Many families brought a puppy into their home as a Christmas gift, and they take the time to research breeds, learn about the benefits of pet adoption, and consider all of their options before making a choice.
All of this research that goes into choosing the right puppy sometimes does not extend into checking out the various toys, treats, and rewards they buy for the new addition. Many of the puppy products on the market, including those sold in pet stores and pet departments, pose various risks to puppies as well as dogs of all ages. To avoid an emergency trip to the vet or the tragic loss of a puppy or dog, it is essential to avoid giving your puppy or dog the following commonly found toys and treats.
- Rawhide in any form – rawhide is the inner layer of a cowhide that is considered waste material. It is bleached, rolled or pressed, artificially flavored, and bake to be sold as dog chews. Rawhide, when wet from saliva, becomes a soggy mass that can cause choking in the throat or obstruction of the digestive tract. Both of these conditions can be fatal. Both solid and shredded rawhide should be avoided.
- Cow hooves – while natural, cow hooves are extremely hard with a slippery surface, posing a risk of damage to the teeth and even the bones of the jaw.
- Kids plush toys – plush toys for kids are not designed for dogs and puppies. They are easy to chew through, allowing the puppy to swallow fabric, stuffing, buttons, and items on the toy that can result in choking, intestinal blockages or damage to the stomach and intestinal system.
- Plastic or vinyl toys – plastics and vinyl contain phthalates, a compound used to make the material softer. These chemicals are shown to be toxic and result in damage to the kidneys, lungs, liver, and reproductive systems of animals and people.
- Nylabone Plaque Attackers – these bones are not a good option for aggressive chewers and a puppy’s sharp teeth. Small shards of the plastic break off, and they can lodge in the mouth, throat, or intestines. Instead, a regular, large sized Nylabone is a safe option.
- Rope toys – rope toys are fine for puppies to play with when supervised, but the rope is easy to fray and swallow, which poses a risk for choking for a puppy.
- Bells and Squeaky toys – like rope toys, when supervised at play, they are fine but never leave these toys with a puppy. The puppy or dog can chew through and swallow the interior noisemaker, risking an emergency trip to the vet for surgery.
- Pig Ears – similar to rawhide, these hard, baked or deep-fried pig ears become a sodden mass as a dog or puppy chews. If swallowed, they can easily lodge in the throat or the intestines, sometimes with fatal results.
- Tooth cleaning chews – before giving your puppy any type of “tooth cleaning” toys or products, talk to your vet. Many puppies and dogs simply swallow big chunks of the chew.
- Tennis balls – while great for a game of fetch, they are easy to pull apart, and these parts and pieces are easy to swallow.