Your dog’s toys are worth every penny. Day in and day out, these virtually pup-proof products stand up to tug-of-war, backyard fetch-a-thons, and super slobber. But even the toughest toys need maintenance from time to time. To keep your dog’s top toys in fighting shape and safe for play, Petplan vets recommend an occasional toy box audit.

It’s easy. Just take a closer look at your dog’s toys. Is that stuffed squirrel losing its tail? Has the mouse toy lost its squeak? And what’s that dried junk on the rope toy? By taking the time to clean (or toss) your dog’s toys you can help prevent all sorts of unsavory situations from choking accidents to bacterial infections. Here’s how to get started:

Various cleaning methods

Dishwasher: After your dog finishes her Kong toy or other food puzzles, rinse it out and scrub the inside with a toothbrush to loosen stuck-on food. Then pop it the dishwasher along with any other rubber, nylon and plastic toys and run it on the hot cycle without detergent. One cycle will wash off all the nasty germs.

Microwave: Rope toys throw out the welcome mat for bacteria, yeast, and mold. But since your dog lives for tug-of-war, it’s worth it to keep these toys around. Just make sure to keep them as clean as possible. All you need to do is remove any metal parts, wet the rope toys and zap them in the microwave for one minute. After they cool off, they’re germ-free and ready for action.

Washing machine: Sticky tennis balls and stuffed toys get a new life after a spin in the clothes washer. For best results, add in a pet-safe detergent and set the machine on a gentle cycle. Then, let the tennis balls air dry and run the stuffed toys in the dryer with some towels to fluff them back up.

Trash can: Wait a minute….that’s not a machine. True, but trash cans are necessary to help keep pets safe from broken toys. Your dog adores his fabric Frisbee but it’s ripped to shreds. Ditto for his favorite stuffed toy with the chewed-off plastic eyes. It’s sad, but the time has come to part ways with these well-loved toys. They may be tough, but once they start missing or dangling broken parts, they’re dangerous choking hazards waiting to happen. So go ahead, start sorting through that toy box. This way, you’ll get your paws on any trouble makers (before your dog does).

Sep 29, 2009
Pet Care

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