Toys are an important element of your dog’s overall health and happiness. They give comfort and amusement, aid with hygiene, and reduce undesirable behaviors. It’s not a luxury to provide kids with something to play with; it’s a need!
There are also millions of various toys on the market, which is not an exaggeration. Hundreds of possibilities may be found in every pet store or on any pet-related website. How can you tell which toys are safe and which are potentially dangerous? There’s a lot to choose from, and many of these items are potentially dangerous.
Rubber is on our minds today, so let’s chat about rubber dog toys. Are they safe for your pet, or are you endangering him or her? Fortunately, we’re here to assist you!
Are Rubber Dog Toys Dangerous?
You may have seen posts on Facebook or read articles on numerous blogs regarding the dangers of rubber dog toys. They make it sound like every rubber dog toy is laced with poisons and would do significant harm to your pet. While not all rubber toys are dangerous, there is some truth to the chemicals and poisons found in particular forms of rubber.
There are three main varieties of “rubber” that you could come across! Some are harmful, whereas others aren’t:
Rubber from the ground. Did you aware that rubber is derived from trees? Rubber is made from the sap of the rubber tree, which may be refined into a thick, plastic-like material. It’s all-natural, yet because it’s made of plant material, some individuals (and maybe dogs) may be allergic to it.
Rubber that has been synthesized. Synthetic rubber is, in essence, a plastic. It’s created of petroleum, processed through a series of steps, and transformed into a rubber-like substance. Unfortunately, synthetic rubber, rather than natural rubber, is used in the majority of rubber items nowadays.
Rubber that isn’t real. There are a lot of toys out there that have a rubbery feel to them but aren’t truly rubber. They’re polymers masquerading as rubber, and they’re typically inferior to natural rubber in a variety of ways.
So, unless your dog is allergic to natural rubber, which is extremely unusual, natural rubber is not intrinsically harmful. It all depends on whether the toy is composed of possibly dangerous chemicals, coated with toxic chemicals, or even packed with potentially harmful chemicals.
Unfortunately, unless you have a full in-home chemical lab and can test them yourself, it might be difficult to discern one from another. But we’re very confident you don’t! As a result, you’ll have to trust what the maker states. That’s why we only carry items we believe in, and we always advise you to buy from a brand you know is safe for your dog.
What Are the Risks of a Bad Dog Toy?
We’ve already discussed the dangers of toxic chemicals, but what are the real risks associated with dog toys?
PVC is a kind of plastic that is extremely rigid and brittle by nature. Most PVC is treated with various chemicals to make it soft and malleable, which is hazardous for toys. Unfortunately, those substances are hazardous to your dog’s health and can cause liver and kidney damage.
Phthalates are chemicals that are commonly added to plastics to soften them, and they may sound like a noise you make to entertain a baby. They can leak out of the gums and enter your dog’s body, poisoning the liver or kidneys.
Another component commonly found in plastics is bisphenol A. Bisphenol A can enter your dog’s mouth or via their skin. It has the ability to affect hormones and other physiological systems. Worse, the consequences aren’t often obvious until it’s too late!
We are all aware of the risks of lead, which is why it has been eliminated from almost all household products. Unfortunately, lead poisoning is still a problem, especially with toys made in other countries. Organ damage, neurological system damage, muscular spasms, and more are all possible side effects of lead exposure.
Although chromium is a necessary component for both humans and dogs, excessive quantities can be hazardous. It can potentially cause cancer if consumed in excess.
Melamine is a kind of plastic that is commonly used in toys that are tougher or more stiff. It’s okay to use for things like plates and cutlery for humans, but it’s hazardous if ingested, and your dog is far more likely than you to eat a piece of a dog toy.
Formaldehyde is a preservative that is sometimes present in rawhide and other “skin” goods. Most rubber toys don’t pose as big of a risk, but if they’re made in the same facility, there’s a chance of cross-contamination.
These are the most major concerns, although you could come across additional substances and hazards.
Many of these substances have one thing in common: they’re harmless until they’re consumed. Rubber toys are allowed to include these chemicals since they are not meant to be consumed like a dog treat. What happens to dog toys, though?
Of course, they’ll get chewed on by your furry friend! Toy pieces that chip or break off are frequently ingested, which can cause issues. A person can recognize when to stop chewing on something before it breaks, but most dogs lack this understanding and can gnaw on a toy for hours.
Rubber dog toys can also shatter into bits, causing obstructions in the esophagus or intestine, which can be fatal. As a result, you should always keep an eye on the toys your dog is playing with and replace any that are starting to fall apart.
Who Regulates Rubber Dog Toys?
Over 76 million dogs are kept as pets in America alone, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. You’d think that with such a large population, there would be some sort of regulatory force in place to keep people safe. For example, the Food and Drug Administration tests foods and pharmaceuticals for human consumption. Is there a feline and canine organization?
Regrettably, there isn’t! There is no single authority that tests and certifies pet product safety. Not a single one!
The Food and Drug Administration focuses on human items and has nothing to do with pet products.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission focuses on human products as well. Hazardous pet goods are occasionally the subject of a warning or recall, although they are rare and few between. In most situations, it’s when a person is also holding a pet toy.
