Your pooch is a member of the family, so you certainly want to avoid giving her a toy that could make her sick. And for that matter, you’d probably prefer to purchase eco-friendly dog toys that are manufactured in sustainable ways too.
Fortunately, there are a number of organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly dog toys on the market, and several of them are pretty popular with pups too.
We’ll start by introducing you to a few of the best options below, but later, we’ll clarify some of the most commonly used vocabulary terms sometimes applied to dog toys to make sure we’re all on the same page.
And after we share some of our favorite eco-friendly dog toys, we’ll provide a few eco-friendly tips dog owners can employ.
Quick Picks: Best Eco-Friendly Dog Toys
Best Organic, Eco-Friendly, and Sustainable Dog Toys
The following dog toys are some of the best options we could find for owners who want to do their part to help the planet.
All appear to be great choices, but be sure to compare them carefully, so you can pick the best one for your pet.
1. West Paw Zogoflex Hurley Bone
About: West Paw’s Zogoflex Hurley Dog Bone is made in the company’s own Bozeman, Montana facility from BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free, recycled materials. Additionally, the Hurley can be recycled once your dog is finished playing with it – the company even manages a “Join the Loop” program to make it easy for owners to ensure their old dog toys are recycled. But that’s only half of the story; the company’s dog toys – especially the Zogoflex Hurley — are also incredibly well designed and fun for dogs to play with. For that matter, they’re some of the most durable dog toys too.
- Backed by a manufacturer’s Love It Guarantee
- Fun bone shape idea for fetching and chewing, plus it floats for water fun
- Bounces in unpredictable ways, making pupper playtime more fun
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning as needed
- Available in three sizes (X-Small, Small, and Large) and four colors (Aqua, Ruby, Tangerine, and Granny Smith)
- Toy is entirely recyclable, making it one less landfill filler
- Dishwasher-safe design ideal for keeping things fresh
- Reasonably priced
- Super versatile toy for fetching, chewing, tugging, and even woofer water play
- Not tough enough for ultra power-chewing pups
- Some pups may not be big fans of the texture
2. Cycle Dog High Roller Plus Bounce Treat Hiding Ball
About: Entertain your barking buddy with the Cycle Dog High Roller Plus Bounce Treat Hiding Ball, an interactive toy you can stuff with your floof’s favorite treats, toss, and more for lasting fun. This ball keeps it eco-friendly with its construction, featuring recycled Ecolast rubber. Based in Portland, Oregon, Cycle Dog does a lot of different things to help the environment, including using stuffing made of recycle plastic bottles and waterproof collars and leashes crafted with recycled bicycle inner tubes.
- Treaded design makes the ball bounce in unpredictable ways, making playtime more interesting
- Buoyant nature and bright coloring make it a perfect dog water toy for pool time, as it is easy for puppers to see while dog-paddling around
- Can be stuffed with an assortment of treats, from bully sticks to dog-safe peanut butter
- Available in Medium and Large sizes in Blue and Green
- Made in the United States
- Versatile toy that bounces, floats, and functions as a puzzle
- Made of recycled materials
- Stuffable, interactive nature keeps canines occupied for longer than standard balls
- Not compatible with every treat, as some slide out too easily
- Super chewers may be too tough for this toy
3. Ethical Products Spot Skinneeez Stuffless Dog Toy
About: Give your play-happy pooch the perfect toy to flop and shake with Ethical Products Spot Skinneeez Stuffless Dog Toy, a fuzzy that doesn’t include stuffing, making your mutt less inclined to tear into it. Affordably priced, this pupper play item won’t break the bank, letting you stock up your dog’s toy basket. The brand behind it is known for its commitment to sustainability, which includes being a supporting member of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition and outfitting its New Jersey location with solar panels way back before it was trending in 2011.
- Available in Small and Large sizes in 13 animal designs, including Beaver, Fox, and Flamingo
- Plush exterior makes it a great snuggle toy
- Head and tail squeakers offer double the squeaky fun
- Limp design lets your doggo thrash and toss to toy with ease
- Made in China
- Wallet-friendly pricing lets you beef up your barker’s toy collection
- Two squeaker sites make for more enriching play sessions
- Stuffing-free design ideal for keeping fun relatively mess-free
- Great for tossing and shaking
- Some owners felt the squeakers were too easy for dogs to remove
- Won’t withstand shred-happy hounds
- Made in China
4. BecoThings Small Blue Becoball
About: BecoThings Small Blue Becoball is a non-toxic, eco-friendly fetch toy that is made from all-natural rice-husk rubber. While it is primarily designed for throwing with your pooch at the park, it also comes with a hollow interior in which you can insert a treat to transform the ball into a treat-dispensing dog toy. This should make the ball a great option for solo playtime as well!
