A warning note on dangerous toys (18th July 2015)

A Warning Note On Dangerous Toys

We all like to buy treats and toys for our pets. A quick trip to the vet, pet shop or market will often tempt us with a little present for our furry friend. But have you ever thought that some of these may be dangerous or harmful to our little pals?

Many years ago children’s toys were discovered to be hazardous to their health because of leads in their paints and chemical treatments used in production. Thankfully nowadays regulations prevent this happening, but the pet equivalent is not so carefully legislated. With the market growing rapidly, as our pets become a more important part of the family, many importers and retailers care more about their bottom line and little about the quality of what they are selling us.

In recent years, ongoing animal illnesses have been reported, as a result of exposure to jerky pet treats made in China. Studies are ongoing, but early results show many dogs, and some cats, may contract gastrointestinal illness, kidney, urinary or liver issues, convulsions, skin irritations and in some cases even die due to these items. These treats are made from or include chicken, duck or sweet potato which can contain multiple chemical or microbial contaminants – salmonella, metals, pesticides, antibiotics, micotoxins, rodenticides and other poisons. Other rawhide chews, pigs ears and trotters are also chemically treated in the stretching and shaping process. A form of antifreeze being one of the common ingredients!

Vinyl or PVC toys can also contribute to accumulated poisons in your pets’ blood system. Material ingredients such as chlorine may cause cancers, reproductive issues, developmental problems and immune system disfunction. Phthalates and BPA, used to make the material flexible, and found in toys,leads, collars, bedding and carriers, is equally harmful and may be detected by its strong smell. Ceramic dog bowls, with brightly coloured, painted decor may also be decorated with toxic paint, especially if made in China. Doggy tennis balls may also have lead in the written inscription. A study carried out in the US found that 45% of toys examined contained one or more toxins such as lead, arsenic, bromine or chlorine.

So what is safe to play with? Well, there are a few manufactures who care enough to make their products, toys and accessories with safe, natural materials such as bamboo and rice husk, rubber, cotton and hemp. Check labels for the phrase ‘BPA Free’. Make your own! Stuffed socks, plaited rope, fabric or towels and cardboard tubes can all provide some fun. Some cuddly toys too are loved by many breeds – but ensure the absence of small parts that may be swallowed and stuffing which if swallowed may cause a blockage. As with children, it pays to supervise their play!

Treats are no substitute for a natural healthy diet and only intended for occasional use in small quantities, so look for natural, preservative free options or ask the butcher for a marrow bone of the right size for your dog. Do not give cooked bones as these may splinter, or too small a bone which may cause choking. The same rules apply for the good old traditional stick! Small ones may splinter and some barks may upset tummies.

After reading all of this, you may resort to a paranoid binning of all things pet! Rest assured there are plenty of lovely locally made treats and healthy options out there and safe toys and accessories. As with the pet food, take time to read the labels, favour British manufacturers with your business and support your local pet trades. If in doubt ask, and at the end of the day…enjoy your pet!

The above information is by kind permission of Hilary Hunter, a friend of CTRF from Ellie’s Pet Emporium which promotes natural health solutions for pets.
Website: Ellie’s Pet Emporium

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