2017-04-22 / Community Life

Choose pet toys wisely

We often think of toys as little niceties for our dogs, but the fact is that toys and playtime are a very necessary part of a dog’s life.

Toys help a dog to fight boredom, provide exercise and often can be a comfort when you and your dog are apart.

Always choose toys appropriate for your dog’s size. Small toys present a choking hazard for large dogs. Large toys given to a small breed can cause frustration if they are unable to chew on the toy or carry it.

Squeezable toys can be hours of fun for some dogs, but many will try to root out and “kill” the squeaker. This piece can easily be swallowed and has the potential to cause a choking hazard or bowel obstruction.

On the subject of bowel obstructions, rope toys may not be an appropriate choice as the strings of the rope can be chewed or pulled off and swallowed. These may become entangled or all up in the dog’s digestive system.

Dogs often make use of household objects as toys as well, making no distinction between the items you have carefully selected and your dirty socks. Some items that veterinarians have removed from dog intestines include: underwear, panty hose, jewelry, toy soldiers, rocks, yarn, cell phone chargers, pacifiers, corn cobs, money, and the list goes on.

If you have a dog that tends to play with household items, it is imperative to keep those items picked up.

Dogs typically enjoy toys that involve interacting with a human. A hard rubber ball is a good choice for dogs that like to chase and fetch, as are frisbees (preferably those made specifically for dogs).

Pull toys can be especially entertaining, but must be sturdy so that pieces don’t splinter or pull off.

One popular seller marketed under the brand name Kong allows the owner to insert treats in the toy. The dog will chew and roll the toy to access the bounty, providing activity and boredom relief.

As with most things in life, choosing the proper toys for your dog includes a little education and a solid dose of common sense.

‘Til next time, take care of those you love . . . even those with fur, feathers, fins or scales.

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