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January 15, 2024

Top 5 Most Harmful Toys for Dogs & 9 Safe Alternatives

The Top 5 Most Harmful Dog Toys - and What You Should Be Giving Them Instead

As pet owners, we all want what's best for our furry friends. We buy them toys to keep them entertained, happy, and healthy. However, sometimes we may accidentally buy toys that are harmful to our pets. 

Some popular dog toys can cause serious health issues for dogs for different reasons. Here are the top five harmful dog toys, and why you should keep them away from your pup.

1. Rawhide chews: Rawhide bones are a popular chew toy for dogs, but they can also cause digestive issues and blockages if pieces are swallowed. Additionally, some rawhide bones may contain harmful chemicals and additives.

2. Squeaky toys: While dogs love the sound of a squeaky toy, they can also be a choking hazard if a dog manages to chew off and swallow the squeaker.

3. Tennis balls: Believe it or not, fuzz on the tennis ball can become abrasive and wear down a dog's teeth over time, leading to dental problems. Additionally, the felt covering on the ball can easily be chewed off and ingested by the dog, causing gastrointestinal blockages that can require surgery to remove. They can also be too small and pose a choking hazard to larger dogs.

4. Rope toys: While rope toys may seem like a good option for dogs who love to chew and play tug-of-war, the fibers in the rope can fray and unravel, posing a choking hazard or potentially causing blockages if ingested.

5. Plastic toys: These can be harmful if the dog is able to chew off pieces and swallow them, as they can cause blockages in the intestines. It is important to choose safe and durable toys for your dog to play with.

A bonus, potentially harmful toy is a stick! While sticks may seem like a natural and harmless option for dogs to play with, they can splinter and cause injury to a dog's mouth, throat, or digestive tract if swallowed.


9 Safer Alternative Toys

1. Rubber Chew Toys: Durable rubber toys like Kongs are great for chewing and can be stuffed with treats for added entertainment.

2. Nylon Bones: Non-edible nylon bones can satisfy a dog's urge to chew without the risks associated with real bones.

3. Soft Plush Toys without Small Parts: Look for plush toys specifically designed for dogs, without small pieces or parts that can be chewed off and swallowed.

4. Interactive Puzzle Toys: Toys that require the dog to solve a puzzle to access treats can be mentally stimulating and entertaining.

5. Balls Specifically Designed for Dogs: Consider rubber balls or balls made specifically for dogs that are larger and less likely to be a choking hazard compared to regular tennis balls.

6. Squeaker-Free Toys: Look for toys without squeakers or other small parts that could be easily swallowed or cause harm.

7. Natural Rubber Chew Rings: Some companies make natural rubber rings that are durable and safe for dogs to chew on.

8. Hard Rubber Chew Bones: There are various hard rubber bones available that are safe for chewing and can withstand heavy chewing.

9. Durable Frisbees or Flying Discs: Opt for dog-specific frisbees made of soft, durable materials that are safer for a dog's mouth compared to regular plastic frisbees.


By being proactive about bringing safe toys home and inspecting toys regularly, we can minimize the risk of harm to our furry friends and ensure that playtime remains fun and safe for everyone involved. Remember, your dog's safety should always come first, so make sure to regularly inspect their toys and replace any damaged ones immediately. Let's keep our pets happy and healthy by providing them with safe and enjoyable playtime experiences!

Article written by Kelly Sheehan
Kelly is inspired by animal wellness, rescue, and the incredible bond between human and animal companion. Her passion is connecting those in her community who truly care to the animals and causes that need them.

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