Since most of our dogs enjoy carrying their toys around in their mouth, it’s no surprise that they’ll need a good wash occasionally. Cleaning your pet’s toys regularly will also help keep them in good condition and help you spot when they might need replacing.
For pet parents, this can be a little tricky, from knowing what to wash them with and in what setting to being able to tell when it’s time to replace them.
In this article, we’ll explain how to wash toys and answer some frequently asked questions such as:
- Can you wash dog toys in the washing machine?
- What is the best thing to wash dog toys with?
- What laundry detergent is safe for dog toys?
- How often should you wash your dog’s toys?
- How many toys should a dog have?
- When should you throw away dog toys?
Disclaimer: Please refer to the information in this article as a guide only. If you want specific information tailored to your pet, contact your veterinarian.
Can you wash dog toys in the washing machine?
Whether dog toys can be washed in the washing machine depends on what they are made of. Soft toys made from fabric are usually washing machine-safe, whereas toys made from plastic are better off washed by hand with soap in cooler water.
If you put your dog’s toys in the washing machine, it’s a good idea to put them in a fabric laundry bag to reduce the chances of them becoming broken, and choose a gentle cycle.
Washing hard toys by hand is better as it reduces the chances of them breaking due to changes in the glue or plastic caused by melting.
If you want to read more about dog hygiene, check out our articles Weathering the Elements – Hygiene Tips for Dogs in Every Season and Best Shampoos for Your Dog’s Coat Type.
What is the best thing to wash dog toys with?
Hard toys made from materials such as plastic are best off washed with cold, soapy water by hand.
Soft toys that can go in the washing machine can be accompanied by mild detergent that doesn’t contain any harmful substances. You can read more about which kinds of laundry detergents are safe for dogs in the next section.
Whatever material your pet’s toys are made from, it’s important to allow them time to air dry thoroughly before giving them back to your pet.
What laundry detergent is safe for dog toys?
You can use a standard laundry detergent without perfume or fabric softeners to wash your dog’s toys. It’s important to make sure they are completely dry before you give the toy back to them, though.
We’d also like to stress the importance of preventing your pet from coming into contact with or consuming laundry detergent.
Laundry detergent, like many other household cleaners, can be extremely harmful to dogs, so it’s best to ensure it’s always out of your pet’s reach.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested laundry detergent or any other type of cleaner, then take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. If you can, try to bring the label or the bottle of what you think your pet has consumed with you, as this may provide valuable information for your pet.
You can read more about poisonous household products on this page.
If you think that your pet may have been poisoned or come into contact with something harmful, you can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
How often should you wash your dog’s toys?
In general, it’s best to wash your dog’s toys at least once per month. If possible, we’d recommend that you wash them more often, especially if your dog is on a raw-food diet or likes to play with them outside.
Washing your dog’s toys will help clean away bacteria and dirt, help keep them in good condition, and allow you to check them for any damage.
If you don’t wash your dog’s toys often enough, they may start to smell and have broken or missing parts.
How many toys should a dog have?
Whether they prefer balls, tug ropes, plushies, or squeaky toys, it’s best to always make sure that they have a few options. This way, they’ll always have plenty of options and won’t protest as much if you need to take one away to wash it.
It’s difficult to say exactly how many toys a dog should have. If we could ask them, they’d likely tell you they always want more.
Toys provide our dogs with an important source of enrichment and entertainment. If you want to read about the benefits of dog toys, read this article.
If you have more than one dog in your home, it’s good to know that you should have enough toys for them to enjoy separately, even if they decide to share them.
When should you throw away dog toys?
When your dog’s toys start to fall apart, break, or have pieces coming off, then it’s time to throw them away. It might seem sad, but when this happens, the toys can cause more harm than good.
This is because your dog might eat or chew on the small pieces, which can be swallowed, get stuck, and damage their gastrointestinal system.
No matter how much it’s your dog’s favorite, sometimes it’s necessary to throw away and replace your dog’s toys discreetly. It’s normal that after a while, your dog’s toys will start to become a bit worn out.
We’re sure that they won’t object when you take them to the pet shop to look for new ones!
Washing your dog’s toys regularly will help reduce the build-up of dirt and bacteria and allow you to check that they are in good condition.
Don’t forget, if you ever think your pet has ingested or come into contact with something harmful, it’s best to take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Charlotte qualified as a veterinarian in 2023 and has been working as a writer for several years helping pet parents understand how to help their pets live happy healthy lives whilst pursuing her interests in wildlife conservation.
She enjoys traveling and has undertaken positions in Belgium, Spain, Austria, Germany, and the Galapagos and has a 15-year-old rescue dog called Chiki.