Are Rope Toys Safe for Dogs?
Whether you just adopted a new puppy or you want to buy your dog a fun new toy as a special treat, you may be wondering—are rope toys safe for dogs? You’ve seen them on display in pet supply stores, but you might have heard mixed opinions regarding their safety. Learn the truth about rope toys and why it might be better to choose a different plaything for your pup.
Why Rope Toys Are Hazardous
If your dog loves to disembowel stuffed animals and decimate Frisbees, he isn’t just ripping these toys apart—he’s eating a portion of them. A vast majority of the time, foreign objects pass through your dog’s digestive system without a problem. In fact, you might not even know your pet ate something he shouldn’t have. However, in rare instances, swallowing foreign objects can cause serious, even life-threatening problems to your dog’s digestive system.
Here’s when rope toys enter the discussion. Swallowing strands of rope is much more dangerous than eating chunks of rubber, plastic, or cotton stuffing. Vets describe these strands as “linear foreign bodies,” which are the most harmful objects an animal can swallow.
If your dog slurps down a long piece of spaghetti-like rope, one end may travel as far as the upper intestines, while the other end remains caught in the stomach. As your dog’s digestive system attempts to move the object through the body, the strand tightens and the intestines cinch like a drawstring on sweatpants. As you might guess, this is very painful for your dog. Left untreated, the strand may draw the intestines into a tight ball, and lacerations may develop where the rope digs into the intestinal wall.
Even if your dog doesn’t completely destroy his toys, he may sit and chew happily on a tug-of-war rope, shredding off tiny strands at a time. This isn’t as dangerous as swallowing long strings, but it can still cause blockages in your dog’s intestines, like hairs clogging a shower drain.
Treating a Dog that Has Swallowed Strands of Rope
Dogs must often undergo surgery if their intestines become cinched or blocked by rope strands. Tragically, many pet owners don’t recognize the problem until it’s too late to save the animal. Dogs that do undergo surgery must cope with the ordeal of an hours-long operation required to remove the obstruction. The recovery period can also be arduous, especially when it comes to feeding your dog while his digestive system heals.
Avoid the Dangers of Rope Toys
You might assume you can avoid all the dangers of rope toys by only allowing supervised play. This is certainly better than leaving your dog alone with a rope toy, but it’s still impossible to tell how much he might be stripping off and eating.
Ultimately, it’s not worth risking your dog’s health and well-being to let him play with rope toys, even if these are his favorite. Your job as a responsible pet owner is to find safe toys for your dog to enjoy. You’re sure to find another type of plaything your pooch loves just as much without the hazards of possibly swallowing strands of rope.
Receive Pet Care & Advice at Village Vet of Urbana
We want your pet to stay happy and healthy, so we recommend avoiding rope toys! For more help selecting safe toys for your pet, please contact Village Vet of Urbana, and our knowledgeable staff will offer personalized advice. If you think your dog has swallowed a harmful foreign object, call us right away at 301-228-0681 for tips on how to proceed.