Are Rope Toys Safe For Dogs?

A vet weighs in 🤔

are rope toys safe

Your dog loves playing tug-of-war with you.

And there are so many dog rope toys on the market, you would think those are your best option. But they can actually be super harmful to your pup.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Clarissa B. Lyon, a veterinarian at Larklain Mobile Veterinary Services in Pennsylvania, who explained why rope toys are so unsafe, and what toys you should try instead.

The problem with rope toys

It turns out that rope toys are pretty dangerous for your dog.

“We do not recommend rope toys, as we have concern[s] that the strands of rope or string may be ingested and act as a linear foreign body in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract,” Dr. Lyon told The Dodo.

Linear foreign body is when something long or stringy gets stuck in your pet’s GI tract, causing pretty serious damage.

“These strings or ropes can cause an accordion-like pleating and obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract,” Dr. Lyon said.

Basically, the strands from a rope toy can cause your dog’s intestines to bunch up, or even saw through them like ribbon.

And that’s definitely no good.

Signs of linear foreign body

Linear foreign body can cause symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Abdominal pain

If you see your pup experiencing these signs, or caught him swallowing a piece of rope (or even just suspect he did), you need to contact your vet ASAP, because this is a medical emergency that often requires surgery.

Toy alternatives

Learning that rope toys aren’t actually all that safe for your dog can be a little heartbreaking, since tug-of-war is so much fun.

But luckily, there are toys out there that are great for the game.

“[Some companies] make [tug-of-war toys] that aren’t made out of rope,” Dr. Lyon said.

Like this tug toy from Chewy for $14.99

Or this one from Chewy for $13.95

According to Dr. Lyon, there are a few things you should look for when trying to find a fun, safe toy for your BFF.

“We generally recommend a toy made out of dense rubber that, to prevent dental injury, you can bend with your hands,” she said. “You want to choose a toy that is made out of material that’s not easy to shred … [but] if the toy is too hard, like bones or antlers, it may cause tooth fractures and other oral injuries.”

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