If you have a dog then you’ve most likely spent hours trolling pet food stores or boutiques, searching for the perfect, healthy food, toys and treats for your pup.If you’re anything like me, it has left you confused.
Having recently adopted my first dog, I have scoured the Internet night after night, trying to make sense of it all. Last week I covered healthy dog treats.
Today I’ll give you the scoop on eco-friendly gear that will make make playtime decadent for your dog but safe for Mother Nature.
They aren’t a luxury: Dogs need toys. They need playtime. They need fun. I know there are some old stalwarts out there that think dogs don’t need anything but exercise, food, and water, but I couldn’t disagree more.To me nothing says eco-friendly more than a homemade toy. You can make the perfect tug toy with one old towel, or by braiding several old t-shirts into a long rope. Another fun activity? Hide and seek with an old t-shirt, stuffed with your dog’s favorite treats.
Even better? A scavenger hunt in your house or yard using your dog’s nose. Just hide treats in various spots around the yard and let your pup sniff them out.
One of my favorite resources is Clicker Training, 101 Things to Do with a Box. All of these games and items use your dog’s senses, occupy her mind, and use old items in new ways. No shopping required.
For those of you who like buying things as much as I do, the world is becoming full of wonderful eco-friendly pet stores that make recycled, nontoxic toys.
Check out West Paw Designs, where you can find Tux, a non-toxic, recyclable, and tough treat toy that puts the Kong to shame (for a little extra fun, stuff the Tux with some organic peanut butter, and freeze overnight). There’s also Olive Green Dog, which sells tug toys, Frisbees, and more made recycled fire hoses.
For the holy grail of dog chews, check out Deer Antlers. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are, and Mou Mou is too busy chewing on hers to comment.
These have saved my wallet, my conscience, and many, many pairs of shoes. My favorite part about the deer antlers (besides the facts that they are full of minerals, last for ages and don’t splinter like other bones) is the fact that they were naturally shed by the deer. In other words, no deer were harmed in the making of these treats.
I love when I can make Mou Mou happy, spend little to no money, and feel good about the mark I’m making (or lack thereof) on the planet.
Next week check back for the next installment of the Healthy Dog, Healthy Planet series: Bath Time.
Chantal O’Keeffe is a writer and animal lover. She has worked previously as a copywriter, photographer, and production assistant. She spent half of the last decade working with rescue dogs for a sanctuary in the Bay Area, and just adopted her first dog, Mou Mou. She recently completed Levels 1 and 2 of the Canine Behavior Academy at the Marin Humane Society.
Chantal has an MFA in Writing from the California College of Arts, and lives in San Francisco.
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