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Are Your Dog’s Toys Poisoning Him?

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Could your dog’s favorite toy actually be poisoning him? If your dog loves plastic, rubbery toys, it’s not so far-fetched.


According to a presentation by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference, many of the plastic and rubbery toys and fetching batons that our dogs chew on and play with every day, contain dangerous chemicals that may be harmful to their health.

Plastic and rubbery dog toys like this chew bone, may contain dangerous levels of poisonous chemicals.

You’ve no doubt read the warning labels or seen children’s toys and sippy cups advertising that they are now “BPA Free.” BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical added to plastic and vinyl to give it elasticity. Recent studies have shown that this chemical, which had previously been widely used in plastic and vinyl products ranging from cups and dinner plates, to toys and storage bins, acts as endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens when leached into the human body.

These recent studies and warnings regarding chemicals used in plastic and their danger to humans caught the attention of The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, who decided to research the same chemicals and their potential danger in dog toys.

According to Discovery News, Phil Smith and Kimberly Wooten of Texas Tech University co-authored the study. Phil Smith, who raises, trains, and hunts with his Labrador Retrievers, was especially concerned with the fetching batons, or “bumpers,” that are commonly, and heavily, used during training, and plastic and rubber toys that many dogs play with every day, including chew-bones that are given to dogs as a supposed safe alternative to chewing real bones and foreign objects during teething.

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To test for the chemicals, the researchers created simulated dog saliva, then simulated chewing by squeezing purchased bumpers and dog toys with stainless steel salad tongs. Some bumpers and toys were also weathered outside to determine if older toys gave off more chemicals.

“We found that the aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates,” Smith explained. “The toys had lower concentrations of phthalates than the bumpers, so that’s good news. But they also had some other chemicals that mimicked estrogen. We need to find out what those are.”

Wooten explained that BPA and phthalates can have effects on developing fetuses and can have a lifelong effect on offspring of lab animals. Studies on humans have resulted in mixed conclusions, but concern was enough to warrant the U.S. government banning the use of BPA in baby bottles this year.

Many more studies have yet to be conducted, especially regarding the safety of these rubber and plastic toys and the chemicals that are leached into our dogs’ bodies. However, Smith and Wooten’s research indicated that levels of BPA and phthalates contained within dog toys are higher than those normally found in children’s toys.

Luckily, since the discovery of the negative effects of BPA on children, some dog toy manufacturers have already started a trend of manufacturing BPA Free dog toys. Some safe bets in you’re looking to buy dog toys free of these potentially harmful chemicals are Planet Dog, West Paw Design, and Jolly Pets.

For the safety of your pets, look for products that are “BPA Free” or made in the US from 100% natural rubber. If you know of a brand that provides these types of safe dog toys and fetching batons, please share with our readers in a comment below.

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  1. I love my dog more than anything. I will only choose healthy stuff for him. Thanks for this fruitful inspiration.

  2. Avatar Of Jim Hanson Jim Hanson says:

    If you want a safe, strong and durable chew toy for your dog check out Jersey Dog Co. All the toys are 100% made in the USA and contain no rubber, latex or plastic. They are non toxic and BPA Free!!!! and, THEY HAVE A LIFETIME WARRANTY!!


  3. Avatar Of Leslie Leslie says:

    Just don’t purchase anything that is made in China. I no longer trust those items!

  4. Right,they are poisoning our animals. Even down to the dog bowls that they eat out of. And just because it says “Toxic free” doesn’t mean that you are safe. I have contacted a company that says “Toxic free” but they still cannot tell me if there are any BPA’s in it.I’m pretty sure they are also sold on the internet and there is no BPA in deer antler. For those concerned about the buck, you can specifically buy antlers that are collected after they fall off.

  5. Avatar Of Kelvyn Soars

    Kelvyn Soars


    I work in the rubber industry many of the chemicals that are used in the manufacture of rubber articles are not very nice, very often leaving toxic residues in the rubber. There are safer chemicals that can be used, I know because the company I work for manufactures products that go into baby teats, condoms, gloves and balloons, as you can imagine these materials are tested to very high standards.

