How to Clean Squeaky Dog Toys and When to Throw Them Out

Squeaky toys are of particular concern because dogs absolutely go nuts over them. You'll want to clean them regularly without wrecking the squeaker. Also, you'll need to keep a close eye because those squeakers can be a choking hazard if you're not careful.

When cleaning any of your dog's toys, make sure you use only pet-safe products. Many household cleaning agents can be harmful to pets. To be on the safe side, check the ASPCA's guidelines for household products. Then, follow these tips to clean both plush and hard dog toys:

Cleaning Plush Dog Toys with Squeakers

The easiest and most effective way to clean plushies is to throw them in the washing machine. Use a gentle detergent and pour in some white vinegar in place of fabric softener. Doing so will help remove soap residue during the rinse cycle, making it safer for your dogs to play with.

If the squeaker is removable, take it off before washing. Otherwise, don't worry! The stuffing should help it survive this process. If it doesn't, it's probably just waterlogged, so give it a few squeezes until it's revived.

While some might not be suited for machine washing, most of the best plush dog toys are. Make sure you check the label. If in doubt, you can always soak and handwash with a gentle detergent.

Cleaning Hard Dog Toys with Squeakers

Hard dog toys are those made out of rubber or plastic. They're non-porous and so are relatively easy to clean.

Generally, the best way to clean them is to handwash with gentle soap and water. Scrub with a sponge, so you really get the grime out. Then, air or towel-dry before giving it back to your dog.

Alternatively, you can throw them in the dishwasher. Instead of detergent, use an equal portion of white vinegar. The combination of heat, water pressure, and acid will be enough to clean and sanitize the toys.

Note that many cheap dog toys won't withstand the heat from the dishwasher. So, it's essential to do this only for high-quality toys.

When to Throw Out Your Pet's Toys

Squeaker toys don't need to go just because they're no longer squeaking. If it's one of the most fun toys for your dog, it might be worth getting squeaker replacements. But, once you notice that there are dangling parts or areas that are heavily chewed on, it's time to find an equally fun replacement.

For hard dog toys with squeakers, it's especially important to check the inside for signs of mold. At the first sign of mold, toss it out. No toy is worth the risk!

For plush dog toys, you'll want to be careful of the stuffing. Stuffing isn't just a choking hazard. If ingested, it could also cause severe gastrointestinal upset. So, as soon as you see stuffing popping out, you need to either repair the toy or throw it out.

It's also essential to observe how your pup plays with toys in general. Throw away anything that they seem to be eating, rather than playing with.

If they tend to do that for most of their toys, it might be better to give them edible chews.

Most pets go through dozens of toys in their lifetime. Admit it, it's hard not to spoil them! The problem is, it's easy to take the cleanliness of dog toys for granted. Plus, it's hard to decide when to throw them out, especially when it's a favorite.

But keeping dog toys clean is part of keeping your pup healthy and safe. Cleaning them regularly will also give you a chance to inspect them for safety hazards.