Choosing the appropriate toys will make your small dog’s play time richer, while lessening his chance of accidental injury. Safe toys for your small dog can be purchased from pet supply stores or even made from household items, but it’s good to keep these few main safety concerns in mind.
Size Matters With Small Dog Toys
In general, small dog toys should never be small enough to fit entirely in your dog’s mouth, or be capable of being broken into smaller pieces that can stick in his throat. A dog toy that’s too small can easily bounce back in your dog’s mouth and obstruct his windpipe, meaning he could suffocate to death if you aren’t in the immediate area to intervene! Sadly, this has happened to more than one dog. For that reason, small smooth balls just aren’t the best choice for most dogs.
Tennis balls and the larger, hard rubber balls are big enough to stay out of the throats of most small dogs (make sure both kinds of balls are still whole and strong and not cracked).
The small pull ropes found in pet aisles are also a good choice of toy for your small dog, unless you find him attempting to eat the rope when you’re not busy playing. In that case, small fibers and threads from the rope can get stuck in his throat which again can be dangerous, especially if you’re not around to help.
Very high quality, unusual shaped dog toys like Kongs are also a good choice for small dogs. Even much larger dogs find it virtually impossible to chew Kongs into smaller pieces that can lodge in the throat and cause problems, not to mention Kongs can be made infinitely fascinating to your dog by stuffing them with dog treats, peanut butter or frozen beef broth.
Ever thought of getting your small dog a pool?
Most dogs love water, and will adore chasing their toys in and out of the pool. For small dogs, however, it’s terribly important to make sure they can easily clamber out, even when heavy and wet from the water. Make sure the sides of the pool are low and that your dog’s head easily clears the water. Avoid pools entirely for the toy dogs.
Is your small dog a ripper, or does he play nicely with his toys?
Dogs that are gentle can play relatively safely with a wide variety of toys, including small plush animals and squeaky toys. Other, more aggressive dogs need to be kept safe from toys with ribbons, “googly eyes,” or toys containing a squeaker, which can be chewed loose and pose a danger if swallowed.
Materials Matter For Small Dog Toys
No matter how carefully constructed, most dog toys are capable of splitting or crumbling at some point, and being ingested by your dog. This poses two problems. Most dog toy materials are naturally not meant to be eaten, and some can cause digestive trouble.
Worse, if the piece in question is sharp, it can even puncture the dog internally. So it makes sense to select non-toxic small dog toys that don’t contain any brittle materials. The safest route is to stick to high quality latex and vinyl toys crafted specifically for use with dogs. The manufacturers of higher-end products, such as Kongs, have gone to great lengths to eliminate these kinds of risks.
No matter what small dog toys you select for your pet, keeping these main safety points in mind should help you choose appropriate toys for your small dog that leave him happy and entertained — and safe.