In June, Chai, a yellow lab mix in NYC was injured by a common toy, a ball with a hole in it (likely intended for treat dispensing or simply to make the ball more squeezable). As Chai was licking the ball he got his tongue into the hole and because there was only one hole in the ball, it created a vacuum, his tongue got stuck and by the time an emergency vet team sedated Chai and cut the toy off, the damage was done, his tongue had to be amputated. Despite heavy medication, Chai is still visibly in a lot of pain. He is essentially handicapped and requires extensive special care. And as you can imagine, the veterinary costs have been enormous, in excess of $5,000 so far.
As it turns out, Chai is not the only one.
The company that manufactured this particular toy is Four Paws, Inc. They are a large pet product manufacturer and most of the people reading this blog likely have at least one of their products at home. The toy in question is called the Pimple Ball with Bell. Chai's owner says that he has contacted Four Paws and provided them with detailed accounts of Chai's injury as well as two other dogs that he personally knows of. Apparently, Four Paws refuses to recall the toy, change the design or acknowledge any wrong doing.
Chai's owner has started a blog to spread the word.
If Four Paws does nothing to help these owners and their dogs and makes no effort to redesign this toy, I will certainly never recommend any of their products or purchase them myself. You may contact Mr. Allen Simon, the CEO of Four Paws at this email address firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also like to point out that I have seen similar products from other manufacturers both in stores and online, even very upscale brands. This is probably a very common design flaw, but now that word is out, I hope that all pet toy makers will rework their products to include a second hole (I don't hold out much hope though). In the mean time, I suggest that you check your pet's toys, and if you think there's any chance that your dog could get even the tip of their tongue into such a toy, take it away. You can give it to a more appropriately sized dog, recycle it or simply throw it away.