- Holed design whistles when tossed, intriguing pups to give chase
- Wipe clean as needed to maintain freshness
- Has a pleasant vanilla scent
- Available in Small, Medium, and Large sizes
- Made in China
- Natural rubber construction offers ample bounce for rounds of fetch
- Toys you can stuff are great for canine engagement
- Easy to wipe clean for refreshing
- Not strong enough to withstand heavy chewing
- Made in China
5. Spunky Pup Woolies Plush
About: Made of natural materials, including an eco-friendly wool blend, Spunky Pup Woolies Plush is the perfect playtime companion for calmer canines of smaller stature with its mini sizing. Durable stitching helps it last through cuddles and carrying while dangling legs and ears offer multiple points for gentle nibbles. While not one of the softest plush toys around, it also makes a good bedtime buddy for anxious barkers.
- Made in China
- Stitch features are free of buttons many pups simply nibble off
- Built-in squeaker piques pupper interest
- Hand wash with a mild soap for refreshing as needed
- Available in 7 animal designs, including Pig, Chicken, and Koala, with 4 in mini sizes
- Smaller sizing ideal for petite pups
- Available in an assortment of animals at affordable price points
- Plenty of pet parents are pleased with the look and durability of this toy
- Like many plush toys, this must be hand-washed
- Not tough enough for aggressive chewers
- Made in China
6. Earth Rated Natural Rubber Treat Toy
About: Stimulate your dog’s natural foraging instincts with the Earth Rated Natural Rubber Treat Toy, a stuffable chew with an oblong shape forcing your pup to work for any goodies you hide inside. Fill with peanut butter or fill with treats or kibble and watch your floof wiggle, wobble, and bounce the toy to gobble up the goods. This brand is B Corp-certified for its positive environmental and sustainability practices.
- Textured exterior helps massage gums and clean teeth as your pup nibbles
- Freeze with treats inside to increase doggy difficulty
- Available in small and large sizes
- Can be washed on the top rack of your dishwasher
- Made in Vietnam with natural rubber
- Can be stuffed with anything from canned dog food to kibble
- Dishwasher and freezer-safe design make it a convenient choice for modern life
- Material has plenty of bounce for more interactive play
- Made in Vietnam
- Not every dog likes rubber dog toys
7. Spunky Pup Organic Cotton Dog Toy
About: Have a snuggle-loving sniffer seeking a cuddle buddy? Look no further than the Spunky Pup Organic Cotton Dog Toy, an animal-shaped friend made of organic cotton, natural vegetable dye, and a coconut husk filling. The exterior faux-fur fiber is perfect for cozying up on a cool night, while the toy itself is soft and malleable to mold as your pooch gets comfortable in bed.
- Fur color varies from light tan to brown
- Double layering and durable stitching reinforce this toy’s frame for fun
- Built-in squeaker provides enrichment as your pup plays
- Made in India
- Offered in small and large sizes in Bear and Bunny designs
- Made with natural materials, including coconut husk filling and organic cotton
- Soft exterior comfy enough for cuddling
- Sizing options work well for dogs big and small
- Not recommended for power chewers
- Made in India
8. Spunky Pup Clean Earth Recycled Dog Toy
About: Do your part in combatting plastic proliferation in the environment with the Spunky Pup Clean Earth Recycled Dog Toy, a pup plaything made with four to six recycled plastic bottles, depending on sizing. Best of all, you can also recycle this toy when the time comes to reduce landfill waste. Each toy has a variety of fun textures for more enriching play, including plush and tough webbing.
- Inner squeaker keeps your pup chomping and intrigued
- Durable stitching helps bolster the toy against light damage
- Appendages on some designs make for more Fido fun
- Made in China
- Offered in Small and Large sizes in 12 different animal designs, like Seahorse, Caribou, and Fox
- Each toy is made of recycled materials
- Multiple textures and squeaker keep canines engaged
- Wide variety of animals to choose from
- Not a good match for power-chewing pups
- Made in China
Organic, Sustainable, Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly? What Do You Really Want?
A growing number of dog owners (and people in general) are beginning to appreciate the need to purchase products that are friendly to the environment and support businesses who take their ecological responsibilities seriously. In fact, many pet owners are willing to spend additional money to do so.
This is awesome. As a former environmental educator, it warms my heart to see so many people starting to value the natural world and take tangible steps to protect it.
But unfortunately, some manufacturers are capitalizing on this well-meaning desire in ways that are at best sloppy and at worst manipulative. A lot of it relates to the way buzzwords and language are used.
For example, the terms described above – organic, sustainable, etc. – are often used interchangeably or in imprecise ways.
So, let’s start by clarifying what each means, and discussing how it relates to your desire to purchase safe and eco-friendly dog toys for your pooch.
- Organic: Ask a biology nerd what the word “organic” means and you’ll get a wry smile and a definition regarding the presence of carbon. That’s technically correct, but the term is also used to describe products, farming methods or manufacturing processes that don’t rely on artificial agents, such as pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. The term organic should primarily be used to describe dog toys created from agricultural products composed of textiles — for example, toys made from organic cotton, rope or fabric.
- Sustainable: Sustainable products (or in this case, dog toys specifically) are those that are produced in ways that are not harmful to the environment nor do they deplete natural resources. In the world of pet toys, this term is best used to describe dog toys made from renewable resources, such as textiles derived from plant-based sources.
