Dog and owner playing with toy
Dog and owner playing with toy

Choosing Safe Toys for Your Small Dog

Small dog ... big personality! He might think he's a big dog, and play like a big dog, but when it comes to your small dog and his toys, size means safety. The rule of thumb is to keep anything smaller than a ping-pong ball away from your dog.

For starters, dolls, chew toys or household items with attached pieces and decorative fabric are major no-nos. And remember, small dogs love to rip at squeaky soft toys and stuffed animals to get at the noisemaker inside. They can easily swallow the stuffing or squeaker in the process. It's a good idea to check your dog's toys regularly for holes and signs of wear and tear.

Also, keep in mind that small dogs have small mouths, so they don't derive much pleasure from an oversized toy that they can't comfortably chew, pull on or fetch. Boredom sets in quickly, and he just might turn to a nearby shoe for fun.

Here's a basic checklist of the dos and don'ts of dog toys.

Avoid these:

  • Fleece, plush or canvas toys with small, detachable parts.
  • Some rawhide knots, sticks and rings that can splinter into small pieces, potentially scratching a small dog's throat or puncturing their intestines.
  • Household items of any sort that are not especially made for dogs.
  • Sticks from trees. They're best left in the park!
  • Poultry or pork bones. These splinter-prone, natural bones are potentially dangerous.

Welcome these:

  • Rubber, vinyl and soft fabric balls that are the right size for your dog's mouth.
  • Tough rubber chews, like those made by Kong®, with a hollow center that you fill with treats or peanut butter. Kong® also makes excellent air toys for chasing and fetching, like their small-dog tennis ball.
  • Nylon bones, which are available in dog-friendly flavors.
  • Plush puzzle or hide toys that are designed to help develop your dog's intelligence while keeping him entertained for hours.
  • Small-braided rope toys that can help clean your dog's teeth.

As always, if you're on the fence about whether or not a toy is safe, consult your veterinarian.

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