Sunday, September 23, 2007

Safe Toys for Labradors

Labradors are wonderfully playful dogs. They enjoy all kinds of play things--sticks, a plastic bottle, dead squirrels, and furry doggy toys. Most owners don't want their dog to be deprived of anything so there is an abundance of all kinds of toys about. I have an entire basket of toys and shelves filled with them. Some are in various forms of disrepair but they are still old favorites for the dogs.

But what kind of toys are the safest? I think that Kong toys and Nylabones are probably the safest toys. Labradors love to chew so these toys are really close to indestructible. You can fill the Kong toy with peanut butter if you don't mind a mess. I also like Zanies but recommend that any furry cloth toy be used only with supervision just in case the Labrador decides to rip it open, eat some of the stuffing or the squeaker inside. Large hard plastic balls that can be filled with water or sand are also fun for the yard. There is one of these in each of the kennels and they get bounced around and played with a lot.

I would never recommend toys such as a tennis ball (except for throwing) because they can be easily chewed apart. I also don't like tug toys because it can teach a dog to not "give" up what it has in its mouth and may contribute to a "hard" mouth which isn't desirable for hunting.

Neilley, aka The Pinkster, is shown above with her newest toy, a large frog. Her human mom and dad supervise her and make sure that she doesn't chew off one of the frog legs. That can always be a danger with some of the cute stuffed toys that are available. There was a scare in 2006 with Greenies that became lodged in the esophagus and caused fatal obstructions.

A study was conducted that showed that compressed vegetable chew treats, of which Greenies is the most popular, are now the third biggest cause of esophageal obstruction in dogs behind bones and fish hooks. Greenies are made of digestible products like wheat gluten and fiber, but the molding process makes the treat very firm and hard. Rawhide chews can also cause obstructions and have preservatives such as arsenic and may include antibiotics, lead and insecticides.

So if you purchase toys for the dogs, make sure that they are safe and fun.


trixie said...

Imagine that green frog as another black lab and you can envision our two Surry girls playing together.

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drstacey said...

Yes, my Tweedle loves her toys..I have a variety of toys for her, from stuffed animals with squeakers in them to rubber balls and rope. She loves to chew on the stuffed animals. When she gets a new toy, she is so excited that the toy lasts maybe 5 - 10 min. before they are damaged. They have to then be thrown away, or I find myself sewing up the toys, where she has damaged them, so the stuffing is not all over her and the floor and our house...She really loves her giant red kong filled with cream cheese and/or peanut nutter, and puppy bisquits...This occupies her for a while.

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