Sustainable Interactive Dog Toys: A Guide to Durable Options - Sparkly Tails

Sustainable Interactive Dog Toys: A Guide to Durable Options

May 15, 2023

Dogs are known for their love of playtime, and interactive toys are essential to keeping them happy and healthy. However, many dog toys are made from non-sustainable materials that harm the environment.

We all want the best for our special friends, and interactive dog toys are a great way to keep them engaged and entertained. However, as we become more environmentally conscious, we must consider the sustainability of the products we purchase, including dog toys.

This comprehensive guide will look at interactive dog toys, their environmental impact, and some sustainable options to consider.

The Importance of Sustainable Dog Toys

It's no secret that the pet industry significantly impacts the environment. From the production and transportation of pet products to the disposal of used toys, the pet industry has a carbon footprint that can't be ignored.

Toys that are made sustainably help reduce their CO2 impact by using eco-friendly materials and production methods.

What Makes a Dog Toy Sustainable?

They should be made from natural, renewable, and non-toxic materials. These materials can include organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and recycled materials. In addition to being made from sustainable materials, a sustainable dog toy should also be designed to last.

Also, the materials used should withstand rough play and last longer can help reduce waste by minimising the need for frequent replacements.

What are Interactive Dog Toys?

Interactive dog toys require the dog's participation to be thoroughly enjoyed. These toys come in various forms, including puzzle toys, various treat ball dispensers, ball-dispensing toys, tug toys, and fetch toys. They are designed to provide mental stimulation, exercise, and entertainment for dogs.

Benefits of Interactive Dog Toys

Interactive dog toys offer many benefits to dogs, including:

    • Mental Stimulation: Interactive toys can help prevent boredom and stimulate a dog's mind, avoiding destructive behaviours.
    • Physical Exercise: Toys that require physical activity, such as fetch or tug toys, can provide an excellent workout for dogs.
    • Bonding Opportunities: Interactive toys can provide bonding opportunities for pet parents and their dogs, especially during playtime. This will help your dog to trust you and be eager to please you.
    • Improved Behavior: Mentally stimulated and physically active dogs are likelier to exhibit positive behaviours, such as obedience and calmness.

Types of Sustainable, Interactive Dog Toys

Now that we understand the importance of sustainable dog toys let's look at the different types on the market.

Chew Toys

Chew toys for big dogs are a must-have for any dog as they will help them to relax and avoid boredom. Many traditional chew toys for large dogs are made from plastic or rubber, which can harm the environment.

However, many sustainable alternatives are available, including chew toys made from natural resources such as antlers, wood, hemp, and recycled materials.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are a great way to stimulate your dog mentally while providing a fun challenge. Sustainable dog puzzle toys are made from eco-friendly materials like bamboo, wood, and recycled plastic.

Fetch Toys

Fetch toys are a classic choice for active dogs. Still, many traditional fetch toys are made from plastic, which can be dangerous if your dog accidentally destroys it and eats it and will take hundreds of thousands of years to biodegrade if it ends up lost during your walks.

Eco-friendly fetch toys are available in various materials, including natural fabrics, felt and recycled materials.

Tug Toys

Tug toys are toys the dog can pull on, and you can play tug-of-war with them. Examples include ropes and chew toys. Tug toys are a great way to bond with your dog while providing a fun workout. Sustainable tug toys are made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, hemp, ropes and recycled materials.

Sustainable Options For Interactive Dog Toys

Thankfully, for dog owners, there are sustainable material options they can look for in interactive dog toys. Here are a few:

Recycled Materials

Some dog toy manufacturers use recycled materials to make their products, which helps reduce waste and use non-renewable resources. Please look for toys made from recycled plastic, rubber, hemp rope, natural cruelty-free fur or other materials.

Biodegradable Materials

Another sustainable option is toys made from biodegradable materials, such as plant-based plastics, hemp, or bamboo. These materials break down quickly in the environment, reducing their impact.

DIY Toys

Making them yourself is one of the most sustainable options for interactive dog toys. You can use materials like old t-shirts, rope, and cardboard to create safe toys for your dog's interest and easy on the environment. Many DIY dog toy tutorials are available online to help you get started—Find a few of our favourite DIY dog toys later here.

Are There Any Sustainable, Plastic-Free Interactive Dog Toys?

Yes, there are plenty of sustainable, interactive dog toys available! There are many eco-friendly options, from chew toys to puzzle toys. When shopping for dog toys, look for ones made from natural, renewable, and non-toxic materials.

It's also important to choose toys that are built to last, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Our selection of the 3 best 100% Sustainable Interactive Dog Toys:

We curated 3 of the most interesting interactive dog toys, made with natural materials, 100% sustainable, that would make a delightful fun playtime with your dog and help you to train them effectively.

