.Take a look at your dog's favorite toy for me. (It might take awhile to find it - some dogs just love to hide their favorites so no one else can steal them!) I want you to take a good look at it, especially all the places where it shows wear from your dog's nibbling and chewing. Now, consider the fact that despite their best efforts, many people give their dogs toys that are unsafe to play with. Even the best dog lovers make mistakes sometimes and give their dogs toys that are unsafe. Others don't want to take away a toy that their dog adores because it poses a small safety risk. But trust me...you don't want to take a chance.
What makes a toy dangerous? It's a combination of a number of things. First on the list is how easily your dog can swallow or choke on it. Now, some things aren't too dangerous for dogs to swallow; for example a cardboard toilet paper tube is not especially hazardous. (Obviously you don't want your dog eating these but if they do, it's no big deal.) But other things are clearly not OK for dogs to play with. One of my employees told me the other day that her dog likes to wait around when you're playing board games and steals the dice when you're not looking. This is really dangerous because the dice present a choking hazard. Make sure that no toys you give your dog have small or easily swallowed parts.
Next up is the construction of the toy. Is it easy to chew off bits and pieces? Many cheap latex toys can be shredded within seconds and the material ingested. This can cause intestinal blockages that can mean death within hours. The same goes for stuffed toys with lots of artificial fibers. “Natural” toys like sticks aren't safe from this. Splinters can cut your dog's mouth and throat or lodge in their teeth, resulting in a pricey emergency room visit. This is especially important if your dog is a tough chewer who likes to destroy their toys.
Finally, is the material itself toxic? You can't always be sure of what's inside dog toys. They could contain lead, BPA, or other harmful ingredients that can have lasting side effects on your dog's health.
I urge you to take the time to research your dog's toys before giving them to him. Always make sure that you're buying safe, durable products which will keep your dog healthy as well as entertained.