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Caring For Your Pet’s Toys
November 1, 2023

Does your furry friend get super excited when they spot a new plaything? It’s important for Fluffy and Fido to have toys: playing provides enrichment and entertainment, keeps pets active, helps with bonding. Of course, they can get grimy, and do need to be inspected and cleaned regularly. A Houston Heights, TX vet offers advice on caring for your four-legged pal’s toys below.


Dogs love stuffies! They remind Fido of the small critters he would hunt in the wild, and are also fun to play Fetch with. Some pups also use them as comfort toys to snuggle up with. Of course, these tend to get grimy pretty fast. Most are machine washable: use an unscented detergent and a gentle cycle, and tumble or hang dry. The question here is are they worth saving? Toys that are very ripped can actually be hazardous. You don’t want your playful pet swallowing threads, squeakers, or stuffing. (Some pups can remove squeakers with surgical precision, but that’s another topic.) Small rips can and should be quickly repaired. If the toy has seen better days, it’s probably better to just toss it out when your furry friend isn’t looking, and get him a new one.

Plastic/Rubber Items

Many of these things can be washed by hand. You can also put them into the dishwasher. If the toys are grimy, clean them off with an old toothbrush or scrub brush. If using the dishwasher, don’t use soap: steam and hot water will clean and disinfect them.

Rope Toys

Rope toys are pretty easy to clean. Remove any metal pieces. Then, soak it with water and microwave it on high for a minute. Let it cool off before giving it back to Fido.

Smart Toys

For more high-tech toys, such as smart toys, remote-controlled options, or laser pointers, just wipe them down with non-toxic cleaning wipes or even a wet paper towel.


Many refillable cat toys can be emptied, cleaned, and refilled with fresh ‘nip regularly. Open the slit and dump out the catnip. (You can put it on a scratching board to let Fluffy have fun with it one last time.) Wash it either by hand or in the washer on a gentle cycle, using a non-allergenic detergent and hot water to kill germs. Then, hang or tumble dry, refill, and give it back to your pet.

As your Houston Heights, TX pet hospital, we’re dedicated to offering great care. Call us anytime!