pets toysAs pet parents, we love to gift their four-legged family members with toys, but there is one option you may want to avoid. Catnip-stuffed mice, stuffed bears with squeaky centers, plush soft toys used for a good game of tug-o-war… they all appear safe. After all, what harm could a soft toy possibly do? While a pet toy may look harmless, you need to look for the unexpected to ensure your pet’s health and safety.


That stuffed mouse that your kitty would love to receive as a birthday gift has a long, stringy tail which poses a choking risk for your favorite feline. Worse yet, if the string is swallowed, it could cause a tear in your cat’s intestines, requiring emergency medical treatment and placing your cat’s life in a risky situation.

Paints and Dyes

You’ve likely heard the stories over the past several years of kid’s toys being recalled over chemical elements found in the paints that are used to decorate the toys. While this is a larger problem in kid’s toys, you still need to be watchful. If that soft rubber squeaky toy you purchased for your pooch has a painted design, that paint will wear off and end up in your dog’s system. Steer clear of paint; choose an unpainted toy instead.

Pointy Parts

Cats, and even ferrets, like to chase toys that dangle on a string from a stick. While these types of toys are intriguing and inviting to your furry friend when supervised, it is not advisable to leave them accessible when you’re not around to control, as the pointy ends can cause damage to your pet’s eyes, mouth and/or body.


Probably noticed the new trend in “stuffed” toys is the one with no stuffing in it at all; you know, those toy ducks, rabbits and squirrels that look like they’ve been run over with a steam roller. These are actually an ideal choice over an actual stuffed toy, as stuffing can be made of several substances that can be dangerous if swallowed by your pet. For example, some toys are stuffed with plastic beads that can be a choking hazard, while others are stuffed with cotton that can block your pet’s digestive tract. If you do gift your pet with a stuffed toy, keep a close eye on the seams to ensure your pet doesn’t have the opportunity to ingest any of the stuffing.

Small Parts

Ever notice those pet toys with small plastic eyes and noses? Often times, they are simply glued onto the toy, making it rather simple for Fluffy or Fido to remove and swallow them. While this in itself likely isn’t dangerous, it could be if the plastic part is broken, leaving sharp edges that could lacerate digestive organs. Rather that selecting a toy with plastic parts, opt for those with embroidery or felt pieces instead.

Keeping your pet safe is a big responsibility. Check all toys as if you were going to give it to a toddler. Could a piece be pulled off and swallowed? Are there any sharp pieces? Could that paint possibly contain lead? If you answer yes to any of these questions, choose another toy. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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