- Non-Toxic: Non-toxic refers to products that don’t have anything poisonous or noxious in them. We’d like to think that all dog toys on the market meet this criterion, but unfortunately, some toys have been discovered to contain lead and other harmful chemicals.
- Eco-Friendly: Eco-friendly is perhaps the most poorly defined term of all, but eco-friendly dog toys should generally be produced in ways that don’t harm the environment, don’t represent a drain on natural resources, and will biodegrade in a reasonable time frame. This definition could be applied to a number of different products, including textile-based organic dog toys, as well as toys made from sustainable materials or in “green” manners. But, it’s probably also fair to call toys made from recycled plastics as eco-friendly dog toys too – particularly if they’re designed to be recycled once your dog is through playing with them.
8 Additional Eco-Friendly Actions Dog Owners Can Take
Obviously, you won’t single-handedly save the planet by purchasing some of the best eco-friendly toys on the market.
It’s certainly helpful, but there are plenty of other things that environmentally conscious pet owners can do to help reduce the amount of environmental harm their pet causes.
A few of the best things to do include:
- Use biodegradable or compostable poop bags. Your pet’s waste is clearly biodegradable, but that won’t matter if you seal it up in a plastic bag that’ll last for centuries. Fortunately, there are a number of biodegradable poop bags on the market that’ll break down within a year. And some – like the Doggy Do Good Poop Bags – break down in as little as 90 days.
- Purchase foods made by companies that embrace environmentally friendly practices. There are several options available, but Open Farm stands out with its focus on non-GMO, locally sourced fruits and vegetables, plans to drastically cut emissions, and the use of eco-friendly packaging. Other awesome eco-friendly dog food companies include The Honest Kitchen, Jiminy’s, and Steve’s Real Food.
- Leave the car at home and walk your dog while running errands. Given that many retail establishments are becoming more and more dog friendly, you may want to consider walking with your dog when running errands. Not only will your dog love the chance to get out and about more, it’ll help reduce the amount of gas you use, thereby reducing your carbon footprint. You won’t be able to do this all the time, but you’ll be surprised how many quick car trips you can avoid if you try.
- Collect the water from your dog’s baths and use it to water plants. If you wash your dog in your bathtub, you’ll just end up wasting all of the water you used in the process. But, if you pick up an outdoor dog bath and use a biodegradable shampoo for dogs, you can use the collected water for watering plants and similar things.
- Opt for ceramic, stainless steel, stone wear, or glass food and water dishes. Plastic bowls are fine for most pets, but steel, glass, and ceramic dog bowls are better in a number of ways. From an ecological standpoint, they’re helpful because they’ll last much longer, thereby requiring you to buy fewer over time. A good plastic bowl may last a year or two, but a high-quality ceramic, stone wear, or stainless-steel bowl should last a decade or more (I’ve had a few like these that have lasted for more than 20 years!).
- Donate lightly-used items to your local shelter. You’ll end up buying a bunch of stuff for your pooch over time, and unfortunately, some of the things you buy won’t work out for one reason or another. So, instead of throwing this kind of stuff in the trash, where it’ll take up landfill space, consider donating some of these items to your local shelter. This isn’t only a great eco-friendly practice, but it’ll also help good floofs waiting in shelters for their forever homes.
- Look for other accessories that are made from organic and/or sustainable materials. Don’t consider your eco-supporting efforts complete because you bought some organic dog toys; there are a variety of other dog products that are made from eco-friendly materials or in environmentally friendly ways. This includes everything from eco-friendly dog beds, harnesses, leashes, and more!
- Brush your dog’s coat regularly. Even if you have a dog who doesn’t shed very much, all dogs will leave hair in their wake, which will require you to break out the heavy duty pet hair vacuum. Now, a vacuum cleaner doesn’t use a ton of electricity, but every little bit helps in the battle against climate change. So, take your dog outside a couple of times a week and give him a good brushing to knock off as much hair as you can before it winds up on your floors and furniture.
- Try some DIY dog gear. Don’t forget that you can make your own homemade dog toys to help reduce your canine’s carbon footprint. There are also tons of other dog products you can make yourself – from DIY dog beds (such as dog beds made from pallets) and DIY dog toys to homemade leashes, try repurposing things around the house to make some stuff for your pup!
Super-dedicated eco-warrior bonus: Once you brush your dog, collect the hair. Stuff it all in a small netted bag like this and tie the whole shebang on a tree limb. Birds often have difficulty finding nest-building materials in urban and suburban environments, but dog hair works wonderfully for some species, and they’ll often utilize the resource if you provide it.
Dogs help us to connect with the natural world on a daily basis, so it makes sense that many dog owners become more environmentally conscious after adding a furry friend to the family.
There are a ton of things you can do as a dog owner to help protect the planet and purchasing eco-friendly dog toys is a great place to start!
Let us know about any eco-friendly dog products you’ve stumbled across below. What are your votes for the best sustainable dog toys? What about the best eco-friendly dog toys? Are there any organic dog toys we missed? Does your dog seem to like natural dog toys more than traditional alternatives?
Don’t be shy!