The American Pet Products Association appears to be the entity to contact, however it is not a regulating authority. To put it another way, they lack the authority to impose restrictions or controls. They are only able to conduct tests and give warnings.
To put it another way, no one has the right to compel toymakers to avoid harmful substances.
Why would a dog toy manufacturer produce a risky product for dogs? Unfortunately, most of the time it’s just an issue of money. Because it is less expensive to utilize dangerous plastic than to get safe plastic, a factory in, say, China is more likely to choose the less expensive option.
Unfortunately, there is no regulatory body in place to ensure that your dog’s toys are safe. In a perilous world, you must do the best you can.
How Can You Tell if a Rubber Toy is Dangerous?
How can you find it out on your own if there’s no central database of safe toys and no regulatory authority that says which toys are dangerous? You have a few alternatives, to be sure.
Look for product recalls or advisories.
The first step is to discover if the toy or the maker is subject to any active or archived recalls or warnings. The FDA will issue a recall or warning for particularly harmful toys from time to time, which you may discover here.
You may also see whether there are any active recalls by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Pet Products Association could also be able to help. If you have any older toys lying around, EcoCenter offers a large library of items manufactured before 2009, but it won’t be of much use for newer toys.
Look into the product or manufacturer’s reviews.
You should always read internet reviews before purchasing a dog toy, whether it’s rubber or not. Look for reviews of the product first, followed by evaluations of the company. Make sure there aren’t any complaints or symptoms of a problem with a poisonous item. You’d be amazed how many well-known companies contain harmful substances in their toys!
On the product packaging, look for any cautions or promises. No toy will be labeled with a large “caution, contains dangerous substances” notice.
You’re on the lookout for the polar opposite. Limit yourself to toys that state expressly that they include no PVC, BPAs, lead, chromium, or other harmful chemicals. A toy that doesn’t explicitly state that it is poisonous isn’t always dangerous, but it’s better to be cautious than sorry, right?
Get yourself a testing kit.
A variety of testing kits are available, most of which may be found at hardware stores. You may, for example, purchase a kit that detects the presence of lead. It’s typically used to look for paint chips in an old house or to test the water in places where lead pipes are present. A rubber dog toy, on the other hand, may be able to detect lead. Unfortunately, buying one for each product you wish to test is impracticable.
Send the toy out to be evaluated. A variety of organisations will examine a product you bring them for harmful or poisonous ingredients. Regrettably, this is rather costly. You might wind up paying hundreds of dollars each item to get it tested, and you might not even get the toy back! It would be preferable if a central regulating agency conducted all of our tests.
What Toys Should You Get Instead?
The best advice we can provide is to stay away from rubber and plastic toys altogether. Sure, they may be safe, but there’s also a chance they aren’t. Are you able to tell? You’ll have to guess and trust a toy maker if you don’t spend a lot of money on testing. Unfortunately, canine toys are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as human toys, and dangerous substances in chewable toys are often marketed and consumed.
Instead, we suggest purchasing toys made of natural biobased materials such as cotton. The USDA, for example, has confirmed that our dog ropes are made entirely of biobased materials. There are no plastic threads, rubber, chemicals, colorants, BPAs, or lead, so you don’t have to be concerned. You don’t have to worry about your dog consuming chemicals or swallowing rubber pieces if they chew on it for hours.
When you’re playing with your dog, make sure you’re following excellent practices as well. Allowing children to chew and play unsupervised is not a good idea. It’s time to take their toys away and replace them if they start tearing them apart. Avoid offering your dog anything too tiny since the bits might get stuck in their throat and cause them to choke.
And, of course, keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior. Any strange behavior, such as excessive barking, limping, slow responses, vomiting, seizures, or other abnormal behaviors, should be taken seriously.
Remember that there is no such thing as a “safe” amount of harmful substances. Even a small amount can be hazardous to a dog, especially one that is small or young. Because their bodies are considerably smaller than ours, a tiny amount of chemicals to us might be a large amount to them. It’s safer to choose dog toys made of all-natural materials to be on the safe side.
We all want our pets to be safe, content, and healthy. Toys play a crucial role in this. You can’t completely ignore toys; after all, your dog requires enrichment and movement. The greatest thing you can do is ensure that your dog has access to the best and healthiest toys available.
Do you have a favorite toy or a healthy suggestion to share? Do you have any experience with a toy that has produced troubles for your dog that you’d want to share with others? Please let us know in the comments area below if you have any questions! Tell us about your dog and their favorite toys; we like hearing about their adventures.
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Do you want to learn more about dog toys? This is a subject on which we’ve written extensively. Other dog toy-related posts may be found here.
In conclusion, In short, the answer is yes. According to the National Institute of Health, dogs are attracted to rubber and will eat it as a source of nutrition. The reason? Because the scent of rubber stimulates their appetite and makes them feel more full. So, when you’re out at the park, look for an abundance of natural rubber toys and put them in your dog’s play area. It’ll keep him satisfied and happy.
What happens if a dog eats rubber?
Is rubber good for dogs to chew?
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