1. Rabbit Skin Dog Toys, Tug toy:

Dog Training Toy with Organic Rabbit Fur

This natural dog toy is the perfect interactive dog toy for interactive training sessions with your furry friend. Made from high-quality hemp rope and real rabbit fur, it appeals to your dog's sense of smell, making it irresistible for playtime. Use it as a reward during fetch or tug of war, and watch your pup go wild. However, please note that it's not recommended for unstructured play and rather as dog treat toy

They are handmade by Latvian by Paw Some Pet Toys, a small family business committed to creating simple, beautiful dog toys.

Find it here

2. Felted Wool Frisbee Dog Toy

Wool Ring Dog Toy, Durable and soft puller toy, Dog Frisbee

This handmade felted wool frisbee is perfect for indoor or outdoor playtime with your dogs. This ring toy is made of 100% natural wool and is durable and soft for your dog's teeth and gums. Unlike plastic toys, it is eco-friendly and safe for your furry friend to play with.

This toy is perfect for training rewards or playful fun, and it's also a beautiful interactive dog toy designed to be washed in your washing machine with a mild, gentle soap!

Find it here

3. Rope Dog Toy with Antler Dog Chew

Rope Dog Toy with Antler Dog Chew by Pawsome Pet Toys

This Deer Antler Dog Toy with Hemp Rope is made from natural deer horns, sustainably sourced from wild deer gardens in Latvia—one of the best dog toy made with all-natural materials. The antlers contain essential minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus, making them a healthy and long-lasting option for your furry friend.

Natural deer horns are obtained from wild deer gardens in Latvia. Deer antlers are well-known and highly valued for their unique qualities and composition. Antlers begin to grow every spring; their growth rate reaches up to 2cm/0.78'' a day.

In the fall, the deer horns drop and start the young horns' development cycle. Horns are healthy for dogs. They are full of minerals, such as Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium and Phosphorus.

Gnawing is a natural process that can reduce your dog's stress and improve its dental health. This dog chew toy is designed to be both safe and durable, with no unpleasant odours and no splintering. Plus, the hemp rope adds extra fun for your pup to chew on! 

This Deer Antler Dog Toy with Hemp Rope is a dietary option that is low in fat and perfect for dogs with a special diet. It is free from preservatives, antibiotics, gluten, sugar, and cereals.

This makes it a healthy and sustainable option for your dog that can provide hours of fun and entertainment.

Find it here

How to Make Your DIY Sustainable Dog Toys

Making them yourself is great if you're looking for a sustainable and cost-effective option for interactive dog toys. Here are some great reviews and some easy DIY dog interactive toy ideas:

1. T-Shirt Rope Toy:

T-Shirt Rope Toy

One of the most accessible and popular DIY dog toys is the t-shirt rope toy. All you need is an old T-shirt, scissors, and a few minutes of your time.

  1. Cut the t-shirt into long strips, about 1-2 inches wide.
  2. Tie a knot at one end of the strips.
  3. Braid the strips together, tying a knot at the other end to secure it.
  4. Trim any excess fabric.

With this durable and eco-friendly toy, your dog will love playing tug-of-war or dog pull. You can also add some tasty treats into the rope for extra fun.

2. Cardboard Treat Dispenser

DIY Puppy Dog Food Dispenser from Cardboard

This DIY dog puzzle is a great way to stimulate your dog's mind and keep them entertained for hours.

Here's how to make it:

      1. Cut a cardboard box into small pieces, about the size of a playing card.
      2. Fold the pieces in half and glue them together to create a cube with a small hole on one side.
      3. Fill the cube with small treats or kibble.
      4. Close the hole with a piece of cardboard, securing it with glue.

Your dog will have fun figuring out how to get the other treats inside and out of the treat dispensers while you feel good about reusing old cardboard.

3. Tennis IQ Treat Ball

diy tennis ball interactive dog toy

This DIY puzzle toy is a great interactive dog toy for keeping your dog's mind engaged. Fill it with treats so your best friend gets active trying to work our how to get the treat from inside the balls, Alternatively you can use any kind of old rubber ball. This iq treat ball will keep your dog busy for hours for free.

Here's how to make it:

      1. Cut a small hole in a tennis ball using a sharp knife.
      2. Fill the ball with small treats or kibble.
      3. Cut a second hole on the opposite side of the ball.
      4. Your dog will have to figure out how to get the treats out of the ball by rolling it around and manipulating it.

Your dog will love the challenge, and you'll love that you're reusing old tennis balls.

Training Techniques with Dog Toys

Once you have the right type of toy for your dog's breed, it's time to start training. Here are some techniques you can use when training your dog with toys:

1. Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your dog for good behavior. For example, if you use an interactive puzzle toy, reward your dog with a treat when they successfully solve it.

2. Consistency

Consistency is critical when training your dog. Use the same toy and training techniques every time you train your dog to avoid confusion.

