Refresh Your Games with Clean Dog Toys

    • 5 min read

    Dogs are notorious for smelling all kinds of unpleasant scents for fun, but you may be surprised to know that your dog isn’t so keen to play with that stinky, old toy. Unlike blue jeans, which can be lovingly worn for days before needing a wash, dog toys need to be cleaned frequently to keep your dog safe from harmful bacteria.

    If you’re wondering how to keep your pup engaged with his toys, sometimes it’s as simple as the cleaning old toys and rotating them. Let’s take a look at some of the easy things you can do to encourage your dog to play with toys!

    Otis with Toys

    Cleaning Dog Toys

    Your dog’s toys will likely acquire a lot of dirt and germs over the course of your dog’s playtime fun. Dog toys often go in dog’s mouths, have tasty treats inside them, and get dragged and thrown around all kinds of places. That is why it is so important to keep your dog’s squeaky, colorful pals clean. Depending on the kind of toy, you’ll want to take special care in cleaning them.

    One thing to keep in mind is that not all cleaning products are safe to use on dog toys. Avoid products such as bleach, Lysol, and peroxide. These chemicals are harmful to pups and are not safe to ingest.

    Rough and Tough Toys

    The most durable toys can often be washed easily. Bones, floating friends, and rubber toys, such as our retrieving dog ball, can be submerged in hot, soapy water. Here’s how you can clean them.

    Step 1: Simply fill the sink with hot water and your favorite nontoxic dish soap and let the toys soak for 5-10 minutes.

    Step 2: Carefully scrub all crevices with either a bottle brush, tough sponge, or even an old toothbrush.

    Step 3: Rinse thoroughly and remove excess water from all hidey holes.

    Step 4: Pat dry. It’s super important to completely air dry your dog’s toys to keep bacteria and mold from growing inside.

    Step 5: Return newly cleaned toys to your furry friend!

    Keep in mind that not all hard toys are made for being soaked in water. Snack-filled puzzle toys like our Orbee-Tuff Mazee need to be sprayed with a cleaning solution, and should be cleaned as soon as your dog is done playing with them.

    Vinegar is a great option for cleaning dog toys, as it’s a natural disinfectant and is also gentle on toys. You can make a natural solution at home using a mixture of at least 5% vinegar and the rest hot water. Fill a spray bottle with the solution and then spray directly onto toys. You can also use a baking soda and water paste to gently scrub away stubborn dried food.

    Some toys are also dishwasher safe on the top rack. Read the care instructions on toy packaging before placing any toys in the dishwasher. We recommend a non-toxic dishwasher detergent like the unscented pods from Dropps. Their dishwasher pods contain plant-based, non-toxic ingredients.

    Fluffy Stuffy Toys 

    Plush toys often get dirty faster than hard toys. If the fur on your dog’s toys looks matted, discolored, or dirty, then it’s probably time for a wash.

    Most soft toys, such as our adorable Duraplush Elephant and Coil Caterpillar, are machine washable and dryer-safe.

    Wash them: Simply put them inside a zipper laundry bag or a pillowcase, and give them a wash. Throw in some dog towels to fill the load and tackle two tasks in one. Wash on cold or warm with a safe, environmentally-friendly detergent. (We like Seventh Generation products.) If the toys are really stinky, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash to get rid of unwanted odors.

    Dry them: Dry by either leaving toys out to air dry or by tumbling in the dryer on low. Skip the dryer sheets, as these contain harmful chemicals for your pup and also smell strongly, which might discourage your dog from wanting to play with his toys. To avoid collecting dirt particles after a wash, make sure toys are completely dry before returning to your dog.

    Rotating Dog Toys

    Some dogs, like Chopper, love cuddling with their favorite lovey and can get upset when their favorite toys are taken away to be washed. That’s why it’s a good idea to have multiple sets of your dog’s loveys on hand. To help calm your dog down while toys are being washed, try rotating his toys.

    Rotating dog toys easily reignites your dog’s excitement for toys he hasn’t seen for a while, and limiting the number of toys your dog plays with also makes it easier for you to keep your house clean. It’s a win-win! Instead of leaving all of his beloved toys in a basket, tossed in the grass, or simply lying around the house, collect toys that are infrequently played with, and reduce the number your pup plays with on a regular basis.

    Here are some tips to keep in mind:

    • Limit your dog’s toys to only 5 at a time. This number is just enough to keep him engaged without underwhelming or overwhelming him.
    • Choose one different type of toy at a time. Of the 5 toys, make sure to have one “favorite” toy that your pup loves. Other types of toys worth including are carrying toys, balls for rolling, “babying” toys, interactive toys, and ones for play hunting. Our playful dogs bundle provides just the right variety of toys for your pup. 
    • Try to rotate the toys when your dog is asleep, playing outside, or at doggy daycare to avoid upsetting your dog.
    • Include toys that activate your dog’s brain in multiple ways to contribute to a healthier, happier pup. Puzzle toys, squeaky toys, and treat dispensing toys are great examples of interactive dog toys that help stimulate your dog’s brain.
    • Swap out the toys every one to three weeks to freshen your dog’s variety of toys.
    • Clean and check the toys you’re cycling out for wear and tear. Swapping the toys out each week is a great way to remember to check toys for signs of needing replacement.

    Here at Chopper & Otis, we want to keep our furry friends safe.

    Keeping your dog’s toys clean helps preserve the life of his toys. It also protects your dog from putting moldy, germy, and broken pieces in his mouth when you have a routine for washing and rotating out toys. Below are some our best-selling toys that can help make the cleaning and rotating process easier for your pup.

    Until next time--