Friday, December 10, 2010

Pet lover green tip: Buy durable dog toys

Liam loves to destroy his toys
Liam loves stuffed dog toys. In particular, he loves to stand on them while he pulls upward with his teeth. He has a particular fondness for removing ears, feet and tails.

I know this is a common trait in dogs.

Most dogs love to break through the fabric on a toy to get to the soft filling. And most soft dog toys contain a label, telling you to "remove" the toy if it has holes and tears.

For most dog owners, "remove" equals "landfill." And since most toys are not made of biodegradable materials, you're tossing in a toy that will stay in the system for (possibly) hundreds of years.

A solution? I look for toys that claim to be made for "aggressive chewers." I stand in the store and try to tear ears and feet off the toys with my hands. If I can't feel the toy give, it's usually a good choice. If Liam tears that toy within a month, I won't ever buy that toy again. If it survives a month, I'll buy more.

If Liam does tear a toy, I'll repair it a few times before I give up on it entirely. I use embroidery thread and small, tight stitches. This explains why Liam's toy baskets are full of earless, footless, mutant toys.

I also limit his exposure to stuffed toys. If he begins the stand-and-tear trick, the toy goes up on a high shelf.

Is this system perfect? No. But does it reduce his impact on the environment? I'd like to think so.

Missed the other posts in this green pet series? Click here