3. Keep it short and fun

Training sessions should be short and fun for your four-legged friend. Refrain from overworking them, as this can lead to boredom and disinterest in training.

4. Use commands

Using commands such as "sit" and "stay" can help your dog understand what is expected of them during training.

5. Be patient

Training your dog with interactive toys takes time and patience. Don't expect immediate results, and be prepared to repeat training sessions until your dog understands what is expected of them.

Training different breed dogs with dog toys can be an enjoyable and effective way to develop your dog's brain. Understanding your dog's breed and choosing the right type of toy are essential when starting training. Using positive reinforcement, consistency, short and fun sessions, commands, and patience can help you achieve success when training your dog.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake pet owners make when training their dogs with toys is using the wrong toy for the wrong purpose. For example, a chew toy should not be used as a fetch toy, as this can cause confusion for your pet.

Another mistake is leaving your dog unsupervised with their toys. While toys can be a great way to keep your dog occupied, leaving them unsupervised can lead to accidents or injuries.

Finally, it's important to avoid using toys as a punishment for bad behavior. This can create negative associations with the toy and lead to a lack of interest in the toy altogether.


Are sustainable dog toys more expensive than traditional ones?

Sustainable dog toys can be more expensive than traditional ones, but they are often built to last longer, making them a better investment in the long run. Additionally, eco-friendly materials and production methods often justify the higher price point for environmentally conscious pet parents.

Are sustainable dog toys safe for my pet?

They are designed with your pet's safety in mind. They are made from non-toxic, natural materials that are safe for your dog to play with. Sustainable dog toys are often designed to be more durable, reducing the risk of small pieces breaking off and becoming a choking hazard.

Can sustainable dog toys be recycled?

A: Yes, many of these types of toys are made from materials that can be recycled. For example, toys made from recycled plastic can often be recycled again after they've served their purpose.

Can I make my sustainable dog toys at home?

A: Yes, making your sustainable dog toys at home can be a fun and rewarding project. Many online tutorials provide instructions on how to make eco-friendly dog toys from materials like old t-shirts and socks.

How can I dispose of my dog's old toys sustainably?

A: When it's time to dispose of your dog's old toys, it's essential to do so sustainably. If the toy is still in good condition, consider donating it to a local animal shelter or rescue organisation. If the toy is beyond repair, check with your local recycling centre to see if it can be recycled.

Are there any downsides to sustainable dog toys?

A: The main downside to sustainable dog toys is that they can be more expensive than traditional ones. Additionally, some pet parents may find sustainable dog toys less readily available than traditional ones. However, the benefits of sustainable dog toys, both for your pet and the environment, often outweigh these minor inconveniences.

Are all rubber toys bad for the environment?

Not all rubber toys are bad for the environment. Look for toys made from a natural rubber or biodegradable rubber to reduce their environmental impact.

How do I choose the right toy for my dog?

Consider the size and breed of your dog's brain, the toy's durability, and the toy's purpose when selecting a toy.

Can I compost my dog's toys?

It depends on the material of the toy. Toys made from natural materials like cotton or hemp can usually be composted, but plastic or rubber toys cannot.

Are DIY dog toys safe for my dog?

DIY dog toys can be safe for your dog if made correctly and with safe materials. Make sure to supervise your dog during playtime and replace any toys that become damaged or unsafe.

Can training with toys work for older dogs?

Yes, training with toys can be effective for dogs of all ages, including older dogs.

How often should I clean my dog's toys?

It's a good idea to clean your dog's toys at least once a week, or more often if they are used frequently.

Is it okay to leave toys with my dog unsupervised?

It's best to supervise your dog when they are playing with their toys to avoid accidents or injuries.

Can I use any type of fabric to make a rope toy?

It's best to use old cotton t-shirts or other fabrics that are safe for your dog to chew on.

Can I reuse materials from around my house to make dog toys?

Yes! Reusing materials like old t-shirts and cardboard boxes is a great way to reduce waste and create fun toys for your dog.

Can I donate homemade dog toys to animal shelters?

Many animal shelters accept donations of homemade dog toys. However, it's best to check with the shelter first to see if they have any specific guidelines or restrictions.

Are there any toys that I should avoid when training my dog?

Yes, it would be best to avoid toys that are too small or have small parts that can be easily swallowed, as well as toys that are made of toxic materials or are easily destructible.

illustration of a dog playing with a rope


In conclusion, sustainable, interactive dog toys are great for pet parents who care about the environment and their special furry friends. With a wide range of eco-friendly options, there's no reason to settle for traditional toys made from harmful materials. From chew toys to puzzle toys, plenty of sustainable dog toys will keep your pet happy, healthy, and entertained for years.

So, to reduce your pet's carbon footprint while providing high-quality dog toys, consider investing in sustainable, interactive dog toys. We have an ongoing collection of curated sustainable toys for dogs on Sparkly Tails

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