Best Eco-Friendly Pet Toys Review & Buying Guide

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There’s a whole, wide world of eco-friendly pet toys, but it’s not as simple as it should be to locate toys that are both high quality and low environmental impact. To help guide you, we bring you these reviews of sustainable pet toys. 

We’ll give you some info about a toy in different categories, sum up what other people have been saying about it so you don’t have to sift through tons of reviews, and share whatever details we can find on how environmentally friendly these toys and their makers actually are.

We’ll start with cats at the top and then move on to dogs, so feel free to skip the first half if you don’t have feline friends to buy for.

Let’s get started.

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Catnip Toys for Cats

You can’t go wrong with a classic catnip toy, and SPOT Ethical Pet’s Fish with Catnip is a solid choice. These bright, cheerful felt toys come in a few different varieties, so if you don’t like the fish, you can choose a mouse or a bug instead. 

These fish largely have great reviews. People especially loved how cute and soft they are. Many people reported that this became their cat’s favourite toy. More than a few reviewers had quality control issues, with some saying their cats had taken the toy apart in a matter of hours. Best to check the toy over before giving it to your cat.

Ethical Products explains that their New Jersey facility runs on 100% solar power. The company belongs to the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition, and sometimes uses recycled and natural materials for their toys. Their website says that they plan to develop “new eco-friendly materials” to use in products in the future.

Wand Toys for Cats

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Honest Pet Products’ Eco Kitty Catcher is a great alternative to plastic wand toys. This isn’t a flashy product with bells and shiny bits, but the toy at the end of the string is a cute, 6-inch felt worm that’s anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, which is fantastic.

This toy hasn’t had tons of reviews, but other people who used it really like it. Aside from the ethical features, they appreciated the toy’s durability and quality. People say their cats love it. Some say the cats love it a bit too much, and they have to keep it locked away in between play sessions so their cats don’t devour the toy.

The pole is made of bamboo, and the string is hemp twine. The toy itself is wool dyed with vegetable dyes, making the entire toy biodegradable. The company was featured in O-Magazine’s “Eco Edition” and states that it’s committed to using natural materials.

Chase Toys for Cats

For chasing, Comfy Pet Supplies offers Wool Felt Ball Toys in a variety of colours. They come in a 6-pack, which is perfect if you have multiple cats or cats who like to chase their toys into unreachable corners under the stove.

These are well-reviewed toys. People generally thought they were well-made and had no issues with the balls unravelling. They loved that they were quiet, durable and easily washable. Some reviewers received different products when they bought them from Amazon—products that had foam cores. Others had issues with felt shedding, and still others thought they were too big.

The balls are made from 100% New Zealand wool, hand-felted by women artisans in Nepal. The dyes are non-toxic and azo free. On the down side, I couldn’t find out very much about the company, so we have to take them at their word, which isn’t ideal.

Toy Mice for Cats

For cats who love toy mice, Catit offers a Seagrass Mouse made from all-natural materials. It has a woven surface that’s extremely inviting for cat claws, and feathers as a tail for extra enticement.

Most people who reviewed this toy seem to like it. Their cats enjoyed the texture of it, while the reviewers enjoyed knowing that if their cat ingested a bit of the seagrass, it wouldn’t harm them. Some people found that the grass unravelled as their cat played with the toy, and thought a stronger glue was needed. Most reviewers found their cats could pull the feathers out easily.

The seagrass twine is a nice change from polyester and synthetic materials. Catit, as a company, doesn’t feature a lot of information on their website, but seems to have an interest in sustainability—they offer a range of “green” products, from all natural toys to insect protein-based cat food.

Feather Toys for Cats

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It’s hard for cats to resist a feather toy, and Freddy’s Feather, from the company From the Field is a good one. It’s a wand that features a twirling mechanism so the feather mimics birds in flight when you tug on it.

Others who bought this toy loved the way the toy moved and the level of interest it got from their cats. They also loved that the feathers are dye-free and that the construction was cat-safe. More than a few folks warned, however, that the string on this toy is prone to breakage.

This toy is 95% biodegradable and made almost entirely of natural materials, such as a hemp string, a wood handle and a cork and feather toy. From the Field itself says it’s dedicated to renewable materials (so hopefully soon it will consider making this wand 100% biodegradable).

Chew Toys for Dogs

By now, everyone knows the KONG Classic Dog Toy. What we don’t often hear about is that there are a couple of environmental benefits to this iconic product. There’s a range of sizes and types, so you’re likely to find an option that suits your dog.

These toys are very highly rated. The durability sets them apart, although the design is generally beloved, too. Reviewers say this toy helps solve chewing and behaviour issues as well as boredom. There are some reviewers who felt the toy didn’t perform as they expected, but by and large, it’s a crowd favourite. 

