Not All Pet Toys Are Safe

Not All Pet Toys Are Safe

Harmful Materials To Avoid in Pet Toys

Ever noticed a  distinct smell of plastic in some pet toys, including soft pet chew toys? This hints at complex chemical content that is often present but unnoticed. Key health concerns revolve around prevalent harmful chemicals like BPA, PVC, phthalates, and parabens. Despite efforts to remove BPA, it lingers, notably in dog toys.

Here is a list of harmful materials and compounds commonly found in pet toys and chews. Be aware of them and keep your pets safe!

1. Phthalates

They are a substantial category of chemical compounds and are frequently introduced into pet toys manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to impart suppleness and enhance chewability. Interestingly, phthalates emit an aroma reminiscent of vinyl.
Indicators like the presence of terms such as "methylparaben," "ethylparaben," "propylparaben," "isopropylparaben," "butylparaben," and "isobutylparaben" within the ingredient list offer clear indications, although most toys do not provide ingredient labeling. The mechanism is straightforward: the more dogs engage with and chew on vinyl or soft plastic toys, the higher the release of phthalates. These harmful substances are mobile and can be absorbed through the gums and skin of dogs, leading to adverse impacts on their liver and kidneys.

2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Commonly called "vinyl," it is a firm type of plastic that frequently incorporates softening agents such as phthalates. Notably, PVC contains chlorine, which is released over time as dogs interact with PVC toys through chewing. This chemical process generates dioxins, a class of widely recognized hazardous pollutants. Dioxins have been established to induce cancer and compromise the immune system in animals. In addition, they have been linked with reproductive, and developmental impairments and associated complications.

3. Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is the fundamental constituent of polycarbonate plastics and holds extensive utility in various plastic commodities available at local pet stores. It is also present in the inner linings of cans containing both dog and human food products. An investigative study conducted in 2016 by the University of Missouri revealed that BPA can disturb the endocrine system in canines, consequently affecting their metabolism as well. Look out for “BPA-Free” labels!

4. Formaldehyde

This compound has a well-established history as a preservative. However, it is equally acknowledged as a carcinogen, with potential health risks from ingestion, inhalation, or dermal absorption. They are meant to be kept in jars to safeguard preserved specimens, yet they are commonly found in rawhide chews.

5. Chromium and Cadmium

Following the laboratory assessments by ConsumerAffairs, the toxicology findings exposed elevated concentrations of these substances in pet toys retailed by a  prominent chain. The excessive presence of chromium poses risks to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and nerves, and it could potentially lead to irregular heart rhythms. Elevated cadmium levels carry the potential to cause detrimental effects on joints, kidneys, and lung functions.

6. Cobalt

In 2013, Petco issued a recall for stainless steel pet bowls tainted with cobalt radiation. This event raised awareness regarding the significance of using food and water bowls that are free from toxins, as well as stainless steel options that have undergone third-party inspections for potential contaminants.

7. Bromine

This flame-retardant substance is frequently detected in furniture foam, including the foam utilized in dog beds. Exposure to elevated levels of bromine can lead to adverse effects such as gastrointestinal disturbances, vomiting, constipation, reduced appetite, pancreatitis, muscular spasms, and tremors upon contact

How Should We Avoid This Problem?

In the process of selecting pet toys, pet owners can implement multiple strategies to guarantee the security and overall health of their beloved animal companions.

Primarily, it's crucial to thoroughly scrutinize toy labels and packaging to acquire comprehensive information regarding the materials used. Additionally, pet owners should steer clear of toys containing tiny components that could potentially be ingested, avoid sharp edges that might lead to harm, and stay away from strings and ribbons that present strangulation risks. Toys with higher risk, such as squeaker toys or string toys, should only be given under supervision. Opting for toys that align with the pet's age and size will be better your pet's safety. Furthermore, it is recommended to regularly inspect toys to assess signs of wear and tear. Discard toys that are breaking into pieces or have pieces torn off. 

Last but not least, pet owners should consider purchasing from reputable brands such as Kong, renowned for their use of all-natural rubber, or Fuzzyard, which employs non-toxic polyester fiber.

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