Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Dog Toy Bacteria Danger – Wash or Waste?

on November 1, 2010

Daisy has one toy that has survived her sharp teeth for several months – it’s the only “veteran” in her toy collection. Clearly the best made toy we’ve invested in!

This is the toughest toy I've ever had!

It’s a small stuffed ring with little squares of material protruding from it like stumpy spokes. Every other “spoke” is filled with a crinkly material that makes a crunchy sound when Daisy bites it. Daisy LOVES anything with sound to it.

Lately I noticed that when she plays with this toy, the stuffed ring gets saturated. Not just wet – saturated. It’s pretty gross. Thinking about this, I became concerned about the bacteria that could be growing inside this toy and could possibly make Daisy sick.

Yup, it sure can.

Apparently, stuffed dog toys are notorious bacteria breeders. Your dog can get any number of symptoms from diarrhea to gum issues because of the bacteria growing in toys, and even if your vet gives Puppy an antibiotic to clear up the problem, poor Puppy will just keep getting re-infected if he/she keeps playing with that dirty toy.

It’s been suggested by companies like Hartz that chewing ropes and stuffed toys can “harbor all sorts of microbes”. (::shudder:: ) A US government study found that bacteria can be killed by microwaving bacteria-producers like sponges, and some dog toys can be microwaved safely too.

To keep your dog from ingesting potentially hazardous bacteria, Hartz recommends cleaning these types of toys:

  • Chewing ropes – these can be microwaved for one minute, but it’s recommended that you keep an eye on the rope just in case, and use protective covering on your hand when removing the hot rope from the microwave. An alternative is to run the rope through the hot cycle of your dishwasher without adding detergent. The water is much hotter than running hot sink water over the toy, which won’t kill bacteria.
  • Stuffed toys – wash in your washing machine on the hot water setting; flimsy toys may not be sturdy enough to withstand a wash cycle, but a better made toy will. They should also be able to go through the dryer.
  • Any toys that are breaking or that your dog can bite chunks off should be thrown away. We had a Nylabone that Daisy was able to destroy within a few days at only 4 months of age. However, we found a hard plastic Nylabone specifically made for tough chewers, and she’s been working on that for 2 months. She’s only just now starting to take small shreds off it and make good-sized dents in it. She’ll be getting a new one in the near future!

I put Daisy’s ring toy through the hot water wash with her bath towels and blankets; I use one of the “free and clear” detergents with no perfumes, dyes, etc. to make sure nothing irritating gets left behind. That magical ring went through the washer and dryer and still looks like its ol’ self! And it was only a $4 toy!

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One response to “Dog Toy Bacteria Danger – Wash or Waste?

  1. tiffy40 says:

    Great advice. Tiffy has lots of stuffed toys, didn’t know they could pose a threat to her health, in the washer on hot they go:)

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