Dog toys are notorious for having unsavory chemical additives and dangerous materials added to them. In recent years, imports from China have unveiled everything from lead to unscrupulous death causing antibiotics and toxins. When a person buys a dog toy, it is because they love their dog, they look forward go interacting and playing together, and there is enjoyment from keeping the human animal bond strong and vibrant. No one wants to give their pet a toy that might harm them. Pet toy companies are in business to make money and the reality is that this is often with complete disregard to the health of the pet. Not so, with West Paw Designs. This is a company to support, one that not only cares about the health and well-being of pets, but also runs on an eco-conscious mentality; sourcing materials from recycled plastic bottles, old chew toys, organically grown plants and more. All of their beds and toys are made in the USA, with special attention to durability, strength and resilience.
West Paw recently sent several of their new festive holiday and new floatable Zogoflex Air toys for honest review. These toys were tested over eight weeks with four playful and exuberant dachshunds; most of them have held up to the tenacious and rough nature of these little dogs. In addition to being made in the USA, West Paw’s toys are recyclable, BPA and phthalate-free, non-toxic, guaranteed against dog damage, and dishwasher safe. The first toy they tested was the Dash Dog Frisbee. This organically shaped toy has an open middle and a ridge around the perimeter on both sides, making it easy for a dog to carry in his mouth. Rated for a level 3 out of 5 chewer, this toy has held up extremely well with the exception of the middle, where the material was thinner which was chewed completely out on the first day. Even though it’s meant for a bigger dog, this toy has been a favorite among the mini dachshunds. They like to chase it as it rolls and bounces across the floor. It’s also extremely easy to clean with soap and water. Dachshunds are extreme chewers, so the next toy they tested turned out to be much more durable. With a durability rating of 4 out of 5, the new Boz Dog Ball has been the biggest hit with the resident fetch obsessed mini dachshund. Because the exterior texture is lumpy and somewhat spongy, she is easily able to pick up and carry it. This 2.5” small ball is great because it fits in a standard ball thrower and it works size-wise for an entire range of dogs. About the size of a tennis ball but heavier, this engineered toy gives the dog the satisfaction of the squish, yet it’s durable enough that it still looks brand new. It bounces and floats, and comes with the same guarantee and reassurances that all of West Paw’s other toys do. Impressed by the durability of the Toppl Treat Toy, one may find it surprising that it only received a 3 out of 5 rating for durability. This toy, like the ball has been played with quite a lot and still looks brand new. The resident fetch obsessed dachshund has quickly decided that it can be used for fetch and often brings half of this toy for a game together. The way it works is that the buyer purchases different pieces of this toy which pop together to create a treat chamber inside, making it a challenging puzzle toy of various skill levels. A different use for it: put other, smaller toys inside of this one. Smart dogs love the challenge of removing the toy inside, and the fighting over treats with multiple dogs is avoided. It’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Another durable dachshund favorite: the Hurley Dog Bone. Over a year old and played with daily, this toy still looks new, with no dings or missing chunks. It bounces across the floor when thrown for fetch and is easily washable.
If a dog has a preference for a toy that’s a bit softer, this adorable white and fuzzy Snowbird is festive and fun. A little more quirky, Rudy was also quickly gutted but they continue to play with the emptied pelt. The dachshunds completely destroyed them both in less than an hour, but they had fun doing it. More durable and surprisingly still mostly intact is the Big Sky Reindeer. It’s made with eco-friendly fabric left over from their Big Sky Blanket manufacturing process. This toy was fetched and tugged for several weeks before it finally wore a hole big enough they could remove the recycled stuffing. The toys are generously filled with material called Intelliloft that is made from recycled plastic bottles. West Paw mentions that “using IntelliLoft recycled material uses up to 8x less energy than it takes to manufacture the same material new and keeps plastic bottles out of landfills.” This was a nice compromise between a very durable toy and one that was still soft and cuddly.
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