There are many toys available in the market for your Labrador retriever, but unfortunately, not every toy which is made for a dog is safe for your Labrador retriever. Toys play a vital role for your Labrador to avoid boredom. They need to have toys to play with and stay entertained with. But it is imperative to think about the safety and function of the dog toy before handover to your Lab. If you believe that all toys made for Lab or other dogs on the market are durable and safe, then think again.

In other words, some of your favorite dog toys aren’t good for your Labrador in many ways. They can cause health problems. You are surprised to know that just like children’s toys come with warnings and safety labels, the toys specially made for your dog don’t have the warnings and safety labels. That’s why most owners think that every toy which is available in the market is safe and durable.

In this blog, we will try to figure out the list of unhealthy dog toys that you should avoid for your Labrador retriever. We will also try to add the safe dog toys alternative, which you can try for your Labrador or other dog breeds. The below table can help you to figure out the worst dog toy that can cause health problems for your Labrador. You can also find alternative dog toys in the below table for your Labrador retriever.

ToysRiskMade withAlternative toys
Poly-Fil stuffed toysChoking hazard, lodge in the throat, stop digestive process, other type of internal blockagePoly-FilZippyPaws skinny peltz
Squeaky ToysChoking HazardRubberPlanet dog squeak ball
SticksCut into the dog’s mouth, cause bleeding or infectionWoodsBenebone Maplestic
Rubber chew toysChoking, lodge in the digestive tractRubberThe Kong Extreme Ball
Latex toysHair loss, allergic reactionLatex
Tug ropesDamage the teeth, may penetrate delicate tissuesRopesGoughNuts dog pull
Foam rubber ballsIntestinal blockage, choking hazardsFoam, RubberThe Kong Extreme Ball
Tennis ballJaws can be a break, choking hazard, exposed tooth pulp.Rubber
Rawhide toys: chew bones & chew sticksBlockage in the intestine, regular chew over longer periods can cause cancerRawhide
Painted dog toysdamage multiple organs
Cow hoovesFracturing teethCow hooves

1. Poly-fil Stuffed toys:

The first toy for your Labrador, you should surely avoid that made with Poly-Fil or other kinds of stuffing. But why should you avoid these types of dog toys for your Labrador? The reason is your Labrador will probably chew the toy and may eat the filling. If they chew the filling out of stuffed toys your Lab may face a choking hazard. It can get lodged in the throat and cause choking or death. The Humane Society recommends also recommend to avoid these type of toys.

If they swallow it, other serious health problems may arise. It could lead to intestinal or different types of internal blockages. If this happened for your Labrador retriever, they need expensive surgery to remove the blockage. Blockage can even result in death. We strongly suggest you not give these toys to your Labrador because these types of dog toys contain stuffing or synthetic fillers.

You can try Zippypaws skinny Peltz; it does not contain stuffing. There’s also no concern or mess if your Labrador chews through the fabric. They’re great for dogs of all sizes, whether they prefer fetching or snuggling it.

2. Squeaky toys:

squeaky toys

Squeaky toys are those toys that make a sound like a squeak. They are usually found in rubber toys that have small mechanisms inside to make them squeak. These toys also come with a health risk to your Labrador Retriever. It is the natural instinct of your Labrador to chew on the toy and try to get the squeaker out. Sometimes, the Labrador just wants to swallow the noisemaker. If your Labrador succeeds in finding that squeaker out then, your Labrador may face a choking hazard. Lab puppy or other dog’s puppies at higher risk for choking.

If the squeaky toys are too cheap that Labrador can easily destroy the source of the squeaking in squeaky toys can be extra dangerous for your Labrador. Labrador Retrievers have natural instincts to hunt and destroy the source of the squeaking in squeaky toys. You can monitor your Labrador when playing with these toys; you can stick with toys that tout a durable speaker or choose a more durable toy altogether.

You can try the Planet Dog squeak ball; it is designed to thwart the most aggressive chewer. It is made with non-toxic and phthalate-free material.

3. Sticks:

labrador sticks

If your Labrador is chewing on natural sticks, it can also be hazardous for your Labrador retriever. Things you should pay attention that wood splinters can easily chew, and the shards can cut into the Lab’s mouth. It can cause bleeding or other infections. If your Labrador swallows those pieces, it can cause intestinal blockages.

You can try Benebone Maplestic; it is made with super-tough nylon and natural maple wood. It is a safer and longer-lasting version of the real thing.

4. Rubber chew toys:

You will be surprised to know that even the hardest rubber-based chew toy will break down over a long time. As time pass, the rubber begins to get crumbly. The piece can cause choking, and if your Labrador swallow, it can lodge in the digestive tract. We strongly recommend you never give your Labrador softer rubber toys even if the manufacturer heavily promotes them. You can go with the hardest rubber toys.

