We have a dream: happy dogs frolicking with PVC- and phthalate-free plastic, organic cotton, sustainable hemp, and recycled dog toys. Only a few companies are helping this dream become reality, so we rounded up the best of what the natural world has to offer and then turned the eco-toys over to our four-legged editorial advisors for testing.
This Scottish terrier mix, who’s about a year old and still 100 percent puppy, spent his first months on the streets of Mexico developing a compulsive chewing habit.
It’s no coincidence that folks at the office call this lively golden retriever Shredford. Few toys survive more than a couple of days in his overzealous chompers.
Earth Dog Hemp Bone
The pesticide- and herbicide-free hemp canvas shell is stuffed with recycled polyester and cotton. $8 to $12; www.earthdog.com
Gomez constantly carried this soft toy in his furry maw. The hemp seemed more durable—and tastier—than his regular plush toys. And the bone held up in the washer.
Jax and Bones Boomer the Squirrel
Adorable handmade rope animals colored with natural vegetable dyes. $14; www.jaxandbones.com
Gomez voraciously shook, tugged, and chewed this sweet rope squirrel until it unraveled into a new toy—a stringy spaghetti monster, which kept him enthralled for weeks.
Planet Dog RecycleBALL
Made with excess, reground Orbee-Tuff material, this ball is also PVC-free. $9.95; www.planetdog.com
Redford can demolish a tennis ball in five minutes and gnaw the ends off a hard rubber bone in 10. This resilient ball proved to be as tough as a hockey puck and much more fun to chase. It lasted weeks.
West Paw Squeak Toys
Made from 85 percent post-consumer recycled bottles and stuffed with recycled polyfill batting. Various shapes and colors, $9.50 to $13; www.westpawdesign.com
Red’s pal Koko, an energetic chocolate lab, loved to fetch this soft little critter—even after Redford tore out the squeaker and a good deal of the stuffing in a fit of pique.