Toys provide dogs with mental stimulation and exercise, which are vital to maintaining your dog's health and happiness. According to the American Pet Products Association's 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey, 56.7 million American households own a dog and spend $41 per year on toys. A dirty or smelly dog toy doesn't necessarily need to be thrown out. Most pet toys can be washed. In addition to lengthening the lifespan of your dog's favorite toys, washing pet toys provides an opportunity for you to inspect them for safety issues.
Remove crusted dirt and debris from the outside of rubber, nylon and plastic toys with a dish brush. It is often easier to scrape away debris when the toy is dry. Use a toothbrush to clear out leftover food particles from the inside of treat-dispensing dog toys.
Wash your dog's toys. Place the toys in a sink filled with warm soapy water. Use a mild dish detergent. With a sponge, wash your dog's toys and remove remaining dirt. Thoroughly rinse the toys with fresh water.
Sanitize your dog's toys. According to the ASPCA, water-diluted bleach is safe to use on nonporous toys. Mix 2 tsp. of bleach with one gallon of cool water. Soak your dog's toys in the diluted solution for two minutes. Remove the toys wearing gloves to protect your skin. Set the toys on a towel to air dry. Rinsing the toys is not necessary. However, make certain your dog's toys are fully dry after sanitizing toys with bleach solution to prevent your dog from ingesting bleach.
Plush and Rope Toys
Lightly brush dirt and debris from your dog's plush toys and rope toys with your hands. Cut away any dangling or loose threads with scissors.
Sanitize your dog's plush and rope toys in the dishwasher or microwave oven. Plush dog toys and rope toys are breeding grounds for bacteria, yeast and molds. Wet the plush and rope toys and place them in your microwave for one minute. Alternatively, place your dog's toys in the dishwasher and run the drying cycle without detergent.
Remove your dog's plush and rope toys from the microwave or dishwasher with caution as they can be hot. Place the toys out of your dog's reach untile they have cooled down.
If you prefer not to use a bleach solution, you can use one part white vinegar to one part water to sanitize your dog's toys. Soak the toys in the vinegar solution for 30 minutes.
Make certain you completely rinse your dog's toys and leave no soap residue to prevent your dog from ingesting soap. Inspect toys after washing to make sure there are no dangling pieces that can break off and become a choking hazard. Do not leave toys placed in the microwave unattended. Do not microwave plush or rope toys with metal or plastic parts.
Items You Will Need
- Dish brush
- Dish soap
Ashlyn Etree was all business as a PR professional for 10 years, but she loves rolling up her sleeves volunteering at animal rescues. She writes for various publications, specializing in business, career and pet-related content. Etree earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Central Florida.