Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

March 23, 2012

Pick your pet's toys with care

CNHI News Service —

It is never desirable to leave a pet at home alone, but when it is necessary, it is nice to know the pet will be entertained. But the price of entertainment can be high when the pet is left with inappropriate toys; some toys may cause choking or even require surgery to eliminate the problem.

Buying safe toys for your pet is a must in order to keep them safe from harm. The problem is that most people are not aware of the potential hazards that pet toys may cause their animal.

Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences recommends when looking for a toy for a dog, "Don't buy anything too soft where the dog could bite off pieces and swallow them."

Stickney warns that the dog could choke on these pieces or even swallow them. If the dog was to swallow the pieces, surgery may be needed in order to remove them. Toys that may be too soft are toys made of soft plastic or rubber; these materials are easy for dogs to bite through.

Stickney also recommends that toys not be too hard. He strongly suggests that dogs not be given animal bones. Bones are too hard, leading the dog to chip or even break its teeth.

Stickney advocates the use of raw hide chews, he believes that dogs enjoy playing with them and that they are the safest material for the dog. Stickney also urges pet owners to buy toys that are appropriate for the size of their dog. If the dog is smaller, naturally the toy should be smaller; and the same holds true for larger dogs.

A safe toy is one that the dog can easily hold in its mouth without its teeth puncturing the toy. Yet, the toy should not be small enough to fit down the dog's throat.

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