WHEN IT COMES TO TOY SAFETY, WE’RE NOT JUST PLAYING AROUND.

New toy day is the best. Even if your dog has a giant basket of playthings, they act as if it’s the very first time they’ve ever seen something bounce, squeak, or roll. But part of being a pet parent is doing the homework that lets playtime be so fun. Here’s how to make the right choices when it comes to pet toys.

THE GUIDE TO DOG TOY SAFETY

PICK THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOUR PET

Great Dane and Yorkies can be best buds, but they shouldn’t share toys. Little dog toys have small parts that a big dog could choke on or swallow. And big dog toys could hurt a small dog’s jaw or break their teeth.

KID TOYS ARE NOT DOG TOYS

Sorry doggos. Kid toys weren’t designed to be chewed on heavily (or at all). Plus, they might have small parts that your dog can chew off and swallow.

KNOW WHEN TO LET GO

We know the idea of throwing away their beloved squeaky pig or favorite chew toy is hard, but they aren’t meant to last forever. The more toys get worn out, the more likely that a part will come off in your pet’s mouth while playing.

WHICH TOY IS BEST FOR YOUR DOG?

TOY DESTROYER

For these tough customers, ripping out a toy’s noisemaker and chewing off arms and legs is half the fun. But unfortunately, it also means they can end up swallowing these parts and having a painful blockage.

DON’T give them squeaky toys or standard plush toys.

DO try heavy-duty toys made of out of natural, non-toxic rubber or a plush toy with extra stitching and mesh barriers that are hard to rip. Just be aware, there’s no such thing as an indestructible toy.

STUFFED ANIMAL HUNTER

Is your dog more into the thrill of the chase than tearing toys apart? Then you can feel good letting them stalk some plush indoor prey.

DON’T let your pet eat the stuffing if they do manage to rip a toy apart. If their tendencies are to do that, there are also soft toys without stuffing.

DO try plush toys for little dogs whose jaws are too small for bulkier toys.

FETCH FANATIC

There’s nothing more classic than throwing a ball for your dog in the yard. But since fetching often leads to chewing, be careful about what kind of ball you choose.

DON’T let them chew tennis balls and rip them apart — they’re a big choking hazard and bad for your dog’s teeth.

DO mix things up with lots of other kinds of fun outdoor toys for tossing around.

TUG-OF-WAR CHAMPION

You always let your dog win but playing with pull toys can sometimes test your dog’s strength. It’s important to be aware of just how hard they’re straining so they don’t hurt themselves.

DON’T let your dog play with this kind of toy if they have neck or back problems.

DO use these pull toys for pets with super strong jaws that need a workout.

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