    I would not trust any rubber dog toy, I have not seen any publish the fact they comply with EN71:12 2016..

    • Avatar Of M Laurie

      M Laurie


      I have a dog that has lost his bark…I am trying out now to see if he improves when we no longer use his very squishy rubber ball that he likes to catch in his mouth and chew on. He starts to wheeze when running…so will just have to trial it

  6. […] be investing in for Fido must be made from 100% safe material that doesn’t pose any sort of toxicity risk for your dog, since they’re going to be having that thing in their mouth for a long times […]

  7. Avatar Of Steve steve says:

    Sit. Stay. Forever. designs and manufactures pet carriers, beds and toys that are constructed from materials that are certified TOXIN FREE / HYPOALLERGENIC in an effort to give our pets and families a healthier life style.


  8. Avatar Of Nancy



    Sumo, Kong replica killed my bird yesterday, the toy was on the top of the crate in the sun, when I came home from work, there was a strong smell in the house, from the toy, and my bird was dead!Never again will I buy ANY of their products!

    • Avatar Of Sarah



      I’m so sorry For your loss Nancy!! My prayers are with you!! 🙁

      Thank you for sharing your story as I was researching info on this topic and almost bought a product by this company right now for my dog and I’m glad I skipped it, I’m so sorry again for your loss but hopefully you’ve helped save the lives of other innocent animals out there as I decided to skip this purchase due to you sharing your heartbreaking story!! Xo

  9. Avatar Of Susie



    I’m a little confused. I see BPA mentioned in relation to both plastic and rubber, but I thought BPA was something used in certain types of plastic? I thought rubber doesn’t have BPA?

    Also, I thought something that says ‘natural rubber’ won’t have BPAs regardless of what country it comes from?

    • Avatar Of Rick



      I bought something online that said natural rubber and non toxic. When I got it, it had a very bad chemical smell. I was uncomfortable letting my dog chew it. I contacted the company. They told me it was nontoxic but couldn’t provide an MSDS or any documentation. It said non toxic in their ad. They wouldn’t take a return. I researched them and found complaints. My point to all of this is that they lie, verbally and in print! There won’t always be an odor to warn you. I’d avoid anything from China for your pets or children. Buy U.S. from a reputable company.

  10. Avatar Of Melissa



    I love my baby’s safe doggie toy and it is on the approved list! Lol Terri I get mine from Celadon Road too! Haha!

  11. Avatar Of Terri



    That is why my dogs enjoy BPA free toys. Look at my selection of BPA free dog toys and chews.
    Check out my website at :

  12. Avatar Of Patti Friedman

    Patti Friedman


    I’m so pleased to see Planet Dog on your list of BPA free toys. I’ve been purchasing their Orbee balls for my Labrador Retrievers for several years. They’re not only BPA free, but they seem to be indestructible.

  13. Avatar Of Barb Canfield

    Barb Canfield


    kongs and nylabones are both bpa free. nylabones come in different hardnesses and sizes so you can customize for your particular dog.

  14. Avatar Of Kelly



    Antlers are a good option for some, but they are to hard for regular chewing. They cause micro fractures and can cause serious damage to your dogs teeth. Your dog should not chew anything that is that hard. Raw bones are a good option, but bare bones and weight bearing bones of large animals are dangerous as they can also cause micro fractures and cause a dog to chip a tooth. These don’t nec happen over night and they wont happen in every dog, but you should be aware of the risks because they can be great.

    We give trachea, frozen cuts, bone with meat on it and other similar things that the dogs system can handle. You can also make other frozen or dehydrated treats that will be more malleable as they chew on them, but still give them a good workout.

    p.s. cooked bone is always a huge NO.

  15. Avatar Of William Parr

    William parr


    My dog loves chewing on look a likes of him, he’s a black lab are they poisoning him. Douglas cuddle toys. He’s a black lab I bought him a large one and he carry sit around.. Though he tears it apart and rips the stuffing out.

