If you find yourself saying, "ewww," every time you pick up your dog's toys, you need these tips.
Playing with your pup is just as fun for you as it is for your dog but, you can admit it, reaching down to grab a toy saturated in dog slobber is never pleasant. Not only are your dog's slobbery toys nasty to touch, but they also pose a health risk for your dog.
Bacteria loves to cling to your dog's stuffed duck and his favorite tug-of-war rope, and it's important to clean his toys on a regular basis to prevent bacteria-born illnesses. Here are tips to make cleaning and sanitizing your dog's toys a bearable chore.
Plush Dog Toys
Your dog probably has a whole African safari worth of plush dog toys, but when the lion's mane is matted with your dog's dried saliva and that once golden fur is still wet from the most recent play session, it can be tempting to just throw that thing away. But you paid good money for that toy--not to mention your dog loves it--and that makes it worth saving.
Gather up your dog's plush toys and check them for holes and loose parts. Send them through your washer on the hottest setting with only a small amount of detergent. When the cycle finishes, rinse them again by hand to make sure there's no residual detergent soaked into the stuffing. By the time it's dry, that toy lion will once again be king of the jungle.
Plastic, Rubber, and Rope Dog Toys
For hardcore chewers, plush toys don't last very long. That's why pet owners resort to plastic, rubber, and rope toys. Frisbees, Kongs, and squeakers are all examples of these kinds of toys, and to make cleaning and sanitizing them easy, all you really need is a dishwasher.
The first thing you need to do is put some heavy duty tape over the holes in the squeaky toys to prevent water from getting in. Then place the toys on the top rack of your dishwasher. Measure out three tablespoons of white vinegar and pour it into the bottom of the dishwasher. Skip out on the detergent and rinse aid for this cycle. Run the dishwasher for a full cycle and then allow the toys to dry.
If you don't have a dishwasher, do it the old fashioned way with vinegar, a hard-bristled scrubbing brush, and some elbow grease.
Cleaning bone toys is trickier than the other kinds of dog toys, and they can never be truly sanitized. If your dog's bones last long enough to warrant cleaning, know it will be nearly impossible to get them 100% clean.
Because bones are so porous, they're not tough enough to withstand being cleaned in dishwashers or washing machines. Instead, wipe them clean with warm water. Never use soap or detergent to clean bone toys because those chemicals could end soaking into the bone's pores and eventually finding their way into your dog's digestive system. The best you can hope for is to wash away dirt and mud.
These cleaning methods are effective ways to extend the lives of your dog's toys and protect his health. There comes a time in every plush zebra or squeaky penguin's life, however, when it's time be thrown away. If your dog toys have holes, frays, or lose squeakers, it may be time to replace them.