Why You Shouldn't Leave Dogs Unsupervised With Toys

April 16, 2024 in Dog

Leaving a dog unsupervised with toys can seem harmless. After all, toys are vital to pet care, providing stimulation, entertainment, and even dental health benefits. However, a simple playtime can turn dangerous without proper direct supervision, posing several risks, including choking hazards and unintended ingestion.

 Dogs Unsupervised With Toys

Understanding the Risks

  • Choking Hazards and Blockages. Toys are generally designed to be sturdy, but not all toys are suitable for every dog, particularly power chewers. The choking hazard is one of the most significant risks associated with leaving a dog alone with toys. Small parts breaking off from toys, like a Benebone Wishbone, can easily be swallowed and lodged in a dog's throat or intestinal tract. Such incidents can lead to emergency situations requiring immediate veterinary care.
  • The Problem with Power Chewers. Not all dogs are gentle with their toys. Power chewer dog toys are made for dogs that chew with significant force. Even these tougher toys can break into smaller pieces, leading to potential ingestion and gastrointestinal blockages. It's important to select toys that match your dog's chewing habits and to monitor their interaction with new toys.
  • Selecting the Right Toys. Choosing the right toy for your pet is crucial. At Forever Vets, we recommend that pet owners consider their dog's size, breed, and chewing behavior before purchasing toys. For example, a Benebone Wishbone is engineered for durability and can be an excellent choice for dogs that chew vigorously. However, even with robust toys, the need for direct supervision cannot be overstated.

The Role of Direct Supervision

Direct supervision goes beyond just watching your dog. It involves interacting with them, understanding their behavior with different toys, and knowing when to intervene. Supervising your dog helps prevent accidents and ensures that they are safe and getting the most out of their playtime.

Implementing Safe Play Practices

Ensuring the safety of your pet during playtime is crucial. Here are some detailed practices you can adopt:

  • Regularly inspect toys for any signs of damage or wear. Frequent inspections of your dog's toys are essential. Look for any signs of tearing, cracks, or small pieces that might come loose. Such damage can turn even the safest toys into potential hazards. It's important to check the toys before and after each play session, ensuring they remain intact and safe for your pet's use.
  • Replace toys that show signs of breaking apart. Once a toy shows signs of significant wear or damage, it's time to replace it. Broken toys can have sharp edges or small pieces that a dog might swallow, leading to internal injuries or blockages. Always have a few backup toys handy to rotate them out, keeping your dog engaged and safe.
  • Choose size-appropriate toys that your dog cannot easily swallow. Selecting the right size toy is as important as the material it's made from. Toys that are too small can be swallowed whole, posing a serious choking hazard. Make sure the toys you choose are large enough that your dog cannot fit the entire toy in their mouth or throat, yet small enough for them to comfortably chew.
  • Always supervise playtime, especially with new toys or if your dog is a power chewer. Direct supervision during playtime is critical, particularly when introducing new toys or if your dog is known to chew aggressively. Paying attention to the way your dog interacts with different toys can help you gauge whether a toy is suitable and safe for them. This active involvement also helps prevent behavioral issues such as possessiveness over toys, as you can guide your dog on how to play safely and appropriately.

What to Do in an Emergency

Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. If you suspect your dog has swallowed a piece of a toy, it's important to act quickly. Symptoms like drooling excessively, pawing at the mouth, gagging, or distress are signs of a choking hazard and require immediate attention.

For emergencies, Forever Vets offers prompt, compassionate care. Learn more about our emergency services here.

The safety of your pet is paramount. While toys are an essential part of a dog's life, they come with risks requiring direct supervision. By choosing appropriate toys, regularly inspecting them for safety, and never leaving your dog unsupervised while playing, you can help ensure that playtime is always safe and fun.

Remember, if you ever have concerns about your pet's toys or their safety during play, don't hesitate to contact Forever Vets. We're here to help your pet lead a happy, healthy life. Visit us at Forever Vets for all your pet care needs.