As dog owners, we all want the best for our pets. But did you know some of the most popular and commonly-used dog products are potentially unsafe? Our emergency vets have seen dogs become injured or ill as a result of all of these things so, if you’re using them, either stop or proceed with caution.

Here, our head of veterinary standards, Laura Playforth, has listed some of the most popular dog accessories that you should consider throwing in the bin.

1. Retractable leads

Retractable leads — thin string that extends as your dog moves away and can be stopped by pushing down on a button on a plastic handle — are often viewed as a good way to give dogs a little freedom while keeping them safe and under control. But, in reality, these leads are potentially dangerous and have been known to cause serious injuries in dogs, including rope burns and deep cuts. On top of that they are so long — up to 30ft — it’s often impossible for owners who use them to guarantee their dog’s safety. They are particularly risky when walking your dog by the road — if the lead is extended more than arm’s length from your body it’s highly likely they could get into the road before you could stop them.

2. Plastic bowls

Cheap and convenient they may be, but some plastic bowls are nigh-on impossible to keep clean. This is particularly the case if they’ve started to crack, peel or have deep scratches as the damaged area is a haven for bacteria. Some plastic dog bowls have also been known to release dangerous chemicals into food and water, particularly if they get very hot.

Image of puppy eating from a plastic bowl for Vets Now article
Some plastic bowls may be potentially dangerous to dogs

Where is my nearest pet emergency clinic?

3. Dangerous toys

Dog owners need to be vigilant when it comes to toys. Some are terribly made and nowhere near robust enough. Our emergency vets have treated scores of sick dogs who have swallowed badly-made, broken or worn out toys, with some even requiring surgery to remove the product from their stomach, throat or intestines.

4. Jerky treats

Your dog is likely to snap your hand off for one of these chewy strips of dried meat, but be wary of jerky treats. Some foreign imports have been linked to a horrific condition called Fanconi syndrome, which causes kidney damage and is potentially fatal. If you do feed your dog jerky be on the lookout for any abnormal signs such as extreme tiredness.

5. Bones

Give a dog a bone, or perhaps don’t if you’d rather avoid a trip to one of our pet emergency clinics or hospitals. Bones are a common cause of intestinal obstructions in dogs and chewing on them can result in damaged teeth or injury due to bone splinters puncturing the mouth or digestive tract. It’s also not uncommon for dogs to choke on bones.

Retractable leads can extend up to 30 metres in length

Suggested Tweet

Tweet
6. Blunt nail clippers

Using blunt clippers to trim your dog’s nails can make what’s often a stressful situation even more difficult. If your clippers aren’t sharp they can crush and split your dog’s nails, causing unnecessary pain.

7. Choke collars

Choke collars or choke chains are designed to stop dogs from pulling on their lead. However, they do this by inflicting pain and discomfort which in turn can harm your pet both physically and emotionally.