  16. Avatar Of Denise Hunter

    Denise Hunter


    In July 2012 my vet said my 8 yr old Dachshund needed dental work over $330 worth. I went and started buying marrow bones for her. 1 a week. The same vet just told me March 5th she has the teeth of a puppy. My answer give them raw bones to chew on always.

    • Avatar Of Tara



      when you say ‘marrow bones’ what exactly do you mean?? both of mine are senior rescues who would be at risk having anesthesia so if i can aide them further (beside dental water additive, cet tooth gel) by giving them whatever it is you spoke of, i will give it a try. we used to have “bone time” when my little girl was still with us, but my very exciteable shiba eats the bully sticks…very HARD bully sticks…so quickly i don’t want any choking….
      any info would be terrific

  17. Avatar Of Helen




    This site lists some that are bpa free incl kong and nylabone.

  18. Avatar Of Dina P

    Dina P


    I am concerned about rubber Kongs and kong squeaky balls now. Hopefully
    They are made in US.

  19. Avatar Of Jen



    The things we have already purchased I mean. Any way to tell?

  20. Avatar Of Jen



    So how do we know if the things we are buying are ok? Or not?

  21. Avatar Of Stacey Weber

    Stacey weber


    It cannot be proven but I bought my lab a soft snowman toy that i didnt notice was from china in november. The red dye was comibg off and about 5 days after that happened he had a focal siezure. Threw it away and he stopped having them…

    • Avatar Of Cindy J Hiebert

      Cindy J Hiebert


      WHAT ABOUT CATS?! How can we tell what is safe for them? My beautiful purebred kitty is my CHILD. DOES ANYONE Care about the cats?

  22. Avatar Of Tracey



    I agree with the deer antler…and they are collected after they are shed. I also give raw bone…

  23. Avatar Of Wendy K

    Wendy K


    I bought a segment of deer antler from a local pet store about 2 months ago for my senior mutt because he tears everything else apart. Its still in one piece, and I am surprised. I’m pretty sure they are also sold on the internet and there is no BPA in deer antler. For those concerned about the buck, you can specifically buy antlers that are collected after they fall off.

  24. Avatar Of Helga Adami

    helga adami


    thanks for the information, I will check the toys now more carefully

  25. Avatar Of Dorie




  26. Avatar Of Patty



    Yes, they are poisoning our animals. Even down to the dog bowls that they eat out of. And just because it says “Toxic free” doesn’t mean that you are safe. I have contacted a company that says “Toxic free” but they still cannot tell me if there are any BPA’s in it. My dogs have very few plastic toys and what I buy cost probably 5xs more than the regular toys. It just ends up being cheaper than the vet bills for problems. Buy nothing “Made in China”. You have to be very, very careful.

  27. Avatar Of Ruth



    whats the alternative? our dogs need to chew – logs and bones?

  28. Avatar Of Carolyn



    Now I am worried, We buy Nylabone toys — how do I found out if they are toxic?

    • Avatar Of Brandy Arnold

      Brandy Arnold


      We’ve confirmed – Nylabones are 100% BPA-free and safe for extended chewing!

      • Avatar Of Steve M

        Steve M


        Be careful, nylabones are very hard and can break teeth and cut gums when they break off and are sharp.

    • Avatar Of Debra Duffy

      Debra Duffy


      If it looks like plastic, it’s plastic. Would you chew on plastic? Buy beef marrow bones from the butcher. No BPAs, just good bone, marrow and live enzymes which only benefits your dog and cleans his teeth! It’s a win-win. And when the marrow is gone from the middle, wash the bone, stuff the middle with yogurt, peanut butter, liver wurst , freeze it and your dog has another treat that will last for hours.

      • Avatar Of Jill



        I have to buy the nylabones my pup chews large chunks off any real bone I give him and he swallows them getting them caught in his gut, are there any suggestions for a very strong dog that has beef allergies and swallows anything?

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