Let's set the scene: It's a Thursday. You've taken your dog to their favorite big-box toy store to get them out of the house and get some good sniffs in. You're a good dog-parent and you know that a trip to the store means they are getting treats and probably the toy of their choice. You're happy to oblige whatever their lil' furry heart desires. You walk through the sliding doors, the meaty smell of treats fills the air. The fluorescent lights are glowing off the slippery floor casting a sparkle to the end of the aisle like a lighthouse piercing the darkness of night.
The shimmer catches your dog's eye and they start tugging you down the aisles with the strength of a 9-dog sled team, sliding their paws against the tile, clawing their way into the depths of aisle number 3. The Toys Aisle.
They bound down to the very end, exasperated, jaws open with the happiest grin, and sink their snoot into a fresh toy in a bin on the shelf.
"Oh good-girl! You found a toyyyyy!". You love seeing your pup happy, squeaking their new catch excitedly.
You don't even look at the price. Your dog's happiness is worth at least $15, and that toy is for sure under that price range.
You head to the check-out and hop back in the car.
Your pup spends a few days gnawing on the colorful squeaky toy and you notice the paint and shape of the toy starts to change. What's up with that??
...Fade to today...
Have you ever had this happen to you? Maybe, maybe not, but you've probably wondered before if the toy you are giving your dog is safe for them? Even more so, you might have asked Google, "Are plastic toys bad for dogs?".
The truth isn't as crystal clear as you might think. But there are some truths about plastic that we know:
1. A lot of plastics still contain BPA. Bi-sephenol A is not good for humans. Like, really not good. It's been proven that this elasticity-improving chemical found in many plastic products has been proven to increase hormone levels, is connected to organ failure and a boatload of other issues for the human body.
Recently Texas Tech University did a study to see if plastic dog toys produced with the chemical could easily be transmitted to dogs. What they found was that just with regular chewing, traces of BPA were found in the dog's saliva. What does that mean? It means the same harm causing chemical in humans can easily transmit to your fur-baby. NOT COOL.
*Disclaimer* You may have recently heard about an article where they found microplastics in muscle matter during an autopsy of a dog. After doing some research it doesn't seem the study is yet complete. Be sure to reference your sources and don't always get your info from social media 😉.
2. It never really disappears. When you toss that toy in the trash because it started to visibly degrade before your eyes, microplastics, and chemicals that produced that toy can leach into the waterways. The end result? That water is processed and soil it degraded to breaks down further, and then it's sprayed on fields and fed to animals. Ultimately we end up ingesting the plastic and chemicals we threw away years ago.
3. It isn't always recyclable. It took me a few years to reallllly dive into how plastics are recycled. Or at least items YOU THINK can be recycled, but aren't actually able to be. Yeah, confusing, I know. Basically all you need to know is that not all plastics are created equal. Have you ever looked at that little triangle on the bottom of the item? It has a number that tells you how it can be recycled and you can find out if they can do it in your local area.
If the plastic doesn't have a little recycling symbol and a number - it isn't recyclable! But alas, it eventually has to go in the trash anyway.
With that my friends, I ask you to make your own decision on if plastics toys are bad for your dog.
We'll continue to find eco-friendly dog toys and make sure they're safe for your Pup by choosing to find plastic alternatives and sourcing responsibly-made, recycled and upcycled plastic derived toys to keep plastic out of landfills for longer.
Let us know what you think about plastic dog toys in the comments below!
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XX - V and Fly