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 toys that can be manufactured in environmentally friendly ways too.
Fortunately, there are a number of organic, eco-friendly and sustainable 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.
We’ll even provide a few environmentally friendly tips dog owners can employ.
Quick Picks: Best Environmentally Friendly Dog Toys
- #1 Pick: West Paw Zogoflex Hurley — The Zogoflex Hurley is easily one of the best dog toys on the market, and it is made in eco-friendly fashion as well. It works great for tugging or fetch games, and you can recycle the toy once your dog is done playing with it.
- #2 Pick: BecoThings Beco Ball — The Beco Ball is an eco-friendly fetch toy that includes a number of nifty features to make it fun for your dog. It whistles when you throw it, and you can even put a treat inside it for solo play sessions.
- #3 Pick: Spot Skineeez Big Bite Coyote — The Spot Skineeez Coyote is a sustainably manufactured tug and chew toy, which features an internal pocket designed to hold a plastic bottle. This should help make it more fun for your dog to chew and help keep his interest.
Best Organic, Eco-Friendly, and Non-Toxic 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.
- DURABLE DOG BONES FOR AGGRESSIVE CHEWERS: If your pampered pooch is an aggressive chewer, then...
- DOG BONE FOR WATER OR LAND: This durable dog bone chew toy is floatable and perfect for playing...
- SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO WOOD STICKS: It’s natural for dogs to want to carry wood sticks around the...
- RECYCLABLE PET TOYS: Not only do these dog bones feature bright colors to easily spot inside or out,...
About: West Paw Design is one of the most environmentally friendly dog toy manufacturers around, and they incorporate a litany of sustainable and forward-thinking practices in their business model.
But that’s only half of the story; their toys – especially the celebrated Zogoflex Hurley — are also incredibly well designed, fun for dogs to play with, and quite durable too.
Features: The Zogoflex Hurley (like most other toys produced by West Paw Design) 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 toys are recycled.
In addition to being a solid eco-friendly dog toy, most dogs seem to love the Zogoflex Hurley too, as it is not only supremely durable (and backed by a lifetime warranty), but it also features a shape that dogs find fun to chew.
The Zogoflex Hurley floats and bounces in unpredictable ways, so it can function for solo-chew time, tug of war, or retrieving games.
The Zogoflex Hurley is easily one of the best environmentally friendly dog toys on the market – in fact, it is a strong contender for the title of “best all around dog toy.” It receives glowing reviews from nearly all owners who try it, it’s reasonably priced, and it’s available in three sizes and four colors.
The only common complaint about the Hurley relates to its durability – it’s simply not tough enough for some ultra power-chewing pups. But frankly, this is an across-the-board issue for most dog toys. Some pups are simply super strong and determined enough to chew through just about anything.
- Organic cotton
- Filled with recycled pp
About: Simply Fido makes a number of different dog toys, and they are all made with two key things in mind: sustainability and canine safety.
To ensure their products won’t harm the planet, Simply Fido uses a combination of natural cotton and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified poly fiber fill material to stuff their toys. They also use low-impact dyes, which are easier on the earth’s freshwater sources.
And to make sure that your dog can enjoy the toy safely, Simply Fido puts their toys through EN71 Toy Safety Testing.
Features: The Blue Owl is primarily designed as a tug toy, and it features a long rope which is easy to hold while your dog goes to town on the stuffed portion. It will also work well as a dog fetch toy, and you can use the rope to really sling it across the backyard.
The Blue Owl features an organic canvas exterior, which many dogs enjoy chewing, and it also includes a squeaker to help keep your pooch interested.
Most owners who tried the Simply Fido Blue Owl were pleased with the product. Dogs seem to love gnawing on the organic dog toy, but many owners found it worked best for tugging and fetching. Many specifically praised the attached rope, which allows owners to grip the toy easily.
While the Blue Owl makes a great tug or fetch toy, it does not appear strong enough to make a good chew toy for most dogs. A few owners also complained that the toy is a bit small — the entire thing is only 9 inches long.
- CUSTOM DESIGNED to mimic the markings of a real pheasant. Your dog will love to prance around with...
- HIGH-QUALITY STORY INSERT: Tells your recipient our toys give back to rescue. Detailed story of...
- STIMULATES A DOG'S HUNTING INSTINCT: Quacker makes a honking noise that will make your dog jump for...
- COMMON SENSE DISCLAIMER: Plush material can only withstand gentle chewing. If your dog has a history...
