls. You can track recalls at the AVMA website here or the FDA site here. You can also set up email alerts.

Choose Age/Size Appropriate Toys

It’s also important to pick toys that are the right size for your pup. A smaller stuffie may be fine for a puppy or a Pomeranian, but would be a choking hazard for an adult Labrador. Fido’s tastes will also change over time. Puppies are basically little chewing machines, and they need a lot of things to gnaw on. An adult dog will still need toys that encourage active play, but will also appreciate things like snuffle mats or puzzle toys. If your canine buddy is a senior, he may be better off with something that’s soft on his mouth.


Last but not least, keep an eye on Fido as he plays, and regularly check his toys for damage. Most toys can be cleaned, either by hand or in the wash. However, when things start getting ripped or worn, it’s best to replace them.

Our Advice on Tips On Choosing Safe Toys And Gifts For Pets in 2024

Why is it important to read pet product labels?

Reading pet product labels is crucial for ensuring the safety and health of your pets. Labels provide vital information on the origin of manufacture, indicating the quality control standards the product adheres to. They also detail the materials used, alerting owners to potentially harmful substances, like lead, PVC, or phthalates, that could pose risks to your pet’s well-being. Being informed about the products you choose for your pets is essential for preventing exposure to toxic materials and safeguarding their health.

What are some safer materials for pet toys?

Safer materials for pet toys include natural rubber, rice husk, and certain types of fabric that do not contain toxic substances like phthalates or BPA. These materials are less likely to harm pets if ingested or chewed on. Choosing toys made from these safer alternatives is crucial for maintaining your pet’s health and preventing exposure to hazardous chemicals. In Ontario, pet owners are advised to select toys that prioritize safety and durability, contributing to the overall well-being of their furry companions.

Why is rawhide considered a risk for dogs?

Rawhide is deemed risky for dogs because it can break into smaller pieces during chewing, posing serious choking hazards. Additionally, these fragments can lead to significant gastrointestinal blockages or even ruptures if ingested, requiring emergency veterinary intervention. Given these dangers, pet owners are encouraged to seek alternative chewing options that provide safer enjoyment for their canine companions, thereby minimizing the risk of potentially life-threatening complications associated with rawhide consumption.

What factors should be considered when choosing toys for pets of different ages and sizes?

When selecting toys for pets of varying ages and sizes, consider the toy’s size and durability to match the pet’s physical capabilities and chewing habits. For young animals, choose toys that support teething and encourage learning. Adult pets may enjoy interactive toys that stimulate their minds and keep them active. For larger breeds, opt for robust toys that withstand vigorous chewing. Conversely, smaller pets require appropriately sized toys to prevent choking hazards. Always prioritize safety and suitability to the pet’s life stage and physical attributes, ensuring a fun and secure playtime experience.

What precautions should be taken with pets and their toys to ensure safety?

To safeguard pets during playtime, always supervise them with their toys, regularly inspect toys for damage, and promptly discard any that are torn or broken to prevent ingestion of small parts. Choose toys appropriate for your pet’s size and chewing behavior to avoid choking hazards. Clean toys regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria. Avoid toys with harmful chemicals or small, detachable parts. Consult with a veterinarian in Brampton, Ontario, for personalized advice on safe toy selections that cater to your pet’s specific needs and health considerations.

Please contact us with questions about your pet’s toys. As your Brampton, ON pet hospital, we are here for you!