Young puppies often get into different kinds of troubles and pet owners need to be particularly careful to keep them away from danger. The things that dogs chew on usually present the largest danger and are the most common reason for vet visits.
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Puppies will generally put anything into their mouth, but even some dog products you'd expect to be safe for a puppy can be dangerous. Although many of the below listed dog supplies are perfectly fine for adult dogs, they can become a hazard to puppies.
1. Soft Plastic and Rubber Toys
These dog toys are very common in households, especially rubbery toys that dogs adore. However, they can be toxic to young puppies or even adult dogs since there are questions about their safety due to the way the plastic materials are manufactured.
“We found that the aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates.”
For example, a study from Texas Tech found that many dog training aids and toys, especially fetching or training batons, contain dangerous chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. Lead researcher Phil Smith, an associate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology at Texas Tech and Kimberly Wooten, showed that the percentage of these dangerous chemicals in dog toys is higher than it is in children’s toys.
The study also showed that old or worn-out dog toys had increased concentration of both phthalates and BPA. These chemicals can affect the health of developing fetuses, although the exact level of danger for puppies is still uncertain. However, this research prompted pet supplies manufacturers to make BPA-free dog toys, so try to seek out those, and particularly USA made dog toys, when you buy something for your puppy.
2. Rope Toys
Rope dog toys can also be dangerous for puppies because small threads can get loose and then swallowed. If your puppy is an enthusiastic chewer, be careful with rope dog toys.
These threads can build up in puppy's digestive system with time and lead to a blockage, which will then require a surgery to remove. If your puppy has rope toys, check them from time to time to make sure that there aren’t any loose threads.
3. Ball Toys
Balls are some of every dog's favorite toys, but small balls can become slimy from your puppy's saliva and slip down his throat. Tennis balls, on the other hand, are dangerous for puppies since they can chew off the covering and then swallow it.
Choose bigger balls that don’t have any coverage for your puppies, and know how to choose the right dog toy for you pooch based on his age, size, personality and other factors.
4. Soft Plush Toys
Puppies love soft and plush toys, but the stuffing from them can come out and present a choking hazard. It can also cause stomach blockage if swallowed.
Choose strong, sturdy toys that can’t be ripped open. Also, remove any parts from your puppy's toys that can be easily swallowed, such as buttons, bows or beads.
Foods and Treats
We already know that dog bone treats can be dangerous for adult dogs, but puppies are at a much greater risk since they have yet to learn how to eat bones. Small bones can be swallowed whole and cause choking, so if you have to, choose big enough bones.
Avoid poultry and rib bones since they can easily break and splinter, and all cooked bones must be avoided and never given to any dog,
If you're into raw feeding, then all poultry and beef bones should only be given raw and never prepared in any way (other than ensuring they're safe). The safest bet is to buy natural bones that are specifically treated for dogs, or to avoid giving bones to your puppy until he grows a bit.
6. Jerky Treats
Jerky treats cause a lot of problems to pet owners, and the FDA has already issued a statement regarding the dangers of jerky dog treats.
Especially dangerous are foreign jerky treats for dogs made in countries such as China since they don’t go through the same safety check procedures as those made in the USA.
As Huffington Post article reported back in 2014, there have been more than a 1,000 jerky-related dog deaths, with many more cases of dogs getting very sick. Most of those cases came from eating jerky treats from China.
If you want to give jerky treats to your puppy, choose those made in the USA and only use jerky dog treats that have been proven and well-rated by other pet owners. Although it is better to avoid them altogether since some of the ingredients can be sourced and imported from other countries.
7. Rawhide Chews
These very popular chewing treats can be the most hazardous for young puppies than adult dogs.
Most pet owners have already read about the dangers of rawhide dog treats, and in general, most of these should be avoided for a dog of any age.
Manufactured from cattle hide, rawhide dog chews are made into leathery strips and then rolled up to form different shapes, usually into a bone shape. While they are good for your dog since they provide a lot of chewing fun and keep your dog entertained, they are heavily processed with chemicals, especially outside of the US, and pose other risks.
In addition to bleach, preservatives and dye that go into making most rawhide dog chews, they also present a choking hazard. Even though they are very hard at the beginning, after a while the rawhide chew turns softer, allowing your puppy to eventually unknot the chew and make it into a gum-like consistency. At this point, rawhide chews become extremely dangerous since they can cause choking or intestinal blockage.
If you wish to buy rawhide chews for your puppy, then you'll need to supervise your dog. Take the chew from your pup when you notice it has turned soft. Make sure to buy only proven and well-rated rawhide chews. Always check that they're made in the USA, and what other pet owners have said about them. Or better yet, buy a safer alternative to rawhides to decrease the risk altogether – bully sticks.
Other Dog Supplies
8. Plastic Dog Bowls
Plastic dog bowls are the cheapest option (you can find them for $2 a pop), but they can also be dangerous for young puppies. Since they are very hard to clean, they often become filled with bacteria, especially if they have started to peel or crack.
Some dog bowls can also release dangerous chemicals when they get very hot. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls for puppies instead.
9. Retractable Dog Leashes
There have been numerous reports on the dangers of retractable dog leashes already.
Although they are very popular because they allow your dog to cover more ground than regular leads and leashes, they can also hurt your puppy because they often cause deep cuts and rope burns. And if you are not careful with them, their length can allow your puppy to run out on the road and get hit by a car.
10. Choke and Electric Collars
Choke/prong collars or chains have a purpose to stop your dog from pulling on his lead. However, this can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to your puppy, causing both emotional and physical harm.
Dog trainers can sometimes use them, but they know exactly what they're doing, how to use them safely and when they are the absolute last option. Most pet owners should avoid using choke collars on puppies or adult dogs.
Last but not least is something majority of dog owners are familiar with, and know about the dangers of shock collars. Electric collars might seem effective for training, but they are disastrous for your dog’s emotional well-being, according to several studies.
Moreover, studies also showed that the same or even better effects can be achieved with regular dog training methods, so sparring the dogs the pain inflicted by electric shocks seems obvious. In fact, these collars have already been banned in many countries across the globe, and you have numerous alternatives to use instead.