Ask Dr. Tory: How Often Should I Wash Dog Toys?

by Dr. Tory Waxman

Dr. Tory weighs in on how often you should clean your dog's toys, plus when it's time to replace them all together.

We all know the signs of a much-loved dog toy: crusty tips, little strings, perhaps even busted seams that at one time helped to contain a squeaker and stuffing that are now long gone. But is it possible that a dog toy sees too much play before they are in need of a good cleaning–or replacement? 

How Often Should You Clean Dog Toys?

For soft toys, put them in the washer and dryer every two to four weeks and for hard rubber toys, like Kongs, you can run them through the dishwasher weekly. 

Every toy will have their own cleaning recommendations, but in general you can use non-toxic or natural soaps, baby detergent or a homemade cleaning mixture of vinegar and baking soda. 

Can Dirty Toys Spread Germs?

Dogs that share a home are not very likely to pick up germs from a shared toy, unlike in high volume dog environments like a doggy daycare or park. At these places there may be viruses like kennel cough or papillomavirus that are extremely transmissible. Still, dogs would be more prone to pick up these germs from other dogs themselves as it’s less likely that a toy would transmit contagions. 

In general dogs that live in the same household likely already have the same germs–if any. When speaking about dog toys specifically, it’s worn toys that can be more of a cause for concern than dirty ones. 

When Should You Replace Dog Toys?

If you see any evidence of wear and tear, like exposed squeakers and loose strings, it’s time to replace the toy. Your dog could potentially ingest these things and that could lead to bigger issues than simply exposing them to a little dirt. 

And even if your dog toys are clean, it can be a challenge to keep your overall space tidy. Check out these expert trainer tips on how to teach your dog to clean up their toys and put them away at the end of the day. Plus we have organization ideas for all of your dog stuff from Feng Shui Guru, Cliff Tan. 

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