Surely your dog has that chewed frisbee or that dangling soccer ball that he will never give up. However, it is important to regularly clean and even replace your dog toys.
Plush toys, squeaky bones, and a good old tennis ball – if you have a dog, you will definitely have a mountain of dog toys. But sometimes you have to part with your favorite toy with a heavy heart.
Because: According to a 2011 US National Science Foundation study, dog toys are one of the ten household items that contain the most germs. For this reason alone, you should regularly wash your dog’s toys.
But how? How often?
Plastic Dog Toys are Often Dishwasher Safe
Most plastic toys can be washed in the top drawer of the dishwasher. We recommend that you first soak the toy in warm water and then use a toothbrush to remove any coarse residue. You can also add soapy water or some white wine vinegar to the water while soaking.
In the dishwasher, you can use the maximum temperature, around 60 degrees, without detergent to keep your dog toys largely disinfected. You can also boil dog toys to disinfect them.
It is best to machine wash ropes or other fabric dog toys. You should follow the care instructions on the toy labels and use only mild detergents or none at all. Under no circumstances should bleach be used as it can be toxic to your dog. After washing, the dog toy should be wrung out well.
Microwaves and Freezers Kill Germs
To kill germs on dog toys, you can put plastic toys in the freezer for 24 hours, or heat cloth or string toys in the microwave. Rope or cloth toys should be moistened before placing them in the microwave for a minute.
But how often should you clean your dog toys? You don’t need to thoroughly clean your dog toys every day. Of course, after use, coarse dirt should be washed off – for example, if there are treats in the toy. However, this is sufficient if you will be cleaning Frisbees, stuffed animals, etc. several times a month.
Dog Toys Need to be Replaced From Time to Time
But no matter how well you take care of your dog toy … at some point, you should replace it. “If the stuffed toy breaks at the seam, it’s time to replace it with a new one,” veterinarian Jennifer Frione tells the Popsugar blog.
Her colleague Albert Ahn adds: “A worn-out dog toy can cause serious gastrointestinal problems if accidentally swallowed.” This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or even constipation.
As soon as the plastic toy gets sharp, or if your dog chews off individual parts, you should also discard it to avoid injury.