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Caring For Your Dog’s Toys 
March 15, 2023

Does your canine buddy get super excited when he realizes you’ve brought him a new toy? Fido is always cute, but his enthusiasm for new playthings is extra adorable. Toys are actually very important to your furry companion’s happiness and well-being. However, your pup’s playthings definitely take some beatings. A Bellaire, TX vet offers some advice on caring for your dog’s toys in this article. 

Rubber Toys

Many rubber toys, such as Kong toys, are dishwasher safe. Start by rinsing them carefully. You may also want to use an old toothbrush to remove any dirt or grime. Then, pop them into the machine. You don’t need to use soap: the hot water and steam will be enough to clean and disinfect the toys.


Many of Fido’s stuffed animals can go into the washing machine, though you’ll want to check the label first. Use a pet-safe detergent and the appropriate cycle, and tumble dry. The main thing here is deciding if that cute squirrel plushie is even worth saving. Things that are badly ripped or worn should probably just be replaced. Just wait until your canine companion is sleeping or otherwise occupied to discreetly toss the old ones out. 

Rope Toys 

Rope toys can last quite a while, but it doesn’t take very long for them to get gunky. Check to make sure there are no metal parts or clasps. If there are, remove them. Then, just soak the toy in water and pop it into the microwave on high for one minute. 


Most chews can’t easily be cleaned. However, you can rinse them, put them in a plastic bag, and freeze overnight. They won’t look much nicer, but at least they won’t be as germy. 

Tennis Balls

You can wash tennis balls by hand or with a washing machine. To do them by hand, fill your sink up with hot water, then add non-toxic soap or a water/white vinegar mix. After they’ve soaked for a while, scrub them with an old cloth or brush, then rinse and air dry. You can also put them in the washing machine. Use cold water and a hypoallergenic detergent. Take them out before they go through the spin cycle.

Our Advice on Caring For Your Dog’s Toys in 2024

Are there any particular types of toys that are more prone to harboring bacteria or becoming damaged, and how can these risks be mitigated?

Certain types of dog toys are more prone to harboring bacteria or becoming damaged. Plush toys and rope toys are particularly susceptible due to their absorbent materials. To mitigate these risks, wash plush toys in the washing machine with pet-safe detergent and dry thoroughly. For rope toys, remove any metal parts and microwave them for one minute after soaking in water. Regularly inspect toys for signs of wear and tear and replace those that are damaged. Ensuring proper cleaning and timely replacement will help maintain your dog’s health and safety.

How can dog owners store their pet’s toys to keep them clean and organized between play sessions?

Dog owners can store their pet’s toys in designated, easy-to-clean bins or baskets to keep them clean and organized between play sessions. Opt for bins with ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mold or mildew. Separate toys by type—rubber, plush, rope—to make it easier to clean and rotate them regularly. Store outdoor toys separately to avoid bringing dirt indoors. Regularly inspect and clean the storage containers themselves to ensure a hygienic environment for your dog’s playthings. This organization helps maintain the toys’ longevity and cleanliness.

Are there any specific guidelines for cleaning and maintaining interactive or puzzle toys that may have more complex designs or components?

For interactive or puzzle toys with complex designs or components, it’s crucial to clean them thoroughly to prevent bacteria buildup. Disassemble the toy as much as possible and rinse each piece with warm, soapy water. Use a brush or toothbrush to reach small crevices. For dishwasher-safe toys, place them on the top rack without soap, using hot water to sanitize. Allow all components to air dry completely before reassembling to avoid mold growth. Regularly inspect for wear and tear, replacing any damaged parts to ensure your dog’s safety and enjoyment.

How can dog owners introduce new toys to their pets while ensuring they remain clean and safe, especially if the dog tends to be destructive with their playthings?

Introducing new toys to a dog, especially a destructive one, requires careful consideration for cleanliness and safety. Start by selecting durable toys designed for strong chewers. Clean new toys thoroughly with warm, soapy water and rinse well before use. Supervise your dog during initial play sessions to monitor their interaction and to ensure the toy’s durability. Rotate toys regularly to maintain interest and inspect them frequently for signs of wear and tear, discarding any damaged ones to prevent choking hazards. Always opt for non-toxic, pet-safe materials to ensure your dog’s safety.

Are there any DIY or eco-friendly methods for cleaning dog toys that are just as effective as commercial products?

Yes, DIY and eco-friendly methods can effectively clean dog toys. For rubber and plastic toys, a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water works well. Soak the toys for 30 minutes, then scrub with a brush and rinse thoroughly. For plush toys, use a mild, pet-safe detergent and wash them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, followed by air drying. Rope toys can be microwaved for one minute after being soaked in water to kill bacteria. These methods are both safe for pets and environmentally friendly.

As your Bellaire, TX animal clinic, we’re dedicated to providing excellent service and great care. Ensure your pet’s health is protected year-round; discover our ‘Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations’ services and how they can benefit your beloved canine. Feel free to contact us for all your dog’s veterinary care needs.