If we buy toys for our pets, they will possibly spend all day biting and playing with them, but it is also possible that they chew and even eat pieces of their toys, mostly plastic and with plastic additives that are counterproductive to the health of your faithful companion.

Have you ever wondered what those materials do to your developing digestive system, not to mention the rest of your body? Could these artificial components cause problems for you in the future?

According to studies around the world, some plastics and their additives can harm our pets. But despite this, there is really no regulatory body responsible for safeguarding the levels of toxins in pet products.

There are a few places you can research to find out if your pet’s toys have been tested for safety, but no one is really paying attention to what companies are putting on their products.

The upshot is that today’s pet toys could contain a cocktail of chemicals, many of which you’ve probably heard of because they have been banned from being added into products that come in contact with children.

But while these products have come under increasing scrutiny for use in children’s toys, pet toys continue to fly under the radar, even though many of the tests used to draw these conclusions were conducted. in animals.

Hazardous Plastics and Plastic Additives Found in Pet Toys

These are some of the plastics and plastic additives that have been found in pet toys over the past decade.

1. PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

PVC has been called the “poisonous plastic” because many of its ingredients are known to leach out throughout its life cycle. These same ingredients also prevent it from being reusable. Less than 1% of PVC, also known as “vinyl,” is suitable for recycling.

The ingredients used to soften PVC can also be harmful to your pet, especially when chewed, licked, chewed, and inhaled. And this is the behavior that your pet engages in regularly.

These same ingredients have been shown to interfere with child development, making it even more important to avoid them in toys given to puppies.

2. Phthalates

If you ever wonder if your new dog toy contains phthalates, smell it. Phthalates give vinyl its characteristic odor. If your dog or cat’s toys continue to smell over time, they contain a high level of phthalates.

This ingredient is known to cause problems with the kidneys, liver, and reproductive systems. Dogs absorb phthalates more easily because they bite, chew, and lick whatever they play with.

3. BPA

Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is added alongside phthalates to prevent them from breaking down, has its own list of harms. This is linked to forms of cancer and endocrine disorders. BPA is a controversial substance currently under review in a variety of circles.

4. Lead

Long known as a neurotoxin that interferes with cognitive development and functions, lead was a major problem in older products, but it is still used in some new imported painted toys.

In a study conducted between 2008 and 2010, 48% of the products tested contained lead. About half of the products had lead levels above the standards set for children’s toys.

5. Alkylphenols

This family of organic compounds is often used in conjunction with phthalates or PVC plastics. One member of this family, the nonphenols, is restricted by the European Union due to its persistence and toxicity.

The importance for a pet of being able to play safely

Pet toys are an important part of your pet’s life. For both cats and dogs, toys can help combat boredom when you’re not around them and prevent problem behaviors from developing (does anyone chew on shoes?).

They can also provide comfort when your pet is feeling anxious and help stimulate the brains of growing pets that develop a variety of social behaviors when interacting with you and their toys. Using them is also a great way to bond with your pets.

In addition, there is also the benefit of physical exercise that pet toys provide. Collecting, chasing, hiding, and finding toys – all of these keep your pet active and busy. That is why more and more people are demanding changes in the pet products industry. And there is more information available than ever.

What can you do to make sure your pets’ toys are safer?

To ensure that our pet can play and be in contact with materials without plastic additives and that are not dangerous to their health, we can follow some of the following recommendations.

Pay attention to the numbers

Keep an eye out for the # 3 recycling symbol on the bottom of your products. This symbol indicates vinyl, and that’s something you’ll want to avoid. However, not having a number does not guarantee the safety of your pet, since toys without a recycling symbol can also be made of vinyl.

Check the labels

Buy pet toys with ingredients that are clearly labeled and avoid the ingredients listed above. If you can’t find the ingredients on your product’s label, call the manufacturer of the product and ask. Also look for the presence of formaldehyde, bromine, and melamine, which are equally harmful.

Stick with untreated products

The untreated material is very important. Take into account the way the toy is made, the way it is dyed, or if the manufacturing of its materials involves some kind of chemical extraction or cleaning process. All of that is important.

See the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Many products or their ingredients have a Material Safety Data Sheet. This is a document that identifies any potential hazards associated with a product or ingredient. Check with the toy manufacturer about what they have available.

Stay with the natural

Natural hard rubber, latex (if your dog doesn’t have a latex allergy), hemp, and wool are good options for pet products that won’t introduce toxins to your pet.

You can also get creative and use old t-shirts or pillowcases. The Humane Society recommends giving your dog safe toys that he can shake, carry, roll, and make him feel comfortable.

Grow your own toys

Most pet owners know that pets love grass. They roll on it, play on it, chew on it… Fresh, organic grass is a natural treat that can satisfy your pet’s need to chew on something green while at home.

It is also a great detoxifier. Try growing a little for your dog (barley) or cat (wheatgrass).

A member of the family

Until regulations are in place to safeguard what pet stores and online retailers offer pet owners, it is up to you to ensure that the products you choose are as safe as possible.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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