Selecting toys for our dogs can be a tough task, especially when we want the right combination of durable, stylish, and sustainably made. These companies have our dogs' best interests at heart, and have come up with adorable and affordable options.
The designs from West Paw Design are cute and whimsical, and they're also environmentally savvy. The rubber toys are made with Zogoflex, a tough, buoyant, and fully recyclable material that is also non-toxic, both BPA and phthalate-free. In other words, strong and safe! The plush toys are filled with IntelliLoft, a soft stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles that uses about eight times less energy than a similar material made from raw resources. An added bonus is that the stuffed toys are also completely machine washable, so you can get the stinky slobber and dirt off of them when needed.
The toys range from $8-$16.50.
For those who like to do their shopping at Etsy, selecting among countless independent artists, I suggest checking out Eleanor and Milo for simple yet beautiful hand-made stuffed toys made with reclaimed materials. Each toy uses remnants or deadstock fabrics from furniture manufacturing companies local to the artist in North Carolina. And even the filling, instead of using fluffy stuffing, is comprised of strips of re-purposed fabric. Each toy is entirely unique, and you can also order customized toys. And as an extra bonus, 5% of all proceeds are donated to animal rescue and rehabilitation organizations.
Prices range from $15-$17.
P.L.A.Y. not only makes fantastic dog beds, which we featured here among other great companies, but they also make some adorable stuffed toys. Their "Under the Sea" line of toys includes a giant clam, starfish, giant squid, sea turtle and crab. Each are made with PlanetFill stuffing, which is created out of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, and use AZO-free dye for the fabrics. They are completely washer and dryer safe, and in an extra special move, the company is donating 2% of the purchase price to International Fund for Animal Welfare, whose mission is to "reduce the commercial exploitation of animals, protect wildlife habitats, and assist animals in distress."
Prices range from $9-$15.50.
Harry Barker is another favorite company of ours when it comes to canid care. The company has a fantastic selection of toys of all different types, and they keep sustainability in mind during manufacturing. For instance, the rope toys are made from 100% recycled cotton yarns, and are machine washable. They have a selection of super cute Scottie dog stuffed toys that are extra durable and use a filler made from recycled plastic bottles. And the nautical-themed tug toys are made with a hemp exterior -- a great choice for a low-impact material -- and the same recycled filling as the other toys.
Prices range from $8-$16.
Honest Pet Products has three simple principles: "To be True to our Pets; to be True to our Planet; to be True to our People." That sounds like our kind of company. The toys from Honest Pet Products are made with organic hemp, which as the company points out is the strongest of all plant fibers and is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. And of course, the toys are compostable, since they skip synthetics, plastics and rubber. Several great designs are available, like the Eco Owl Buddy, which is made with an outer layer of organic hemp and an inner layer of organic wool. Rope tug toys, flyer frisbees, and a long "rattler" with squeekers are also great options. All the toys are machine washable, non-toxic, and are lead- and chemical-free.
Prices range from $8-$13.
Sustainability doesn't just mean that earth-friendly materials are used. It can also mean that it's an object that will last for a really, really, really long time, outlasting the competition. For that, we have stuffed toys from Tuffy's Pet Toys. I have to say, we play some serious tug-o-war games around here, and after going through goodness-knows-how-many stuffed toys -- with my dog ripping out the stuffing of even the "mighty" stuffed toys within a week or two and having only a sad, floppy carcass of cloth left to play with -- I finally found these in a pet store. I bought three about a year ago and haven't had to buy a single new stuffed toy since! They seem to last through the worst abuse, and that includes using them for our rambunctious games of tug-o-war.
There are loads of creatures, both real and mythical, to choose from. We have the shark (tuff scale: 7), the spider (tuff scale: 8), and tug-o-war toy (tuff scale: 9). The shark is now missing some stuffing but still has the squeeker, the spider is intact except for a mangled leg, and the tug-o-war toy is like new. So the company is really on target with their rating system!
The toys may not be made out of recycled or organic materials, but they last and after all, consuming less is part of living sustainably.
Prices range from $8-$80 because of the wide variety of size, durability and design, so you'll be able to find something that suits both your taste and budget.