Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pet Toys Can Be Dangerous

My last blog was about how much pets love new toys, but pet owners have to be very careful and cautious about what to buy.
There are no safety protocols in effect for pet toys. Most toys are made in China and some even contain lead. Pets can become sickened due to lead poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, difficulty walking, abdominal pain, tremors, blindness and even coma.

Some toys have small parts, robe or strings that can be swallowed by pets, but not passed in the stool. This can lead to intestinal blockages. Some of these pieces can actually perforate the intestines or the stomach, or leech toxic chemicals.

Cat owners need to be careful about bungee toys affixed to cat trees, cats have been strangled by the cord.
Dogs have choked to death on rawhide treats. Avoid rawhide toys.
Dogs have gotten their tongues sucked into rubber balls.

If you have a bird, you need to be especially careful. There are a lot of plastic bird toys. These are easily broken up by any sized bird and the sharp pieces can be swallowed. Avoid bird toys with bells as some of these are coated with zinc.

Supervise your pet when you give him a toy. Make sure the toy is size and species appropriate. Purchase products that come from trusted manufacturers and appear to be high quality. (I avoid anything made in China). Balls should have a number of air holes so that suction will not be created when a dog chews on them. Cat toys on strings/springs/elastic bungees should only be used when a cat is being supervised.

There just aren't the same safety measures taken for pets that there are for people. When in doubt, talk with your veterinarian. Most veterinarians have seen accidents that are toy-related and can give you some good tips on what to avoid.