You Paid $3,000 For A Dog Toy?
Unbelievable? I thought so, too. And that’s only an approximation of the cost incurred to surgically remove a wad of stringy rope from my dog’s stomach and intestines.
Couldn’t happen to me? I thought so, too.
My dogs have had rope toys before; small ones with strings that I occasionally recognized during doggy clean-up. But when the small strings attached to my dog and her “business” refused to release during a very public and embarrassing potty, I threw the rope toys away.
So what compelled me to make the Christmas purchase of an unnecessarily giant rope toy that eventually cost me over $3,000?
Its enormity! The rope toy had to be 2-feet long with knotted ends 4-inches in diameter. It was ridiculous! So ridiculous, that I assumed there was no way my retriever could devour it. Wrong!
For two months, she left the rope toy alone. She’d sniff it, gnaw it and walk away. Then one day, while quietly lying on the kitchen floor, the whole family busy at the table, she undid the knot and tugged and pulled and wolfed down a wad of rope before we could stop her. We grabbed the toy and threw it away, but we were too late.
The vomiting began the next morning, continuing through mid-afternoon when I rushed her to the vet. X-rays showed a blockage. Emergency surgery was necessary.
The hope was that she would be able to have an endoscopy, a less invasive procedure versus conventional surgery. But the obstruction was lodged in the intestines and surgery had to be performed. The incision began under her rib cage and went all the way down–major surgery that made a spay look like a paper cut, not to mention the possibility of infection.
Luckily, she was a young healthy dog and after three weeks or being coned, crated and kept away from our youngest pup, she recovered. But had I waited a couple of days, she could’ve died. For obvious reasons, I will never buy a knotted stringy-ended rope toy for my dog again.
Will I ever buy dog toys again?
Absolutely! Dogs need toys. They release frustration. They discourage unwanted chewing behavior. They make tails wag and bring them joy. I wouldn’t be selling dog gift boxes if I didn’t believe in dog toys!
Then what is my message?
Safety. Dogs need advocates. Dogs can be brilliant, but like people, they don’t always make good decisions. They rely on you to monitor their fun. You are ultimately responsible for your furry friend. So:
- Buy quality dog toys.
- Know your dog’s playstyle.
- Make sure dog toys are sized appropriately and cannot be accidentally swallowed.
- Physically examine all dog toys regularly.
- Expect to replace them.
- Remove, repair and replace damaged toys. Dog toys don’t last forever. Plush toys can rip open; rubber toys can break-down. Nylon bones can get too sharp; tennis balls can be skinned. For the health and safety of your dog, they need to be removed and replaced on a regular basis.
- Supervise your pet’s play. Do not leave dogs alone with toys unsupervised.
Understanding dog play and proper supervision can help our pups remain happy and healthy pups!
Bonnie Sweebe is a dog lover, dog owner, dog advocate, and rescue and service dog volunteer. She is also the owner of WelcomePup.com, an online dog gift delivery company.