I happened to run across an email about dogs ingesting stuffed animal or other flame retardant fabric items. It appears that this is not a new article. I normally go to the thrift stores to buy stuffed animals for my 2 dogs cuz it is way cheaper to pay 10 cents for a toy that will be ripped up in 2 minutes than pay $5 on one made specifically for pets. One of the Volunteers also brings these stuffed animals to Animal Control for the dogs there. Not sure if any of the dogs have had issues from this, I haven't heard anything nor seen any problems with my dogs. Now I am wondering if that is such a good idea. I checked out Snopes.com and this is the article that was on their website. Makes one wonder whether anything is safe anymore. Beware of your pets ingesting fabric items that are flame retardant.
This item about the potential deadliness of stuffed children's toys for the four-legged friends who live in those households began circulating on the Internet in late March 2010.
As to whether there's anything to the story, we contacted Sandra Tuominen, a veterinarian in Virginia, Minnesota, who is named in some of the e-mailed forwards as the vet who handled the case. She replied: Several years ago, I had a young Lab come in that was very sick. X-rays revealed what appeared to be an obstructive pattern in the intestines. Being a Lab, I expected to find a toy or other such foreign body lodged in his intestines. Instead what I found was the entire length of intestine was black and dead! I opened up the stomach and found a large amount of clear gelatinous material. Upon questioning the owner, I found the dog had chewed up and eaten a toy made for a baby. We contacted the manufacturer of the toy and found that the polyfil, which would digest into the clear gel, is treated with a chemical to discourage bacterial growth. This chemical, while harmless to the babies chewing on the outside of the toy, if ingested is extremely toxic to the intestines. The dog did not survive.
Since then, I have seen one other case with similar symptoms, with the only known ingestion being the insides of the owners' comforter off of their bed. While this one was not confirmed, it stands to reason that the inside of a comforter would be treated with the same type of chemical.
This most recent case was a young dog that ate a teddy bear. Again,
not confirmed, but the same symptoms, same appearance on exploratory surgery. It is still alive now, but we are not sure he will survive.
While the e-mail being circulated identifies the pet-deadly culprit as flame retardants (materials that inhibit or resist the spread of fire) used to treat kids toys, in the vet's account the finger is pointed at chemical treatments that render fabrics less hospitable environments for the growth of bacteria, fungi, and the like.
Before this claim about deadly stuffed toys is asserted as "true," we need to consider that correlation is not the same as causation. It's possible each of the dogs had something wrong with them that
antedated their making meals of bedding or toys, with the connection
to bedding and toys being made only after the vet asked each owner
what their dogs had been up to prior to becoming ill. If treated fabrics used in bedding and kids' toys are the danger to pets they're being represented as, other veterinarians are sure to soon weigh in with their tales of animal patients who displayed the same symptoms after chomping down on teddy bears and the like.
Regardless, dog owners should keep in mind that dogs have powerful jaws and stuffed toys vended as children's playthings aren't generally manufactured to stand up to the chewing and rending any typical pooch would give them. Cautious pet owners will therefore remove such items from their animals' use and substitute play items made specifically for pets.