If you’re a pet owner, no doubt you pamper your pet with a variety of cute toys that will allow your cat(s) or dog(s) a chance for them to play and perhaps even give them exercise, but just how safe are some of those toys? My question came to mind as I’ve been seeing a good number of my on-line friends talk about buying the seemingly new pet toy craze: that is the Crinkle Ball Toy. But my question of safety factors for pet toys isn’t limited to the Crinkle Ball, but other pet toys as well.
One of the real problems as I see it, while one may hear of numerous recalls for products targeted for children on TV media news, one will rarely hear of recalls for products for pets. We are also more aware of foods for human consumption that are recalled, but with a few exceptions, we hardly ever hear of any massive pet food recalls. To be knowledgeable of recalls of any kind of pet products, be it toys or food, one has to turn to the internet.
Think of all the children’s products that have been recalled in the past few years of toys found containing lead paint to a good number of strollers that have had defects in them. There is a seemingly common denominator and factor involved when it comes to products made for both children and pets, and that is the vast majority of them are made in China where safety standards are less diligent.
Now let me to explore and bring up some issues and concerns about pet toys.
Back in 2008, I very vividly remember hearing the story about a dog owner who had bought a popular chew toy, called the Pimple Ball With Bell and made Four Paws, Inc. While playing with this ball, somehow the dog’s tongue got caught into the hole of the ball and despite efforts for the owner to remove the ball, the owner wasn’t able to as the dog’s tongue quickly became swollen. The owner took the dog to a vet to have the ball removed, however, even with the ball surgically removed, the dog’s tongue continued to swell and the tongue eventually had to be amputated. You can read the whole story here.
One very popular toy for cats is known as the Lattice Plastic Ball with a Jingle Bell. Many years ago as a treat for my cats around Christmas time I bought a large Christmas stocking filled with a variety of cat toys, one of them being a few of those Lattice type balls. I refrained from giving my cats this type of toy as right away I saw a potential hazard. The lattice plastic part of the ball was rather flimsy and could easily be broken. I also saw a potential danger of that jingle bell, that if the plastic part of the ball was broken, a cat could possibly swallow that jingle bell, not to mention the plastic part of that ball as well. What did I do? Simple, I threw them all out.
Before I go on, I wish to mention something about those jingle bells. A pet owner may notice that those small jingle type bells seem to appear in or on a lot of pet toys. I suppose the idea behind having them included is to attract the attention of the pet, but in my mind they should be eliminated as there is too much of a risk of that jingle bell being accidentally swallowed by a pet. A good while ago, I had bought a mouse-shaped toy filled with catnip. Dangling from the tail part which was made out of string was, yes, a jingle bell. Not only did I cut off the bell, but the tail part of the toy. My advice then that if you do get a pet toy that has one of those shiny metal jingle bells is to cut them off!
Feather toys also seem to be popular for pets however, I question the safety factor of these toys as well. Yes some of those feather toys are “cute” and often brightly colored to attract the attention of a pet. However feathers are easily torn apart, and there is the risk of the feather being swallowed, and what about the safety factor of the dyes used to make those feathers so colorful? I mention the later as I often have made crafts that call for feathers, usually the “marabou” type of feathers, and yes they are brightly dyed. In handling the feathers that are dyed red, blue or yellow, some of the dye comes off on my hands. Needless to say, I keep the feathers I use for my crafts sealed up and stored in a container so there’s no potential of my cats getting to those feathers.
Beware of any pet toys that are made of “fur”, yes real fur. Some years ago I bought a mini-condo for my two cats. With the condo was a mouse shaped toy and yes made of real fur, not only that, but the fur was dyed a sickly orange color. The irony of any pet toy made out of fur is that it can be made from any type of fur bearing animal such as rabbits, but more horrifying believe it or not, possibly made from dog or cat fur from the Chinese fur trade where cats and dogs are skinned alive. If you don’t believe me, google “Cats and Dogs Skinned Alive In China”; it will absolutely repulse you.
Rawhide Dog Chew toys can also be suspect in their safety factor as well since many are treated with a whole array of toxic chemicals, including FD&C Red 40, which is a known carcinogen, sodium benzoate, arsenic, formaldehyde. Chemical “concoctions” isn’t limited to rawhide type dog chews, but two years ago a toy called Snuggling Furry Friend, and sold by Petco also contained Trimethyl Benzene, Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Naphthalene. One can read more about rawhide dog chew toys and about the Snuggling Furry Friend toys in the articles I provide in my Sources section.
Now to discuss those Crinkle Ball Toys which I’ve been wondering about for awhile and are increasingly becoming more popular. All those Crinkle Ball Toys are made from Mylar which is a shiny plastic. I can’t help thinking that such plastic I can be easily ripped apart when a cat plays with them and perhaps chews on them, so once again here we have a potential choking hazard. Also, these Crinkle Balls come in a bright, dazzling array of colors to make them more attractive; attractive for whom I don’t know, certainly not the pet but more for the owner. I went on a search to see if anything has yet been mentioned about the safety factor of these Crinkle Ball Toys and came across a posting by a cat owner on the Pet360 website. The owner mentions how when one of these Crinkle Ball Toys fell into her cat’s water bowl, the water had turned red from the dye of the ball. She then suspects that her cat drank this water laced with the red dye from the toy as she found vomit nearby the water dish.You can read the entire posting here: http://community.pet360.com/t5/Whole-Cat-Health-Wellness/Are-Crinkle-Ball-Toys-Safe-For-Cats-Or-Not/td-p/45091
So what is a pet owner to do? Naturally we want to pamper our pets with toys for them to play with. But for the safety of your pet, refrain from buying pet toys made in China where standards and quality of materials used are suspect. Do some research in buying toys for your pets. There are plenty of pet toy manufacturers right here in the USA. To find such toys, google “Natural or Organic Pet Toys” and you’ll be surprised by how many websites come up. One of my favorite natural toys to buy for my cats are anyone of the products made by Yeowww and a lot are sold over at Amazon.com.
Lastly, your pets are your “children”, don’t you want them to be safe? All I can say is to be a conscientious consumer. Research, research, research!
Dog Chew Toy
Rawhide Chew Toys
Massive Recall of Children’s Toys From China Due to Lead
Natural or Organic USA Made Pet Toys:
Purrfect Play Website:
Only Natural Pet: