8 Dangerous Substances Found in Pet Products (and How to Avoid Them)

Spoiling pets is fun. But before you order a surprise dog toy online or head to the pet store to let him or her pick out a new chew, beware of these hazardous materials. These chemicals can show up in common pet products, particularly cat and dog toys and dog beds.

Toxins found in dog chews and pet toys

  • 1. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • 2. Phthalates
  • 3. Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • 4. Lead
  • 5. Chromium
  • 6. Formaldehyde
  • 7. Cadmium
  • 8. Bromine
  • How to avoid toxins in pet products
  • How to check for safety
  • Choose hazard-free manufacturers

1. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

PVC is more commonly known as vinyl and is sometimes used to make dog toys.

On the surface, PVC isn’t dangerous. However, it’s really hard material. In order to make toys more soft and flexible for dogs to play with and chew on, manufacturers add phthalates, which are a group of toxic chemicals.

Additionally, PVC contains chlorine. As dogs chew toys made of PVC, the chlorine is released over time.

Why it’s dangerous

Chlorine produces dioxins, which are dangerous pollutants. They cause cancer and immune system damage in animals.

They’re also associated with reproductive and developmental problems, so it’s especially important to avoid giving vinyl toys to growing puppies and kittens.

2. Phthalates

As mentioned above, phthalates are a group of toxic chemicals. They’re the additive that makes PVC pet toys flexible and inviting for dogs to gnaw.

Phthalates smell like vinyl. You know the smell? It’s pretty distinct. The stronger that scent is on dog toys made with PVC, the more phthalates it contains. And the more toxic.

Why they’re dangerous

The more your dogs play and chew on vinyl, the more phthalates seep out. These toxins move freely and can be absorbed into your dog’s gums or skin. The result is damage to their liver and kidneys.


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