Dogs love toys! They love their beds, enjoy a good walk with their collar and harness. They wear coats, boots, drink and eat out of bowls; they are in contact with a wide variety of dog products throughout their daily life.
But are these products safe?
Over the years a few wonderful organizations including Consumer Affairs, The Environmental Working Group, HealthyStuff.org, and several well respected universities have tested a variety of pet products on the market and have found some astounding and valuable information of which every dog lover needs to be aware.
Some products on the market that are being sold for dogs may be contaminated with everything from lead to cadmium to chromium, and bisphenol A , phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, also known as flame retardants, arsenic and more.
These dangerous chemicals can lead to a host of health problems for our dogs including allergies, asthma; bladder and lung cancer, gastrointestinal issues, blindness, renal dysfunction, reproductive issues, and a whole host of other health issues.
According to the EWG, 'under current federal law, chemical companies do not have to prove chemicals are safe before they are used in products, including pet toys and other products for our companion animals. For pets as for people, the result is a body burden of complex mixtures of industrial chemicals never tested for safety. Health problems in pets span high rates of cancer in dogs and skyrocketing incidence of hyperthyroidism in cats. Genetic changes can't explain the increases in certain health problems among pets, leaving scientists to believe that chemical exposures play a significant role.'
In addition, there are no regulations over the safety of dog products including, toys, bedding, collars, coats and more.
In 2009, HealthyStuff.org released results of the testing of 1000's of products including over 400 pet products. Their dbase can provide you with ratings information of contamination for a wide variety of pet products. During that year when testing these pet products, they found it wasn't surprising that toxic chemicals were found. 45% of the pet products they tested had detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemicals. And 7% of all the pet products they tested had lead levels greater than 300 ppm -- the current CPSC lead standard for lead in children's products.
Then in 2014, HealthyStuff.org set out to discover more evidence as they tested a variety of products in Walgreens. One product, a package of pet tennis balls, contained lead above 100 ppm, exceeding the CPSC limit set on children’s products.
In 2012, Kimberly Wooten, a master’s student using the project as her thesis, and Phil Smith, an associate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech tested for chemicals by simulating dog saliva, then simulating chewing by squeezing the dog toy bumpers they were testing and with stainless steel salad tongs. They found the toys leached phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), which are used to give elasticity to plastic and vinyl, and are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens and could lead to negative health effects.
And that's not all...
In 2007, two Chinese-made toys for pets sold at Wal-Mart stores were found to contain elevated levels of lead, chromium, and cadmium, according to a forensic toxicologist whose lab tested the products for ConsumerAffairs.com.
So what is a dog loving parent to do? Check back later this week for our steps to find healthier dog products, dog toys, beds, bowls and more for a healthier, happier dog.