Toxic Dog Toys: Not Just From China

by Mary Haight on September 17, 2009

Rally for toxic-free toys
Image by dreamsjung via Flickr

Here’s an alert from the not-for-profit Washington Toxics Coalition.  After testing 400 dog toy products with a metal analyzer, they found lead,  arsenic, cadmium, and mercury toxins in toys designed to be chewed, tugged and carried in the mouth.  Half of the pet collars tested positive for lead, and 25% of those were beyond the level of safety advised for children’s toys.

Tennis balls made for pets?  Forget it. Half of the tennis balls tested had lead. So we are supposed to guess which are safe? Just buy the more expensive but non-toxic type made for playing tennis.

And if you’re like me, thinking any toys made for dogs in the US were safe(provided you could find them), well, you and I need to think again.  According to the report, “Whether it’s made in China or not doesn’t matter,” said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal with the coalition. “We found it [toxics] in both American and foreign-made products.”

With our quaint notions of safety in US made dog products put to rest, what are we supposed to do?  The Washington Toxics Coalition suggests we avoid any soft plastic, vinyl, brightly painted, rhinestone, charm or trinket item as likely to contain one or more of these toxics.

Sounds like some manufacturers took the little girl charm bracelets and rhinestone jewelry banned from toys awhile back and re-fashioned them for resale as pet items, doesn’t it?

See report by Seattle’s Denise Whitaker of Komo News. Check Healthy Stuff for specific product information using their search tool.

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7 comments
june lee
june lee

WARNING: CUZ almost killed my great dane puppy. Please check out the following site: http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/pimplebal... On November 22, 2010, Bella, my almost 8 months puppy broke the squeaker of her new toy large Good Cuz and thus a hole was created. This hole turned out to be a powerful vacum and sucked up Bella's tongue into the small hole. What the Cuz did to my Bella was exactly the same as the Pimple Ball did to Chai. Fortunately, Bella's tongue is saved but poor Chai's has been amputated. This whole incident was so distressful which I would not like to repeat it. I have already report the incident to the JW Pet company to request a recall of this dangerous toy from the market. IF THERE IS ALREADY A HOLE IN YOUR CUZ, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE THROW IT ALWAY IMMEDIATELY.

Jim (Doggybytes.ca)
Jim (Doggybytes.ca)

Products containing harmful ingredients in Chinese products shouldn't surprise anyone given all the information that has come out over the last several years about dangerous dog and human products coming out of that country. I have to say that I am surprised that such a large number of American made dog products contain dangerous substances. Staying away from soft plastics makes perfect sense to me. Some Adult toys made from soft rubbers and plastics contain pthalates which are thought to cause endocrine disruption in humans, among other things. Some of the soft dog toys will also contain pthalates and are probably causing similar health problems to dogs that play with these toys on a day in day out basis. I think pet owners really need to put a lot more thought into the toys they give their pets as well as what they feed them. These days, many pets are part of the family and as such, deserve the same attention to ensuring good health as any other family memeber.

stacie
stacie

Thank you for keepin us up to date in the toxic toys!! Its refreshing to know what toys I should buy for my pups! Dog BoardingReno

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Please note: I just checked the link to the video and the video was not working, so I provided the link to the written text. Also the HealthyStuff.org link is up where you can get specific simple ratings on particular products.

Lauren Ofstedahl
Lauren Ofstedahl

Wow! I cannot believe that 400 different dog toys tested positive for lead and arsenic. Even dog collars! That is outrageous. Like you, I assumed the products I was giving to my three dogs were safe. Your post was really an eye opener for me because I never even considered a tennis ball as a classified dog toy, just a ball. The fact that half the tennis balls had lead is very unsettling. As an owner of three small dogs this especially worries me, because as terrible a lead tennis ball would be for them, I cannot image the impact it would have on little 15-pound dogs.

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

I could not agree more, Jim. Pets are part of our families and they are better off with a toy made by recycling socks than some soft plastic frisbee that they put their teeth through in one minute. And all this toxic junk gets thrown out ending up in our landfills, releasing their toxins over decades.

Mary Haight
Mary Haight

Lauren, your comments reflect the same surprise/shock I felt with the numbers of toxic toys and certainly with the Made in USA (false) assumption of safety! Tell all your friends, or just send them the link, because I think plenty of people don't know and are running around buying things made here, thinking they are safe. I threw out all the tennis balls I had--and I thank the powers that be that my 14 lb dog loves his red rubber Kong more than he ever did the tennis balls! People with bigger dogs need to buy their tennis balls from the sports store, not the pet shops, and consider what kind of frisbee style discs they buy...so many of them seem to fall apart quickly according to my "big dog"friends, and that can't be good. I've got a couple of products I'll be writing about shortly, so stay tuned:) Thanks for stopping by.

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