Recently, there has been an increase in the number of eco-friendly pet toys available. Many boast earth-friendly fabrics, non-toxic dyes, and healthy manufacturing. While that’s great news for concerned pet owners, many also have elevated price tags and construction that doesn’t withstand playful puppies.
I must confess: My dogs destroy toys almost as soon as I cut off the price tag. They are “power chewers” who love to play tug-of-war. So of course I’m concerned with making sure that the toys they play with are nontoxic – they occasionally, accidentally ingest torn pieces – and will biodegrade since I end up tossing so many shredded items. We recently had the opportunity to test a handful of eco-friendly toys, and two companies proved that it is possible to have a durable eco-friendly dog toy.
West Paw Design
We tested three toys provided by this innovative, earth-friendly manufacturer. First, the Tux toy (pictured above) is part of their Zogoflex line. The toys are made from tough, non-toxic material in a manufacturing process that creates virtually no waste. Tux is also stuffable – fill the cavities with treats and peanut butter to keep your dog busy for longer. From the same Zogoflex line, we also tested the Bumi, which is a z-shaped flexible toy. Though my dogs didn’t get into the Bumi, I tested it with the neighbor’s puppy who couldn’t get enough of its flexible, tugable shape. The company claims that Zogoflex toys are so tough, they’ll replace it once for free if your dog can damage it – and they have a less than one percent return rate. But the best part? When the toys degrade, you can send them back to the company for recycling.
I hesitated with the third toy. The eco-friendly plush toy, Flyer, is a round disc made from eco fabric and stuffing created from recycled plastic bottles. While the idea is brilliant, I thought for sure it would rip or tear after the first tug-of-war game. But, nope! A few weeks later, it’s still in one piece, and it quickly became my dogs’ favorite toy.
Purrfectplay is a young company in northwest Indiana. The products are crafted from organic, chemical-free, fair-trade materials and come in an array of shapes and sizes. We tested the 100 percent organic, dye-free cotton tug rope. The hand-braided toy is stretchable, which seems to be more fun for dogs than a static rope. Plus, this toy earns extra eco points because the company uses scraps of fabric provided through a cooperative arrangement with Mortex Apparel, and the price tags are made from outdated calendars.
We also tested the organic wool balls, which are made from wool sourced from small family farms across the U.S. The wool balls are hand formed from sustainably-produced, dye-free wool that is processed with gentle, non-toxic soaps. My dogs adore these wool balls, and they’re extremely durable, especially because they don’t have a seam for dogs to pull. Both the tug rope and the wool balls are machine washable, which is a big plus.
Bonus: Purrfectplay also produces darling cat toys made from organic dye-free fabrics stuffed with organic catnip.