No one actually regulates dog safety toys when it comes to the toxins, so our little fur babies need us more than ever when it comes to picking out their newest playthings. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  does regulate drugs, devices, and feed given to “companion and food-producing animals” they don’t cover:

  • Pet accessories like toys, beds, and crates
  • Grooming Aids
  • Cat litter
  • Bedding for pet birds and small animals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters

So, how can you check a toy for toxins?

Healthy Stuff, a project of The Ecology Center, has an online library of test results for many brand name pet products. If you visit the Archived Pet Supply Data page, you’ll find an alphabetized list of products, each of which contains test results for things like chlorine, chromium, arsenic, bromine, cadmium, tin, antimony, mercury, and lead. When the Healthy Stuff team ran their tests, they uncovered a few surprising facts: 

  • 45% of products had detectable levels of hazardous toxins
  • 48% percent contained detectable levels of lead
  • About half of the products had lead levels higher than the allowable standard for children’s toys

(Read “Beware of Lead and Toxic Toys to learn more about the test results.) 

The FDA also maintains a searchable list of livestock and pet products that have been recalled or withdrawn from the market. The list is rather small, but it’s good to check — just in case.

Alternatively, if you want to go the DIY route, the Environmental Protection Agency has a recommendation for consumers. The 3M Instant Lead Test is mostly used to test for lead on painted surfaces, but the website states it detects lead on “most surfaces.”