Dogs and cats in caring homes seem to live enviable lives. But research from the Environmental Working Group has found that our pets are polluted with even higher levels of the same chemicals found in people, such as plasticizers and fire retardants, which have been linked to serious health effects. And some of these hazardous chemicals come from chew toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn”t do safety testing on any pet products before they’re sold to consumers. But there are a handful of companies that specialize in eco-friendly, nontoxic pet toys. Most of them are made in the U.S., too, which also cuts down on shipping and fuel costs.
(12-ounce box, $3.59)
Blue Dog Bakery’s peanut butter and molasses biscuits smell so yummy that you”ll be hard-pressed to keep from eating them yourself! Plus, you won”t find any preservatives, additives or artificial flavors or colors in these biscuits, making them a perfect stocking stuffer for every man’s or woman’s best friend.
(Small, $10.00; Large, $13.50) by West Paw Design
This one-of-a-kind floatable tug toy flexes out to twice its length, then bounces back quickly to its curved “S” shape. The Bumi is made from West Paw’s stretchy Zogoflex material, which is free from phthalates, Bisphenol A and mercury. West Paw offers a one-time money-back guarantee if your dog does manage the impossible by destroying its toy.
Orbee-Tuff° Ball with Rope by Planet Dog
(Three sizes, $8.95 to $16.45)
The Orbee-Tuff Ball is an earth-patterned sphere with a rope attached for maximum fling-ability. Orbee-Tuff material is both nontoxic and recyclable, and as an added bonus, it’s also mint-infused to keep your dog’s breath fresh. For holiday-themed gifts, give your dog an Orbee-Tuff Bulb with Treat Spot ($10.95), squishy red or green light bulbs that you can stuff with your dog’s favorite treats.
Wool Ball by Purrfectplay
(Five sizes, $4.95 to $11.75)
Maybe it’s their soft feel or outdoorsy smell, but there’s something about these organic, fair trade wool balls that makes them a dog’s best friend. Plus, 5% of every sale goes to no-kill and rescue organizations.
Toss-n-Tug— by Bark for Peace!
(Four sizes, $8 to $16)
The recycled wool Toss-n-Tug is reduce, reuse and recycle at its best. These unique toys are made from sweaters and blankets scrounged from local thrift shops (don”t worry—they’re soaked in distilled vinegar and then washed in hot water with natural soap). Bark for Peace! puts some bite behind its bark by reusing packaging material and purchasing carbon offsets for all its shipping and delivery emissions.
Tug-o-war Braid with Squeaker and Recycled Tennis Ball
by Woof Purr Creations ($7.00)
If your picky pet just won”t play with a toy unless it squeaks, then the Tug-o-war will keep him happy with a squeaker sewn right into the fabric. These hand-braided toys are made from fleece that’s washed in nontoxic detergent and each tug is attached with recycled tennis balls donated by Penn.
Ring and Plush Toys by SimplyFido
($12.99 to $15.99)
Fair warning: There’s a good chance that your dog and child will be duking it out over SimplyFido’s Ring and Plush Toys collection of incredibly huggable stuffed animals. Made from organic cotton, these über-soft toys come in adorable animal characters including a holiday moose and penguin. Each Plush Toy is filled with five engaging squeakers while the Ring Toys keep the wildest bunch busy with stretchable arms and legs, four squeakers and a super-sturdy ring body.
For the Kitties
Our feline friends deserve nontoxic, Earth-friendly toys too!
Fish for Cat by West Paw Design ($8.00)
Rocky Mountain High ($7.00)
Your cat will pounce on the Fish for Cat, a little toy stuffed with organic catnip and jingling bells. And if your cat really needs to mellow out, offer a hit of Rocky Mountain High, 100% premium, USDA-certified organic catnip in an organic cotton sack.
Orbee-Tuff° Adopt Mouse
by Planet Dog ($8.95)
This toy mouse, part of Planet Dog’s adoption campaign, is both minty and mesmerizing for curious kitties, complete with a little hole in its belly for filling with catnip.
The Happy Carrot
by Purrfect Play ($8.95)
This carrot-shaped toy is stuffed with organic catnip and lined with an organic cotton canvas. And, the floppy hemp “leaves’ will keep your cat busy for hours.