Why is Carefully Cleaning Your Dog’s Toys Important?

Cleaning your dog’s toys is critical for the health and safety of you and your pet. First, even infrequent use can lead to buildup of bacteria and dirt over time. Not only will your pet’s saliva invite bacteria, but it attracts dirt as well. Either of these can be harmful to your pet. Plus, the dirt and bacteria can transfer to you or other family members during play. Consider simply the “gross factor” of a dirty toy. If you don’t want to touch it, do you really want it in your pet’s mouth?

Cleaning also provides a great opportunity to inspect your dog’s toy for damage. Damaged toys lead to a high risk of choking. Throw away any toy that has pieces missing or parts dislodged or hanging off. Similarly, holes or cracks in the toy signal a high likelihood of parts ready to break off, so you’ll want to toss these away as well.Image of a pug chewing on a chew toy

Consider cleaning and inspecting your dog’s toys about every two weeks, or at any sign of filth or odor. Taking the proper safety measures and using the right materials when cleaning your pet toys is vital. Harsh chemicals such as those found in disinfectant sprays can poison your pet. Similarly, bleach or other common household cleaners can also prove toxic for your furry friend. For that reason, let’s look at safe, proper cleaning methods for a variety of dog toy types.

Cleaning Hard Chew Toys

Hard chew toys encompass a wide variety of common toys such as rubber bones and balls. While some of these may be dishwasher safe, always check the manufacturer guidelines before placing any pet toys in your dishwasher. Many toys will warp or even crack and break if placed in such high heat. If you are in any doubt, choose instead to wash the toy by hand. It’s an easy process. Simply hand wash the toy in a basin or bowl of warm soapy water. Alternatively, you can use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. Scrub thoroughly to remove dirt, but don’t use harsh metallic scrubbers or scrubbers with bristles, as these may actually tear away at the rubber and damage your dog’s toy.Image of a puppy with a toy

Cleaning Soft Dog Toys

Your dog’s most beloved toy may be soft. They may be plushies or even have a squeak toy inside. In many cases, you may simply wash these in your laundry machine, but only if stated so by the manufacturer. If gentle cycle washing is allowed, use only safe, natural detergents, rather than detergents with harsh chemicals or fragrances. Consider using baking soda as a replacement for detergent. About four tablespoons of baking soda mixed first in a cup of water works very well for a small load.

If your toy is not machine washing safe, wash by hand in a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar. Pour the solution in a basin or large bowl, and simply squeeze and wring the toy several times as you would to clean any delicate garment. Ensure the toy is completely dry before returning to your pet. This process helps you to avoid more rapid bacterial growth. Low settings on a home dryer should work fine. You will, however, want to avoid any additives such as dryer sheets. Air-drying also works well, but only on a warm, dry day. Air-drying in a damp area will invite mold and bacteria, so you want the toy to dry fairly rapidly.

Cleaning Rope Toys

Rope toys present a unique difficulty for cleaning, as rope toys aren’t smooth like hard chew toys. They have porous grooves, making dirt and bacteria hard to reach. Plus, they are too clunky for your washing machine. Instead, consider microwaving them. One minute to 90 seconds on high should kill the emerging bacteria, depending on the size of the toy and your microwave’s power. Alternatively, consider placing your dog’s rope toy by itself in your dishwasher. Just don’t add detergent or other cleansers. Instead, allow the high heat and pressure of your washing machine to work its anti-bacterial cleaning power. Whichever method you use, be sure to allow your dog’s rope toy to cool fully before returning it to your pet.Image of a dog with a rope toy

Shop RexiPets for the Highest Quality Pet Toys

Replacing your dog’s toys requires careful consideration. RexiPets provides safe, premium quality toys for both dogs and cats shipped from the USA.  You’ll find only the highest quality grooming supplies for your pets too. Plus, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and every purchase helps rescue dogs and cats. See how we earned our 5-Star Customer Rating and browse the RexiPets online store today, or contact us to learn more.