About: The Sancho & Lola’s Closet Plush Dog Toy is a durable, eco-friendly, non-toxic dog toy that is clad in low-key colors to keep it from being an eyesore in your home.
This toy is primarily designed as a cuddle and chew toy, but it would probably also work well for playing fetch.
Features: Sancho & Lola’s Closet primarily focuses on edible treats, but they do make a small line of pet toys too.
These toys are primarily made from eco-friendly hemp fibers, although they do have a bit of plush fabric as well, to help keep your dog’s interest and provide different textures.
Sancho & Lola’s Closet make their toys in several different forms, which resemble animals including crocodiles, pheasants, squirrels, and rabbits. You can also purchase them singly or in money-saving two packs.
These toys are not designed for power-chewers, and they contain an internal squeaking device, so you’ll want to be sure to monitor your pet closely when you offer them this toy.
Sancho & Lola’s Closet is dedicated to helping shelter dogs as well as canines in “crisis conditions,” so they donate 5% of their toys to rescues across the country.
These eco-friendly plush dog toys received very positive reviews from most owners. Many owners reported that their dogs simply loved these toys and immediately began carrying them around everywhere. Most owners also expressed that the toys were well made and quite realistic looking.
The only regular complaint about Sancho & Lola’s Closet Plush Toy related to durability. As always, dogs who are super chewers often need specialized indestructible dog toys to withstand those heavy chompers.
- STUFFINGLESS - What makes this toy different from all the other "stuffed" animals you have? This...
- PLASTIC BOTTLE INCLUDED - This toy was designed with all dogs in mind, large or small breeds,...
- DURABLE - Durability and strength are essential features to this unstuffed dog furry toy. This toy...
- VARIATIONS - This toy is available in three designs: Jackal, Wolf and Coyote . So buy one, or even...
About: Ethical Pets has been producing high-quality pet products since 1952. Eco-friendly practices are a big part of the company’s mission, and Ethical Pets Inc. is a supporting member of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition.
In fact, they even outfitted their Bloomfield, New Jersey plant in 2011 with solar panels, which allows them to operate on 100% solar power.
Features: Ethical Pets is clearly an environmentally friendly company, but their toys are also deserving of praise in their own right.
The Spot Skineeez Big Bite is a chew or snuggle toy that is made without stuffing of any kind. This should help discourage your dog from trying to rip the toy apart, resulting in hours of playtime fun.
It also features elastic materials which make it a great tug toy too (it stretches up to 3 feet long!). It even works as a water bottle toy and comes with a plastic water bottle that is designed to be inserted inside the toy to provide more chewing enjoyment.
The Spot Skineeez Big Bite is available in two different versions (coyote or jackal), and it is backed by Ethical Pet’s 100% worry-free guarantee.
PROS: Most owners were happy with the Spot Skineeez Big Bite, and the majority of dogs seemed to love playing with it — especially when it was used with the included water bottle. The toy is also quite versatile, as owners reported that it worked well as a chew toy, tug toy, and for playing fetch.
CONS: The only common problem owners mentioned about this toy was its durability. It just doesn’t appear tough enough for super-aggressive chewers. That said, it seems perfectly suitable for “medium” chewers, and it should still work as a tug or fetch toy for just about any dog.
- Cycle Dog's High Roller beefy-treaded dog ball is a Super Float water toy; made with Ecolast high...
- Features Super Float to float above the water surface, making it easier to find for all water dogs
- Ecolast high durability post-consumer recycled material for hours of fun while reducing your dog's...
- Tough Squeak internal squeaker for extended playtimes
About: Cycle Dog is one of the leading dog toy manufacturers who strives to implement eco-friendly practices and materials in their dog toys.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Cycle Dog does a lot of different things to help the environment, including collecting used bicycle inner tubes, which they then use to create many of their toys.
Features: The High Roller Ball is a fetch-style dog toy that is made from Ecolast post-consumer recycled content, which is not only environmentally friendly, but durable too.
It features a treaded design that feels great for your dog’s mouth while also allowing the ball to bounce in unpredictable ways.
Cycle Dog describes the High Roller Ball as a “super float” toy, meaning that it floats above the surface of the water. This makes it a perfect dog water toy for pool time, as it is easy for puppers to see while dog-paddling around. It also features an internal squeaker, which is sure to keep your dog’s interest.
Most owners who tried this ball raved about its quality. Most reported that their dog loved playing with the toy and that it was more durable than they’d expected.
