There are no strict rules or regulations when it comes to dog toy safety. Unlike toys for children which are rigorously tested and are limited in what materials are used to make them, dog toys offer no such safety guarantees. To keep your dog safe, it is important that you know what to look for in a dog toy and what to avoid.

Toys for dogs

When looking for something for your dog to play with, make sure you choose a toy that has been specially designed for dogs. For example, if your dog is partial to a cuddly toy don’t be tempted to give them any child’s toy in the belief that it will be safe. A child’s toy would not have been safety tested with a dog’s strong jaws in mind. Even balls that are marketed as children’s toys may not be suitable for a dog to chew.

Trusted brands

Look for well-respected dog toy brands with a history of producing good quality, safe dog toys. Ask your vet or other dog owners for recommendations and read reviews online before buying.

Some dog toy companies that have products aimed at heavy chewers will detail the safety tests they undergo on their websites so you can see how they minimise risk.

Super chewers

First things first – there is no such thing as a truly indestructible dog toy. Some dogs have the potential to destroy any toy if they put their mind to it so if you have an expert chewer, beware.

Check your dog’s toys regularly for signs of damage and if it looks like your dog is starting to destroy a toy, remove it from play so that bits of it that come away can’t be swallowed.

If your dog is a fan of soft toys with squeakers, keep a close eye on what they are doing with them. If your dog manages to rip a hole in a soft toy there is a danger that they could swallow the squeaker within. Again, if a toy becomes damaged you should remove it from your dog immediately.

Size matters

One of the biggest dangers posed by dog toys is due to them being the wrong size. Dogs come in all sizes from tiny to giant and it is important that their toys are the right fit.

A toy that is too small for a dog can easily be swallowed and become stuck in the throat, causing them to choke. If your dog loves balls, look for ones with holes in so that if they do accidentally swallow them, they will still be able to breathe. Even a tennis ball can pose a choking hazard for a big dog.

Keeping clean

Stuffed toys, such as Kongs, are a great way of entertaining a dog with a long-lasting food treat and also gives them something to chew. These toys should be cleaned after every use to ensure any leftover bits of food and bacteria are removed.

Kongs and many other food toys can be put into the dishwasher. If you are washing by hand use hot soapy water and a bottle brush to get into all the hard-to-reach areas.

A note about sticks

Some dogs love the feel of a stick in their mouth and always seem to pick one up on walks. The dangers of sticks cannot be over-emphasised and you should never be tempted to throw one for your dog. Wood splinters can cause horrific injuries to the mouth and throat, and sharp ends can damage eyes and puncture the skin.

Instead of throwing sticks, use rubber toys or flying discs for your dog to fetch. It is safest if your dog retrieves something they can carry without having to hold the whole thing in their mouth, like a rubber ring.

 Shop All Dog


If you enjoyed this article, have a look at:

Boredom-Busting Ideas for Dogs

Enrichment Ideas For Dogs

Tackling Puppy Teething, Mouthing and Chewing