Saturday, March 1, 2014

Re: What You Should Know About Toys for Dogs and Cats & Contest Winner!

Who can resist buying toys for their pets? We love our dogs and cats; they're much-loved family members and we want to make them as happy as they make us.

Here's a quick run-down of some of the things you should know before you make that impulse buy.

If you think some toys for pets look like toys for babies there's a good reason: at least one company has hired designers who had previously worked for companies that designed toys for babies.  For some people their pets are child substitutes or one more child in the family so the appeal is understandable.

The industry has no watch-dog group (any pun intended)  unlike the groups that test toys for children. The industry is expected to police itself. What does this mean? It means that you will have to shop carefully to insure the toys you're buying are safe for your pet. Is it sturdy? Are there parts that can easily be removed and swallowed? Eyes sewn onto a toy are one such example.

Does your dog love to chew? Is he really tough on toys? Be sure that the toy is well-made and you may even see on the packaging that it's made for chewers who are hard on their toys. 


Be careful when choosing what size toy. Many pets will manage to swallow a toy that will need to be removed surgically.

If you're buying a wand toy for your cat, stay away from those with mylar.  That shiny silver might look attractive to you and your cat but did you know that when playing with a wand toy with mylar a cat can get the equivalent of a paper cut on his mouth? If the interactive toy has string, for example a feather toy, put it away between play sessions. Kitty might get tangled in the string or might find a way to chew through and swallow it, necessitating surgery to remove it.  And it's so much more fun when you make those interactive sessions special by announcing that it's time to play and then the game ends with the toy being put away.

Not all cats react to catnip. They have to have the catnip genes which isn't apparent in very young kittens and usually interest fades when cats are elderly. If your cat loves catnip you should know a few things about the toys. Do not buy the cheapest.  If you take those cheap toys apart they either don't have catnip in them or have a teeny amount. Look for a toy that's refillable so you can keep adding fresh catnip. As for the catnip bolster toys and little squares of fabric filled with catnip, as with any catnip, don't leave it out all the time and be sure to put it away before the cat gets too excited. They also don't need to play with it every day; it should remain special. The best way to store these toys between play sessions is in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer so it will remain fresh longer.

Laser toys aren't always safe. If you're going to play with one with your cat or dog, start the game with the light coming from inside your shoe and end it with the light returning to the inside of your shoe. Why?  Because dogs especially can develop behavior problems looking for that red dot. 

One final note: always supervise your pet with a  new toy to be sure of safety.

I hope you and your pets have a lifetime of fun together!

Now for the winner of the contest posted earlier this week.  

The winner of the dog poetry book, Throw the Damn Ball is:

Elaine Faber.

Elaine, please e-mail your address to me via my website:  There's a link to contact me.   Congratulations!!


Caren Gittleman said...

Great advice about toys....also...I cut off ALL bells from any cat toys. They can be ingested
I also closely watch toys with feathers, many cats, like my cat, try to eat them.
I put the wand toys away as well, better safe than sorry.
I also take an extra step, all of Cody's toys are safely baby gated AWAY from Dakota....don't need him eating cat toys!

Darlene said...

Thanks for your comment, Caren. I cut off anything that can be removed. And the only feather toys I have are the ones that go into the closet between play sessions. Of course the cat toys could be easily swallowed by a dog. A lot of people with both species buy other types of cat toys, nothing that can be eaten by either the cat or the dog!
Glad you stopped by. :-)

Gary Rohde said...

Right Darlene, always supervise your pet when a toy is around. Better safe than sorry. It works for human's too!!!

Darlene said...

That's so true, Gary Rohde! People need to be careful, too. :-)

rescuegal said...

Nice blog, Darlene, with good advice to further keep our animals safe--especially in an area (toys) that we may not give much thought.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much, rescuegal. It's an important topic that I've been writing about for years in magazines but it never hurts to talk about it again. There are always new pet owners who people who have missed one of the articles.