5. Latex toys:

If you ever bought latex dog toys for your Labrador Retriever, you may already know that latex is a popular material. It is used for making a numerous variety of dog and other pet toys. But do you know, your Labrador can have allergic reactions to latex just like a human? The skin will become covered with a rash that tends to blister and weep. Your Labrador may face hair loss. You should have to check the label if you are buying the toy at a local retailer. Even if you are buying from an online store, you need to check what kind of material is used to make the toy.

If you are giving your Labrador the toy shoes made of latex or vinyl, then beware, it contains potentially harmful chemicals that can be hard on the liver or kidneys of your Labrador. It is best to avoid them altogether to prevent any future health issues. Giving shoe toys to your Labrador encourages them to chew on shoes.

6. Tug ropes:

ropes lab

You may be thinking that why we included tug ropes in the category of this list. Tug ropes may seem like a harmless enough toy. But it isn’t. You will shock to read the fact. There are numerous reasons you should avoid tug ropes for your Labrador Retriever because they can cause damage to the teeth. Vigorous play can be dangerous for the front and side teeth of your Lab. Some tug ropes are made of materials that splinter off. It becomes lodged in Lab’s mouth. If your Labrador is swallowed, it can cause internal damages like it may penetrate delicate tissues.

The other side of using tug ropes can be bad for Labrador’s owner. If you choose to play tug of war with your Labrador, it may create a sense of competition. Your Labrador may become aggressive and may have bitten you in a bid to gain control over the tug rope. When you surrender control of the rope to the Labrador, they feel that they have won the game. Play with tug ropes can result in disobedience or owner injury. Your Labrador may think that he can become dominant over you, and even they may challenge your authority more often.

You can try the GoughNuts Dog Pull toy; it is an indestructible and excellent toy for your Labrador, who loves tug and aggressive chewers.

7. Foam rubber balls:

There are numerous and various balls are made for dogs in different sizes and materials throughout the world. If you ask me which balls are worst for dogs, the foam rubber balls, you can call them worst among all balls because they are easily chewed apart, and your Labrador is likely to swallow the pieces. Even if your Labrador doesn’t choke on them, they may develop an intestinal blockage and require surgery.

How can you choose the right balls for your Labrador? Your primary goal is to find the right size of the ball for your Labrador. The size must be right for it to be safe. Too small balls can be easily swallowed by your Labrador that causes choking. Balls that have slick outer coatings are among the worst for becoming choking hazards. We strongly recommend checking the size of the ball ( not too small ) and the materials used. Don’t give balls to your Labrador unless it meets all the requirements for the safety of your Labrador.

You can try The Kong Extreme Ball; it is an excellent ball choice for your Labrador retriever. It is around 3 inches in diameter. It is large enough to avoid choking. It is also bouncy and puncture-resistant.

Suggestion for you: Labrador Exercise 101 guide: How to exercise a Labrador retriever.

8. The tennis ball:

lab balls

The tennis ball is not safe for your Labrador; the American Kennel Club says tennis balls are bad for dogs. Your Labrador can easily break the tennis ball and potentially choke in the rubber that breaks off. It can cause dental problems like exposed tooth pulp, and your Labrador may face difficulty chewing. If you are just giving a tennis ball to your Labrador just for fun, then beware. Labrador has the tendency to chew off the tennis ball in pieces; in this case, your Labrador may face a choking hazard. We strongly recommend you avoid giving a tennis ball to your Labrador.

9. Rawhide toys:

Rawhide toys are ordinary and countless types of dog toys that are usually made with rawhide material. For example, Chew bones and chew sticks are the most popular types of chew toys made out of rawhide material. If your Labrador swallows rawhide pieces torn from chew toys, it can cause blockages or even make the Labrador sick.

Rawhide is a piece of leather that has been treated with chemicals. It contains formaldehyde, ethoxyquin, arsenic, or other potentially harmful compounds. The two most common preservatives used in the creation of rawhide are BHA and BHT; both are cancer-causing agents. If your Labrador regularly chews rawhide toys over a long period, they likely to increase the chance of developing cancers or acute pancreatitis.

Suggestion for you: How can I tell if an adult Lab is healthy?

10. Painted dog toys:

Most Labrador or other dog breed owners know painted toys are unsafe for their pets. As you already know that the paint could easily be chewed and swallowed. The paint used in the toy may be toxic because the lead present in the dog toys can cause damage to multiple organs, including the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.

Even some dog experts also recommend that pet owners should avoid ceramic painted bows. You don’t know whether or not they are made of safe materials. We recommend you stay away from these types of toys.

11. Cow Hooves:

cow hooves

Even cow hooves are believed to be a safe and natural toy and can be best for your Labrador; you should avoid these dog toys. It can fracture your Labrador’s teeth when chewing on them. If your Labrador chews very hard, they may damage their teeth and experience a splintering of the jaw bone. It can lead to severe dental issues in canines. It can cause discomfort in eating.

Suggestion for you: Where should I put the doghouse for Labrador Retriever?

Aditya Kashyap Mishra

Aditya Kashyap Mishra, blogger, and co-founder of I love to research and write different things. I don't know much about dogs but always curious to know about them. At last, I love singing the most.

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