Are Dog Toys From Dollar Stores Safe? (The Truth…)


Dollar stores make for a tempting place to stop by and grab your dog some new toys on your way home. They’re cheap and you can get a bunch without having to worry about breaking the bank. But is this a good idea? Are dollar store dog toys safe?

In general, dollar store dog toys are less safe than more expensive options. Many dollar store dog toys are made in China which means little to no regulation is involved in their toy production. The likelihood of dollar store toys being made with toxic materials is high.

In this post we’re going to look at how to check if a toy you’re looking to buy at a dollar store is safe, which toys and materials should be avoided at all costs and how to pick the safest toys for your pup.

Let’s dive right in!

How To Know If a Dollar Store Toy Is Safe For Your Dog

There are two ways that a toy can be unsafe for your dog. First is with the materials used to make the toy and the second is how easily bits and pieces can be ripped off the toy and swallowed.

Here are a few materials you should avoid if you’re looking for a safe toy at the dollar store:

  • Bromine
  • PVC
  • Phthalates
  • Lead
  • BPA

If the toy you’re looking at at the dollar store is not made or doesn’t contain any of these harmful materials, it’s passed the first test.

The second test is ensuring it doesn’t have areas (eyes, nose, etc) that can be chewed off quite easily and swallowed. These pieces can be a choking hazard or cause serious issues to a dog’s digestive tract which may result in an expensive visit to the vet.

If the toy is able to pass both these qualifications, it’s one of the more safe toys that you’re able to find at a dollar store.

Is Dollar Tree a Good Place To Buy Dog Toys?

Dollar Tree, like any other dollar store, is going to carry cheaply made toys that have the potential to contain toxic materials.

While they have a variety of dog toy options, they’re likely not going to last more than a few play sessions, if that.

Determining if it’s a good place for you to pick up toys for your dog depends on what you’re willing to accept. If you’re okay with your dog ripping apart a toy within a day or two of having it then your expectations are in the right place.

If you’re wanting a toy that will be enjoyed by your pup for months to come, then Dollar Tree isn’t a good place to go.

Also, there’s always the risk of your dog having a toy in their mouth that contains toxic materials. 

People can definitely get away with buying dog toys from Dollar Tree and have their dog not be affected. But it’s an avoidable risk.

Are Cheap Dog Toys From Dollar Stores Generally Unsafe?

Cheap dog toys are made with the least expensive materials possible, which is why they can be priced so low. This means they’re not going to be able to hold up for very long and break easily, or, they’re going to contain toxic materials.

This makes them a rather unsafe option for your pup.

Toys that are easily ripped apart by a dog are unsafe because pieces of the toy can then be eaten by your dog. Whether it’s small bits of the potentially toxic materials or large chunks of the toy, both are dangerous to your dog.

While cheap toys are attractive because you won’t be upset if the toy is wrecked in record time, they’re not the best option.

You’ll also likely end up spending more money in the long run continuing to buy cheap toys because they never last. While the price shock of a more expensive toy can be intimidating, if the toy lasts, you will save money by not having to replace toys nearly as often.

It’s important to note that more expensive dog toys doesn’t mean that they’re 100% safe for your dog

Toys that are made in America will be more expensive but still have the potential to be unsafe for your pup.

It’s your job as the toy buyer to know which materials to avoid as well as the types of toys that have an increased potential to be unsafe for your doggo.

Why Would Dollar Stores Carry Dog Toys That Are Unsafe?

Put simply, it’s because cheap dog toys from China are the only toys they can have on their shelves and keep the price around $1.

They’re a business, and like all businesses they need to be able to buy or make products at a cheaper cost than they can sell those products to their customers. That’s the only way they’re able to stay in business.

While it’s not their intention to carry dog toys that are unsafe for your furry friend, because their business model is ‘products priced at around $1’, they have to stock the cheapest toys they can find.

And more often than not (likely 99% of the time) that means their toys are going to be from China. Their labor is cheaper and they have less regulation around what materials can and can’t be used.

Since they’re able to take these shortcuts, it enables them to make their products at a super cheap price which dollar stores in North America can then buy and make available to you at their location.

Also, people continue to buy these products at their stores, which is why they keep restocking their shelves with them. Many people aren’t aware that the toys could be potentially harmful for their dog. Which is why it’s important for you to know which materials & type of toys to stay away from so you can pick the safest options for your pup.

What To Do If Dollar Store Dog Toys Are All You’re Willing To Buy?

If dollar store toys are all you’re willing to buy for your dog then you’ll want to make sure you steer clear of the potentially more dangerous toys.

Stuffed toys, and plastic in particular should be avoided. This is because they’re more often than not made with toxic materials that can be dangerous for your pup.

Rope toys are also ones you should stay away from because if they were to swallow string, or bits of string, it would be very dangerous for your dog’s stomach.

If you’re not able to determine what exactly the toy is made from and the store clerk isn’t able to help you either, this website is a valuable tool to use. Simply input the name of the toy on the bottom of the page and select the product type and hit apply.

You can also check their archived pet supply data by clicking here. This doesn’t contain all dog toys but can help give you an idea of what’s more safe and what should be avoided.

No matter what you end up bringing home from the dollar store though, you should monitor your dog as they play with it. If it starts to break apart you’ll want to be there to take it from them before they eat portions of the toy that are toxic, they could choke on, or could harm their digestive tract.

What Types Of Dog Toys Are The Safest?

The safest types of dog toys are ones that are not easily destroyed. More often than not this means the toy has been made with higher quality materials that are safer for your pup.

Getting toys from brands that have a reputation of manufacturing durable, non-toxic dog toys are the safest for your furry friend.  While this does mean the toy will have a higher price tag, it could mean savings in the longer term as you won’t have to buy as many new toys.

Here are three brands that are known to make toys that are exceptionally safe for dogs:

  1. Goughnuts <– You can click here to check out their toys.
  1. Westpaw <– You can click here to check out their toys.
  1. Kong <– You can click here to check out their toys.

Each of these brands make toys that are designed to last long periods of time and not contain harmful materials.

Final Thoughts

Dog toys from the dollar store are cheaply made products that are most of the time sourced from China. This means that they will break easily and could possibly contain materials that are toxic.

This makes them one of the least safe options of toys for your dog. If you choose to buy your dog toys from the dollar store you’ll want to make sure you’re always monitoring their play. Once it starts to show signs of wearing out you should dispose of the toy before your pup swallows something potentially harmful.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Why Are Dog Toys So Expensive? (Simply Explained!)

Dog Toys Safe For Babies? (What You Need To Know!)

Why Do Dog Toys Squeak And Make Noise | Interesting Findings

Citations:

4 Things I Learned When My Dog Swallowed a Soft Toy

Chew Toy Dangers

Can my dog safely eat the stuffing in her toys?

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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