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Warning: Don't give dogs children's stuffed toys


Tommy Coyote
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According to the Snopes article you posted, it's not the fire retardant but rather the chemical the polyfil stuffing is treated with to retard growth of bacteria and mold. But the vet was only speculating as to that cause-effect relationship, since it's anecdotal and she spoke with only one manufacturer after the incident with the first dog she treated. I just don't give my dogs anything stuffed anymore because I don't want to deal with stuffing all over the place....

 

J.

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According to the Snopes article you posted, it's not the fire retardant but rather the chemical the polyfil stuffing is treated with to retard growth of bacteria and mold. But the vet was only speculating as to that cause-effect relationship, since it's anecdotal and she spoke with only one manufacturer after the incident with the first dog she treated. I just don't give my dogs anything stuffed anymore because I don't want to deal with stuffing all over the place....

 

J.

I wondered about the polyfil that is in dog beds. I know more dogs that rip into that stuff and probably eat some of it. So far I haven't heard of anyone having bad effects from it but eating that stuff can't be good.

 

I worry because I don't think there are any guidelines for toy manufacturers of dog and cat toys. Its like the lead in the tennis balls. And every single tennis ball I looked at was manufactured in China. It just seems impossible to know what is safe. I don't do anything from China but that is certainly no guarantee. How do you know that the toys that come from this country are safe?

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Its like the lead in the tennis balls.

 

Ok, did I miss something....?? I didn't hear about the lead in tennis balls. I know tennis balls are bad becasue they are abrasive on the teeth, but lead too???

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Ok, did I miss something....?? I didn't hear about the lead in tennis balls. I know tennis balls are bad becasue they are abrasive on the teeth, but lead too???

I'm trying to remember but that was discussed on this board I think by our resident vet LizP. She said there was lead in the tennis balls for animals but not in the ones used for humans. (I apologize in advance if I am not remembering this correctly) We were discussing siezures in dogs that could be linked to lead. I don't like any tennis balls because they all come from China and I don't buy any toys made in China.

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I was just reading my April/May issue of "The Bark" magazine last night (http://www.thebark.com/content/magazine), and enjoyed an article called "Getting the Lead Out of Toys". In it is stated that toys sold by major pet suppliers - Pet Smart was specifically named - have all been tested for lead (among many other toxic compounds). Apparently Pet Smart would prefer to test products it sells itself (more specifically, through a contract lab) than run the risk of a major PR snafu if nasties were to be discovered in any of their products.

 

Caveat: what you 'see' (i.e., what you can measure in analyzing toys) depends on what you 'look for' (i.e., what analytes you specifically seek). What you look for depends on what you're worrying about. There are a lot of examples of chemicals that have been used for decades before people began to worry about their potentially harmful effects. BPA has been just one such example in the news of late. If Pet Smart or anyone else is analyzing for "lead", their techniques won't detect BPA. If they're analyzing for BPA, their techniques may well not detect, say, polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardents (close cousins of PCBs). So take any claims of "we screen fully for toxins" with a certain grain of skepticism. It can't be done. On the other hand, you can't drive yourself nuts worrying about everything.

 

I know the article did discuss the issue of lead in dog "tennis" balls vs tennis balls intended for humans.

 

As it's a current article, I don't think it's available yet online. But there is an earlier article on "Safe Dog Toys" that you may find of interest: http://www.thebark.com/content/playing-it-safe . This article claims that Kong products are safe. We only buy 'tennis' balls made by them (though I have to say I prefer the Chuckit balls).

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As it's a current article, I don't think it's available yet online. But there is an earlier article on "Safe Dog Toys" that you may find of interest: http://www.thebark.com/content/playing-it-safe . This article claims that Kong products are safe. We only buy 'tennis' balls made by them (though I have to say I prefer the Chuckit balls).

 

That "Safe Dog Toys" article is really helpful. I was at Petsmart the other day looking for toys for Daisy and noticed just about every toy is made in China...I really question the safety of these toys. And now thanks to this article, I have some other options to explore. The Kong write up is a bit deceptive though. It does not mention that the squeaky/plush Kong line of toys are in fact made in China according to the packaging. I think they should have mentioned that as the article does bring up the squeaky toys. However, I did notice that the Kong squeaky toys are the only packaging of all the toys I have seen so far at any pet store that does say "Meets US TOY Safety Standards ASTM - F936-07.

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OK - now that I'm home, and can re-peruse the "Getting the Lead Out" article in the April/May issue of "Bark", I can point people to this link, reported in the article:

 

http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/pets/

 

It lists "results" (high, medium, low, "none") for several different contaminants in products made by different manufacturers. Lead, "chlorine", cadmium, arsenic, "bromine", in different sorts of pet items, made/sold by a number of manufacturers/vendors. Tennis balls, chew and tug toys, pet beds, are all included.

 

A caveat: I'm not sure why they're including "chlorine" and "bromine". I would question whether the methods they use can discriminate between, say, "chloride" (the form of chlorine in table salt - not very toxic) and elemental chlorine (in bleach or in Cl2 - a more toxic but very unstable form of chlorine) or organochlorine compounds (the toxicity of which will vary tremendously from one compound to another). I'd be astounded to find chlorine in the form of molecular chlorine in any pet toy. Much more likely to be found either in organochlorine forms or in the chloride ion form than as molecular chlorine. So, I'm not sure you can assess how toxic any "chlorine" they report may be. Ditto the situation with bromine - you really need to know what form it's in to be able to assess whether - or not - it's of concern.

 

That being said, I'd prefer to purchase toys low in lead, cadmium, or arsenic. None of these is particularly beneficial to any pet.

 

Some other key findings (from the Bark article):

 

* more than 45 percent of 400 pet products tested had detectable levels of one or mor hazardous toxins

* of the tennis balls tested, 48% had detectable levels of lead; tennis balls made specifically for pets were more likely to contain lead than "sports" tennis balls. The lettering on one "pet" tennis ball contained 2700 ppm of lead and 260 ppm of arsenic. None of the "sports" tennis balls contained any lead.

* 7% of all pet products had lead levels higher than the 300 ppm allowed in children's toys. Nearly half of the pet collars tested had detectable levels of lead; 27% had lead levels that exceeed 300 ppm.

 

More than one dozen "chemical-free" toys were discovered. One company the article singles out for praise is "Planet Dog".

 

PetSmart claims their products meet federal and other regulatory guidelines established for human safety. They routinely test samples of their imported pet products (using an independent lab), including analyses for arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium.

 

***********************

 

Here's some other thoughts I'll add. If someone claims "not detected" (i.e., "none"), I want to know what the detection limits are - in comparison to levels that might be viewed as "safe". Some methods can detect chemicals at exquisitely low concentrations. It doesn't mean that just because you can detect something, its presence is an issue. I know people who can measure the amount of Advil that would be equivalent to one tablet dissolved in ten Olympic-size swimming pools. It doesn't mean that its presence at these concentrations represents a problem.

 

OK, off the soapbox...

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