Dog Toy Safety

March 1, 2012

Maddy's hurt tongue

“That was a picture two days later; [his tongue] was probably 4x as big the day before. The picture shows what it looked like for about four days straight and we couldn’t get it to go down. It took IV feedings, antibiotics, and pain killers to get it to go down. He fought to live and I feel it shows the courage of dogs.” – Madagan’s adopter

Recently this dog adopted from BHS required emergency veterinary care because he got his tongue stuck in a dog toy. Unfortunately, this type circumstance is more common than most people realize. Make sure you buy toys made of sturdy materials and that there are no loose pieces that could cause choking.┬áThe toys must be size-appropriate for the breed. Also check that the toys are durable enough for your dog’s level of chewing. If you notice him tearing through his current toys, it is time to discard them and upgrade to a more sturdy toy (dense hard rubber or very hard plastic are good materials).

It is very important for the toy to either have no holes or multiple holes. The problem with a toy with just one hole is that it can create a vacuum. If the dog gets his tongue stuck inside, the air has nowhere to escape, and it can really hurt the dog.

This is what happened to poor Madagan (pictured above). The toy was removed but his tongue immediately swelled up to the point that it was dangerous. He could not eat or function normally for days. Now he is recovering, but this scenario proves that it’s very important for owners to monitor the condition of their dog’s toys daily. The same can be said for rawhide or anything the dog chews – when there are pieces small enough for the dog to try to swallow, it’s time to replace it.

We hope that this unfortunate story helps to keep other dogs safe. A special thanks to Maddy’s owners; we are all so sorry for what happened but we appreciate the feedback and we’re relieved that he’s on the road to recovery!


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