A small number of owners reported that their dog was able to liberate the internal squeaker, but this doesn’t seem to be a wide-spread problem. Aside from that, the only other issue is that the ball only comes in one color, but that’s a really minor problem (unless you really hate the color blue).
6. Beco Ball
- Best from Nature: Made from natural rubber, the Beco Ball is tough, hardwearing and springy enough...
- Filled with Treats: Make this toy even more enticing by stuffing it with your pet's favorite treats...
- Adventure Ready: A ball that bounces and wobbles, floats and wipes clean, and whistles when it flies
- Play Safe: No toy is indestructible, but this is as close as we get. Supervised play will keep your...
About: Beco Pets is a London-based pet toy and supply manufacturer that implements a variety of earth-friendly practices.
They have managed to recycle 1.8 million plastic bottles while making some of their dog toys, and their compostable dog poop bags have been used to deal with 48 million poops in an especially eco-friendly fashion.
Features: The Beco Ball 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 and a hole, into 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!
The Beco Ball is available in four different sizes to suit your pooch’s mouth. It also bounces in unusual ways to help keep your pup’s brain busy, features a pleasing vanilla scent, and it is backed by a lifetime warranty.
The Beco Ball is another product that doesn’t have a ton of reviews, but most owners who tried it were happy with their purchase. It appears to work equally well as a fetch toy or solo boredom buster, and several owners were very happy with the way it holds treats.
The only common complaint about the Beco Ball was – wait for it – durability. But as you’ve no doubt learned by now, that’s a common problem that is an issue with almost every dog toy, whether they’re made from eco-friendly materials or not.
- NATURAL MATERIALS: Made with natural wool & coconut husk stuffing and free of synthetic polyfill,...
- ECO-FRIENDLY & SUSTAINABLE: Our dogs matter, and so does the earth, that why we created a line of...
- GENTLE PLAY: With natural textures and scents dogs love, the Outward Hound Woolyz Giraffe is a great...
About: Outward Hound makes a number of dog toys and accessories, and their Naturals line of pet toys are great for owners who’d like to stick to an eco-friendly option.
Outward Hound Naturals are made from natural materials, such as wool, hemp, and rubber, rather than polyfill or other synthetics. As explained by Outward Hound, these sustainable dog toys are “gentle on the planet and perfect for gentle play.”
Features: The Outward Hound Woolyz Giraffe is a cute and safe toy that works well for fetch, gentle tugging, and all-purpose snuggling. The outside of the toy is made from 100% natural wool, while the inside is stuffed with environmentally friendly coconut husk.
The toy is about 14 inches long, and it has a texture that most dogs simply love. It even features an internal squeaker, which should help keep your dog’s interest for hours.
Reviews for the Woolyz Giraffe were a bit mixed, but many owners found that it worked well for small and gentle dogs. The texture of the toy seems very appealing to dogs, and most owners loved that it was made from natural materials.
Simply put, the Woolyz Giraffe isn’t durable enough for aggressive chewers — it may not even hold up well for moderate chewers. But, if you want a fetch or tug toy for a relatively chill canine, it may be a great option.
Our Favorite: The West Paw Zogoflex Hurley
We usually end up recommending them because they feature a number of cool design features, they’re durable (and backed by one heckuva good warranty), and they’re made in the USA. But they are also recyclable and made from sustainable materials.
So, while any of the toys above should probably work for your pet and help you avoid causing any environmental problems in the process, the Zogoflex Hurley is a good default choice – particularly if none of the other options catch your eye.
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 environmentally friendly 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 toys for your pooch.
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 toys created from agricultural products, composed of textiles – for example, toys made from rope or fabric.
Sustainable products (or in this case, dog toys specifically) are those dog toys 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 refers to dog toys 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 is perhaps the most poorly defined term of all, but eco-friendly 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 toys that are produced from organically grown materials, as well as toys made from sustainable materials.
But, it’s probably also fair to call toys made from recycled plastics as eco-friendly 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 eco-friendly toys for your pet.
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 Castor & Pollux Organix recipes are made in organically certified kitchens and made with sustainable ingredients. They’re also pretty good foods from a nutritional stand point, so they’re a win-win option.
- 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 a sustainable dog toy; 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. There’s tons of doggo gear 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 four-footer 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. We also invite you to share any eco-oriented dog owner questions below. We’ll try to answer as many as possible, and we may even use some of the questions as inspiration for new articles.
Don’t be shy!