Good, Clean Fun: How To Keep Your Pet’s Toys Clean and Safe

With her tail wagging, your dog brings you her favorite toy to play with.

You reach down to grab it and cringe as your fingers touch the dirty, crusty toy. Don’t worry, there’s no need to throw it away immediately. Cleaning your pet’s toys is easy and will help to keep them clean and safe for many years of playtime.

Plush Toys

Both dog and cat plush toys—even the ones with squeakers—can be quickly cleaned with a run through the washing machine. Use a natural, unscented, dye-free detergent or some white vinegar and baking soda and warm water. When they’re finished, you can let them air dry or toss them in the dryer on low heat to restore them to their fun and fluffy quality.

Hard Toys

Rubber Kongs and other hard toys can be washed by hand or run through the dishwasher. You don’t even need to use detergent, as the hot water will kill most bacteria and remove dirt. If you want to use a detergent, though, use natural soap or vinegar and baking soda. You can also wash your pet’s food bowls in the same load! Your pet will love the fresh and clean toys—preferably filled with peanut butter or catnip!

Catnip Toys

Speaking of catnip, these toys will lose potency over time, especially if washed. Sorry, but if you have a dirty catnip toy, it’s probably time to replace it.

Pet Beds and Other Products

Many pet beds are washable or have a removable cover. These can be vacuumed and thrown in the washer and dryer for easy cleaning. Again, use a natural detergent or vinegar and baking soda to keep them clean. Avoid chemical-laden commercial detergents, as these can cause irritation for some pets’ skin. You can also clean your cat’s climbing tree with a quick vacuum. Just be sure to not suck up any small toys or frighten your pet!

If you are cleaning your pet’s toys and notice any broken or dangling pieces, or if a toy appears to have been eaten, throw it out. Damaged toys can pose a serious choking hazard to your pet. Inspect and clean your pet’s toys regularly to make sure they are clean and safe.

Meet the Author: Kacie Galloway

Kacie Galloway is a writer from Fort Worth, Texas where she lives with her mini goldendoodle, Shiloh. She is an avid dog lover and adventurer who loves exploring the world, reading and cuddling with her dog. She often writes about pet health and loves sharing people's—and their pets'—stories.

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