Last week we outlined information about the safety of a wide variety of dog products from bowls, to beds, to toys and more.
Before proceeding, we encourage you to learn more about the potential of dangerous chemicals contained in many dog products on the market by reading our post.
Now for our tips to help you find healthier dog products, dog toys, beds, bowls and more for a healthier, happier dog:
1. Whenever possible purchase toys and other dog products made in the USA. It's not to say that all toys in the US are made without dangerous chemicals as there are no regulations, but US made toys are more likely to have less chemicals than the mass produced and imported dog products from other countries, particularly China, where safety standards are less strict.
2. Read the labels of your dog products, and check the manufacturer's website to determine if the product has been tested for toxic chemicals. If not, call them to ask for their product toxicity report. If they don't produce these reports then move to another manufacturer.
3. Be sure and inspect all your newly purchased dog products for loose pieces and parts that may come off easily and become a chocking hazard.
4. Please, please remember that no dog toy is indestructible. Heavy, strong chewers need stronger types of tough dog toys perhaps made of natural rubber. In addition, be sure that the size of toy is right for the size of your dog. Many good manufacturers have recommendations for the size of dog for which their particular toy is made.
5. Supervise your dog at all times when playing with toys.
6. Avoid toys with scrapeable surface coatings and printing, as these are more likely to contain heavy metals within the printing process. In addition, any dog product that has a strong chemical odor, probably contains chemicals. Avoid these products and move to another choice.
7. Avoid toys with foam fillings as they may be more apt to contain flame retardant treated foam. To be sure check with the manufacturer.
8. Steer clear of dog toys with air release holes as they can become a suction trap for tongues.
9. Seek out toys that are made with natural rubber, hemp, and are organic in nature if you can. If you are worried about the stuffing there are a lot of wonderful USA made stuffing free toys on the market now which our dogs love!
10. Check with the manufacturer's website that produces the dog bed your are looking to purchase. Many dog beds are filled with flame retardant materials that can have health repercussions for your dog. Look for more natural materials like organic cotton and beds that are stuffed with safer materials.
11. The same for collars....look for a manufacturer in the US. You can find manufacturers that produce wonderful strong and long lasting collars and harnesses of hemp and other non-toxic materials.
12. When selecting a dog bowl for food or water, look to stainless steel (made in the US and radioactive free) made of the heaviest gauge stainless steel you can find. The heavier the stainless steel the less likely it is to be radioactive. In addition, some ceramic or pottery type bowls may contain lead that can leach into your dog's water or food. Unless they have been tested, it's best to avoid these types of bowls.
Don't forget, all the products, including beds, bowls, collars, toys and more, listed on our website - Raise A Green Dog - have been pre-approved to not contain any toxins and are perfectly safe for your dog. Be sure and visit all of the RAGD partners on our site for more information.
And if you'd like, you can made a wonderful array of dog toys and other products, from beds, to coats and more from natural materials around your home, just do a search for 'DIY' on our blog for great ideas!
Photos courtesy of Kyle May, H. Michael Karshis,and Nate Steiner.