Cat's and dogs may love their toys, but many are made using cheap materials that can be quite harmful to our pets health. Sadly there aren't any standards to keep toxins out of pet toys.
It's up to the consumer to investigate the safety of a toy before giving it to their animal to play with.
Think about how your pet might carry their toys around in their mouth, lick them, lay on them, chew them and even sometimes swallow them - or pieces they have chewed off. If that toy contained a toxic substance then they are certainly getting exposed to it.
What kind of toxins might you find in a pet toy?
Plastic and vinyl toys commonly contain BPA and phthalates. BPA disrupts hormones, affects the brain and behaviour, increases cancer risk, and other health issues. Phthalates can damage the liver and kidneys but are mostly known to cause various reproductive problems. There are correlations between phthalate exposure and undescended testicles as well as hormone imbalances, Repeated mechanical pressure (chewing) and the presence of saliva speed up the release of phthalates.
Tennis balls for dogs have tested positive for high levels of lead. Leather toys can have high levels of arsenic as it is often used in the tanning process. Plush toys may contain DDT, flame retardants and toxic dye's. None of these substances are good for our pets and the longer they are exposed to these toxins the more damaging the health effects can be for them.
I feel pet owners need to take this information info account when choosing toys for their pets.
Some companies offering non-toxic pet toys are:
Planet Dog, West Paw Design, Simply Fido and Purrfect Play.
Since children's toys DO have standards for levels of toxic substances you can always pick up some used plush children's toys and sew in a squeaker yourself. Watch for any removable pieces like eyes on plush toys that your pet could swallow. I like to remove these or simply stick to plush toys that don't have them.
Of course don't forget about mother's natures toys - sticks and piles of leaves, and mud puddles!
Have you tried any non-toxic toys that you would recommend? Let us know!
Author - Jennifer Lee
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