The classic KONG is made from natural rubber. They’re also incredibly durable chew toys, and having to buy fewer of them minimizes waste and resource use. That said, KONG has no stated interest in sustainability, and many of its products wouldn’t make this list.

Rope Toys for Dogs

Rubber Ball on Rope from Beco is a simple toy that’s big on environmental credentials. The toy is just what the name suggests—a rubber ball tied onto a rope, with a few knots for chewing. It comes in small and large sizes, in a few bright colours.

People who have reviewed this item give it high praise. They say their dogs love it, and that it’s like having 2 toys in one. Reviewers say it’s long-lasting, sturdy even with aggressive chewers and easy to clean. Bad reviews of this toy are thin on the ground. Users did warn that the ball doesn’t float, which they found out to their dismay.

Material-wise, the toy is made of natural rubber and recycled cotton. The company, Beco, is deeply invested in caring for the environment, from decarbonizing their operations to choosing ethical supply chain partners to investing in animal welfare and environmental projects.

Balls for Dogs

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West Paw Design’s Zogoflex Jive Ball takes the conventional tennis ball up a level, both in durability and sustainability. It comes in a few sizes and colours, has a neat design that makes its bounce less predictable and also floats in water.

This ball gets rave reviews from most buyers. Most reviewers had high praise for how tough this ball was and how well it stands up to abuse. Some, however, thought the ball wasn’t worth the price. Others felt it was too hard and worried about damaging their furniture or their dogs’ mouths. A few others had dogs who chewed through it.

These toys are non-toxic, and used balls can be sent back to West Paw, who will recycle them into new products. West Paw Design is a founding member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition and a Certified B Corporation. Their site suggests their supply chain is chosen for their ethical practices, too.

Plush Toys for Dogs

Plush toys never seem to last long, and if you’re worried about the environmental impact of constantly buying new ones, check out P.L.A.Y.’s Farm Fresh Plush Collection. This is a collection of adorable vegetables with squeakers inside, and feature 100% post-consumer plastic fill and azo-free dye.

Reviews of these toys are more mixed than some of the other options. Some dogs were able to shred them in short order, while other dogs kept them in good repair for a while. Reviewers all noted that their dogs loved them and had an excellent time, even while tearing them up.

P.L.A.Y. is a company that walks the walk where green credentials are concerned. They’re a certified B Corporation, as well as a Green America-certified business. From 100% renewable energy at their headquarters to FSC certified paper packaging, P.L.A.Y. goes beyond just selecting greener materials.

Squeaky Toys for Dogs

You wouldn’t think squeaky toys would be particularly eco-friendly, but Beco has a range of squeaky toys made from recycled plastic, like their George the Giraffe Dog Toy. It comes in a few sizes and has a neat design that makes it easy for dogs to carry around.

Other people who bought this toy report that it’s durable and long-lasting. They liked that the fabric was tough, but still soft enough for their dogs to snuggle with. Some people were disappointed with the product, however, or wished it had held up better.

The shell and stuffing of this toy are made from 100% post-consumer recycled content, as are many of Beco’s products. As we mentioned above, this is a company that puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to creating sustainable toys.

Guide to Choosing Sustainable Pet Toys

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Be careful of greenwashing. Just because a company tells you something is sustainable doesn’t mean it is. Pet toy manufacturers aren’t obligated to tell consumers what’s in their products, so a product can be advertised as “green” when it’s patently not. 

That lack of accountability on the part of manufacturers can really muddy the waters for people trying to figure out whether a product is eco-friendly or not. You can simplify that process by finding out two things: what the toy is made of and how it was made. 

Look for toys that are made of natural and renewable materials. Plastics and synthetics are going to be harder on the environment, especially considering you usually can’t recycle pet toys at the end of their lifespans. 

Durability should factor in here, as well. Buying one toy that lasts for a dog’s lifetime is going to result in less waste and fewer associated emissions than if you end up buying a new chew toy every week.

You can look for third-party certification that materials were sustainably harvested. It’s also well within your rights to ask a company to be transparent about their materials, so don’t be afraid to call or message them and ask what’s in a toy. If they can’t tell you, move on.

Research the company that makes the product, too. Try to determine what their manufacturing processes are like. If they have renewable energy, energy efficiency or waste reduction measures in place, they’ll usually put that information on their website—green credentials are valuable for their business.

And finally, it’s good to remember that we can always make toys ourselves. The internet is full of ideas for interesting, safe and easy-to-make toys that we can create with things that are lying around our homes already. 

Repurposed materials that have no transportation emissions associated with them are a very green option, and our pets do not care if our final product is perfect. They just want us to throw it already.

Written by Anne Elliot

Feature image: Jesper Brouwers; Image 1: Dorothe Wouters; Image 2: Dan Dennis; Image 3: Andrew Pons; Image 4Nikola Bačanek