Pets are a part of the family, so it only makes sense that we exercise scrutiny and caution before giving them things that might be dangerous. When it comes to supplying fun chew or chase toys, we’re typically drawn in by the bright colors, fun sounds, and neat designs of pet toys. Sometimes, we’re also attracted by the price. Unfortunately, there really aren’t any standards in place for safe pet toys, and there could be excessive levels of harmful chemicals affecting our best friends.
Searching for Guidelines
When most pets chew, lick, slobber on, bite, tug, and retrieve toys between the jaws, it doesn’t make sense that these objects aren’t closely controlled or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Luckily, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) does pay close attention to the importance of safe pet toys. Retailers like PetSmart also work toward supplying products that pass certain chemical standards.
At the end of the day, however, it’s up to each pet owner to find and offer the safest products for their pet. When you know what’s at stake, this process is much easier.
The baseline for lead levels in pet toys in the U.S. and Europe is 300 parts per millions (ppm). As we mentioned, when an animal plays heavily with a commercially sold product, the chances increase of exposure to formaldehyde, dyes, lead, arsenic, mercury, and other heavy metals like barium, cadmium, chromium, and selenium.
Health problems vary, but permanent neurological damage is often associated with exposure. Vomiting, weight loss, seizures, and anemia are also possible.
Commonly known as vinyl, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is extremely prevalent in pet toys. Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates are added to vinyl for different reasons, and they’re both highly toxic. They leach into skin, living tissue, air, water, and anything else in the environment. The general rule is that if a product has a strong chemical smell, the more dangerous additives it contains.
When faced with the choice of buying discount store pet toys, consider that safe pet toys cost more because they’re of higher quality.
When used properly, safe pet toys add a great deal of activity and interest to your pet’s life. Please do not forego the purchase of toys; just be sure they meet high standards of safety. Also, the following guidelines apply:
- Do not leave toys out when you’re away from home or asleep.
- Safe pet toys must also include those that do not present choking risks.
- Toys with a single air hole can cause your pet’s tongue to become stuck.
- Watch how your pet chews; take toys away that shred to pieces.
- If the pet toy smells like chemicals, don’t buy it!
- Even toys made of non-synthetic fibers can present choking hazards or GI blockages.
Safe Pet Toys
It may seem like safe pet toys don’t exist, but they do! Please give us a call with any questions; we’re happy to direct you to the right products and nearby or online retailers. When it comes to your pet’s overall health and safety, we’re always here for you!