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Toys From Nature

Jason Kamery//December 4, 2013//

Toys From Nature

Jason Kamery //December 4, 2013//

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Every day consumers are becoming more concerned for the health and safety of their pets. This is evident in the food they buy, supplements they purchase, and now, the toys they select.

In general, eco-friendly toys are durable products made from safe, nontoxic materials, and manufacturers continue to make eco-friendly toys, not only for the pets, but for the planet.

It’s part of a growing trend to satisfy the consumer who is not only worried about what their pet is putting in their mouth while playing, but also where that product came from and how it was made.

“The latest trends in natural pet products are items made from renewable and natural materials: hemp, bamboo, recycled and recyclable plastics, etc.,” Kristen Smith, brand ambassador of Planet Dog, said. “These products include both molded and plush toys, interactive and entertaining dog toys. People are trending more toward Made in the USA products as well.”

Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff line of products, which makes up 70 percent of their line, are all made in the USA from recyclable materials.

“All of these products provide a dog many hours of joyful fun, and when they are damaged, destroyed, or just ready for a new toy, they can be returned to Planet Dog at the end of their lifespan,” Smith said. “In addition, we capture all of the excess material in the manufacturing process, any new items that do not meet our quality-control standards, or any colors that are discontinued. We take all of this material and grind it up so it can be made into a new dog toy in our Recycled Line.”


P.L.A.Y., Pet Lifestyle And You, is a premium pet bedding and toy company. All of their beds are filled with their trademarked PlanetFill, which is a polyfiber made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

“Based on the success of our beds, we have launched a variety of plush toys, such as our Garden Fresh and Under the Sea lines, which can help reduce waste and use the same eco-friendly filler in them,” Deborah Feng, director of sales and operations of P.L.A.Y., said. “The nature of our products allow us to make the biggest impact by saving nonbiodegradable soda bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill. We are a pretty young company, but by now, we have already helped save over one million plastic bottles through our PlanetFill filler.”

P.L.A.Y. said developing eco-friendly products has always been one of their key missions because it’s both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

“It’s the right thing to do because climate change is real and we are consuming ever more resources and creating more waste,” Feng said. “We believe, as part of a thriving pet industry, we can make a meaningful, positive impact to our planet through what we do.”

Feng said it’s also the smart thing to do because an increasing number of consumers are more educated about the topic and are demanding or seeking eco-friendly products.

“Often it’s not the sole determining factor for purchase decision, but it does influence these customers’ impression of a product brand or a shop,” Feng said. “It has always been important for both manufacturers and retailers to listen to the voice of consumers, therefore the most obvious benefits of going with the right eco-friendly products is to better serve the needs of those customers.”

Honest Pet Products makes toys of durable hemp and wool. Their hemp products are handmade by disabled adults, and their wool products are handcrafted by impoverished women supporting their families.

Natural Brainteasers

In 1993, Nina Ottosson started her self-named company and traveled around in her van for 10 years, with a bed inside, educating people at dog shows.

“I showed dog owners how and why dogs need to activated mentally, both for fun but also to prevent behavior problems,” Ottosson said. “My philosophy is that a dog has four legs and one head, and all five need exercise and love but in different ways.”

Ottosson developed all of her toys and games herself with her dogs in real life and not by a computer; they also work for cats, ferrets, parrots, rabbits, pets of all kind.

“Since my dogs, as well as other dogs, eat food and treats out of my puzzle games and toys, I have always had a very high standard for the materials,” Ottosson said. “I only use the best materials available, both in wood and plastic. The materials have to be nontoxic, very durable and user-friendly, and recyclable.

“My plastics are made with recyclable PE, PP and TPE. I am currently also testing them for FDA Food Grade. The plastic I use is splinter-free, which means that even if the dog breaks it, it will not be sharp and dangerous. My wooden products are made with certified MDF board, according to the tough CARB II standards, which means that no forests have been destroyed and no formaldehyde has been added in the process. This is a step above the E1 type of fiberboard which is most commonly used, which contains formaldehyde.”