The Dog Toys And Treats You Should Avoid Buying At The Pet Shop

We all like to spoil our dogs with toys and treats, but as cute as they look, not all products that you can find on shop shelves are actually safe for your dog.

The humane society says that toys help dogs fight boredom when they're home alone, provide comfort when they're feeling nervous, and can even help prevent them from developing certain problem behaviors.

The most common dangers a dog can encounter when playing with a toy, include choking, if the item is too small for them and ingesting parts of broken toys, among others.

Newsweek has gathered expert advice on what items you should avoid buying at the pet shop, and how to choose the right toys and treats for your four-legged friends.

What Toys And Treats Should You Never Give To A Dog?

When buying toys for your dog, make sure you take into consideration your specific dog's needs. Dr. Hunter Finn, a Texas-based Integrative Veterinary Expert, told Newsweek that all dogs are different and they have their own playstyle and chew style, so what toys are good for them really depends on their personality.

Children's Toys

First of all, you should make sure the toys you're buying are specifically designed for pets, as children's toys are not resistant enough for pet playtime, and you should also check that they don't have any toxic components, and that are not easy to break and swallow.

Toys That Dogs Can Swallow

You should also check that the toy is the right size so your pet can't swallow it whole, as these items can get lodged in their stomachs and become life-threatening. The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), says that, as a rule of thumb, if your dog can easily pick up a toy and carry it around in their mouth, they run the risk of accidentally swallowing it.

Stuffings

According to Dr. Finn, toys all have their pros and cons, but depending on your dog's own playstyle some toys may be more hazardous than others.

He said: "The biggest risks are any toys that your pet destroys within minutes to seconds. I have to perform surgery on many dogs who eat the stuffings out of toys for months and as it accumulates in the GI tract it starts to become an irritation and sometimes even a blockage."

He advises avoiding toys with stuffing if your dog is a destroyer. "My rule of thumb for the hardness of a toy is that if it is too hard for you to indent with your fingernail or if it's too hard to slap against your knee without it hurting then it is definitely too hard for your dog to chew on."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that treats are fine for pets as long as they're given in moderation, and they should make up only 5 percent or less of their daily food intake.

Fatty/Sugary Treats

Before buying treats for your dog, you should carefully read the ingredient lists, and look for treats that are low in unhealthy fats and sugar, which contribute to obesity and lead to issues like joint pain and heart disease.

The treats that Dr. Finn really disapproves of, include any types of hooves, bones, double-layered rawhide, and also pig ears.

Pigs Ears

"The reason I do not like pig ears is that many of them are terribly manufactured and there have been issues with bacterial overgrowth/contamination in the past. Not to mention they are very greasy for the most part and can absolutely upset your dog's GI tract or even worse lead to pancreatitis," said Dr. Finn.

Small Bones

If you want to give your dog a bone, make sure it's big enough to prevent your dog from swallowing it whole. Poultry and rib bones are a really bad idea because they tend to break and splinter, and your dog might choke on them.

Bones and hooves, according to Dr. Finn, are also very good at breaking teeth as well as causing GI upset or worse a bowel obstruction.

How To Choose The Best Toys And Treats For Your Dog

Dr. Finn, says that what dog is best for your dog depends on their unique playstyle and chew style, which differs from dog to dog, adding that there are some very durable toys out there that pass his "knee and fingernail test" while also being durable enough to avoid shredding and ingestion for most dogs.

Rubber toys

The Humane Society, recommends active toys, like hard rubber toys, which come in many shapes and sizes and are fun for dogs to chew and carry around.

Toys That Keep Your Dog Active

The best toys for your dog are those that help keep them active, for example, anything they can fetch, like a frisbee, which is one of the best options.

Tennis balls are great for fetching but break easily once a dog chews on them. You should discard any balls that have been chewed through, as they can pose a choking hazard.

Size-Proof Toys

PDSA says that the safest toys for your dog are those they can carry without having to hold the entire toy in their mouth, adding that rubber rings and big squashy balls are ideal, but they must be puncture-proof from doggy teeth.

Low-Calorie Fruit And Veg

Dr. Finn said the best treats you can give your dog, are low-calorie, unseasoned, vegetables or fruits, such as carrots, green beans, frozen blueberries, watermelon slices, and the occasional banana slice.

Dental Clinic-Approved Snacks

In the right quantities, dual benefit treats such as Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved dental chews, also make good snacks for your dog, according to Dr. Finn.

Big Natural Bones

Bones are not particularly advised, but if you want to give your dog a bone, is best to buy a natural bone that is specially treated to be safe for your dog, and the right size so they can't just swallow it.

You should always supervise your dog while he is chewing a bone because bones can splinter and choke your pet, or cut the inside of their mouth and throat.

Dog and toy
A stock image shows a dog playing with a toy. What toy should you get your pet? According to experts that depends on their personality. Getty Images