Just like humans, dogs can choke on the things that they put in their mouths. But unlike humans, they’re more likely to gnaw on non-food items, or simply swallow things whole.
If you’ve ever wondered why certain pet toys have weight or size suggestions on them, a big reason is to reduce the risk of that item being a choking hazard. Your Lab may love playing balls of any size, but he is much more likely to choke on a smaller one than a Chihuahua with a tiny snout who can’t even fit the whole thing in his mouth! Then there are other items, like sticks from the backyard or bones left over from dinner, that pose threats you may not have considered before.
Avoid these 10 common choking hazards to help your pooch play and eat as safely as possible!
#1 – Balls
Finding the right sized ball for your dog is one of the most important things you’ll ever need to do. Any ball, of any material, that can fit past your dog’s front teeth is too small and poses a very high choking risk. The ball in the picture above is a perfectly safe size!
#2 – Cooked Bones
Cooked bones are very dangerous for dogs. Not only can dogs choke on whole bones too small, cooked bones will splinter and create an even greater risk by breaking into smaller, sharper pieces. Many people think it’s safe to give their dogs cooked bones, but it isn’t. It’s best to stick to the appropriate chew toys.
#3 – Gristle
Gristle is a popular table scrap given to our dogs, despite its dangers. Gristle is difficult to chew and is one of the most common things dogs choke on every year. So skip the cooked meat and bones, and perhaps offer some plain boiled chicken or veggies.
Sticks remind us of the older days of fetch with our dogs, but they are typically unsafe. Not only can they be impaled in your dog’s mouth when she’s running, they break into pieces and can choke our beloved pets.
#5 – Chew Toys
Chew toys can be very safe for our dogs, but it’s important to find the right kind of toy for the type of chewer you have. A light chewer may be safe with a rawhide or a tennis ball, but heavy chewers will need tough rubber toys that can’t break into pieces. Whatever you buy your dog, make sure he’s never chewing on anything unsupervised unless you’re absolutely sure it can’t choke your dog.
#6 – Children’s Toys
Anyone with children knows it’s nearly impossible to keep all of the toys off the floor, and sometimes our dogs can get ahold of them. But it’s not just our poor kids we have to worry about (hopefully that toy wasn’t a favorite!), we have to keep in mind that toys are very common items for dogs to choke on.
#7 – Rocks
It might sound funny, but many of you probably know a dog that loves to eat rocks. Puppies especially love to swallow them up on walks and playtime. Make sure you keep an eye out, because not only are rocks very easy for dogs to choke on, they can become stuck in the intestines causing an obstruction.
#8 – Plastic Wrap
Most dogs will dig through the trash if we let them, and sometimes mistakes happen and they’re able to indulge themselves. Unfortunately, many items in trash can be dangerous to our dogs. Plastic wrap is one of the worst, having a high potential for becoming stuck and choking our dogs.
#9 – Bread
Bread is actually fairly easy for anyone to choke on, with the way it expands and lumps together. We typically know to chew our food, but you probably know that our dogs often prefer to swallow it whole. So just keep it in mind that bread can pose a choking hazard to our pups.
#10 – Hard Candy
Most of us probably aren’t sharing candy with our dogs, but it’s important to know that hard candies can be a hazard to our pups. Just like with humans, it’s very easy for these to get stuck in your dog’s throat and cause choking. Keep that candy bowl far out of snout’s reach!
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