Skip to Content

Are You Supposed to Wash Dog Toys?

Golden retriever carrying a stuffed toy turkey in its mouth, outdoors

Toys for your dog need to be durable to withstand regular gnawing and playing. However, dog toys can harbor bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. You may avoid spreading dangerous diseases by regularly cleaning your dog’s favorite toys. Keep reading to learn when you are supposed to wash dog toys and know about the disadvantages of not washing them.

How to wash dog toys? Click here to find out.

How Often Should Dog Toys Be Washed?

According to research by NSF International (National Sanitation Foundation), dog toys are among the top 10 germiest household items. It is a good idea to clean them thoroughly AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH. However, weekly cleaning would be preferable.

Cleaning toys daily is an excellent idea for those that endure rigorous play and get coated in drool, grime, and who knows what else. That is especially true for any toys that have been used outside of your lawn and house.

Daily cleaning of beloved dog toys is crucial for dogs on raw food diets. Studies show that these diets may include dangerous bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria. After a meal, if your dog enjoys playing with their toys, it could become infected with harmful bacteria. You run the danger of accidentally ingesting these toys if you touch your mouth while handling them. Always wash these toys after your dog plays with them and eats them, to be safe.

Should I wash my dogs toys after buying? Click here to learn more.

What Happens If You Don’t Wash Dog Toys?

Stuffed dog toy sitting outdoors in dirt

The majority of dogs have a favorite toy that they always carry around. That toy is carried around the home, outside, on walks, and to the dog park. Slobber, dirt, and everything else that is on the ground ends up on it.

That implies that fungus, mold, mildew, or staph germs might all be present in dog toys. When they are brought for walks or to the dog park, there is a chance that they might become infected with the parvovirus or the distemper virus. In addition to that, there is the possibility of fecal contamination, which poses a risk to you because it may spread diseases like Giardia and E. coli to people. The following are some health hazards caused if you do not wash dog toys.

Lip Wounds

If dog toys aren’t cleaned, they could cut lips. Battles or gnawing on toys and objects are common and can be very intense. Thorns, grass awns, plant burrs, sticks, unclean dog toys, and fishhooks can penetrate lips and severely irritate or harm the skin there. Irritants like plastic or plant materials can cause lip irritation.

Mouth Burns

Yellow Labrador Puppy chewing an orange toy against a white background

Chewing on filthy dog toys frequently results in thermal (heat), chemical, or electrical burns affecting the mouth in dogs. Your physician will examine you for any chemical contamination injuries brought on by dirty dog toys. The wounds may be minor, causing just momentary discomfort, or they may be severe, causing tissue loss, scarring, deformity, or tissue loss in addition to tissue loss and tissue loss. These additional injuries can occasionally pose a threat to life.

Bleeding Gums

Dogs who chew on unclean toys are susceptible to a range of dangers, including any pricks attached to the toys’ surfaces. The pricks can cause bleeding and injury to your dog’s gums.

Infections of Gastrointestinal Tract

German shepherd puppy chewing a sock

When dogs chew on unwashed dog toys, the bacteria grown on them can easily travel to the stomach. These bacteria can seriously affect a dog’s gastrointestinal tract and have symptoms that last for up to five or six days. Similarly, parvovirus can cause viral infections in the stomach and gut of dogs.

Tongue Inflammation

Glossitis is the medical term for tongue inflammation. Infection, irritability, wounds, illness, chemicals, or other factors like electrical burns or insect stings may be to blame. Dog toys that are not cleaned and maintained invite a variety of illnesses. When a dog chews on an unclean dog toy, a thread, string, or other foreign material may become entangled under the tongue.

How to Wash Hard Dog Toys?

Hands wearing yellow rubber gloves over a pink wash tub full of soapy water

Can you wash hard dog toys? You can, indeed. To clean off dirt and grime, vigorously scrub dog toys made of silicone, rubber, and plastic. Some rubber toys may be cleaned in the dishwasher, which makes maintenance easier. To get rid of any soap residue, it’s a good idea to rinse dishwasher-safe dog toys.

Before putting hard and rubber dog toys back in your pet’s play bin, make sure to properly clean and air dry them. Some dog chew toys may need to be let air dry for a few hours since moisture encourages the growth of germs.

How to Wash Plush Dog Toys?

Close up view of a front load washer with a teddy bear pressed against the door looking out

Instead of using laundry detergent, you can wash plush dog toys in your washing machine by adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar and setting the cycle to gentle. To hasten the drying process, lay the plush toys flat or hang them to dry outside. You can also use the dryer’s no-heat tumble cycle.

To maintain them, damaged and ripped plush toys should be hand cleaned as washing machines would speed up their degeneration. Add one ounce of white vinegar to the warm water already in the sink or bucket. Brush the favorite toy gently to remove dirt, then rinse it to get rid of the strong vinegar scent.

How to Wash Outdoor Dog Toys?

Black, brown and white dog with a dirty tennis ball in its mouth

Make an effort to clean your dog’s outdoor toys more frequently. Cleaning just one toy each week can drastically cut down on the number of bacteria that find their way back into your house.

These toys tend to get a little bit more soiled, so you might need to soak them longer or scrub them more vigorously to get them clean. Double the amount of white vinegar in your soak for heavily soiled and settled grime, but make sure to rinse them thoroughly.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.