Healthy, Eco-Friendly Holiday Toys and Gifts for Pets

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If you like indulging your furry pals at holiday time but don’t have time to even think about shopping, no need to fret. I made a list and checked it twice for the most fun, safe, eco-friendly gifts – based on what cats and dogs love to do most. Here are 8 ideas to make sure your lovelies leap with joy and sleep tight through the festive season, and into the New Year.

1)  Playing Mouse and Pouncing

Nothing says lovin’ like getting down on all fours with your kitty and playing hockey with tiny home-made pucks. For my cat River, I tear up thick recycled paper and squish the pieces into tight little balls (the bouncier the better). The kitchen floor becomes an ice-rink as I roll the puck to River. She scrunches down and, just as the puck gets near, pounces forward then bats it back at me like she’s a world-class goalie. It’s a hoot, it’s free and your cat will never tire of it. You can’t get more eco-friendly than that.

2)  Running and Fetching

What dog doesn’t delight in pursuing a flying object and returning it to his human friend over and over again? An all-time fave among canines is the classic Frisbee. The problem is, even Great Danes have trouble dashing through the snow with big hard objects between their teeth. Then there’s the matter of toxic plastic. A variation of the Frisbee is the Zisc, by WestPaw, and it has all the bases covered. It’s flexible and durable, so Buddy won’t tucker out his jaw and you won’t have to keep buying new toys. Best of all, the Zisc is BPA and phthalate-free, non-toxic and FDA compliant – and it comes in two sizes: for wee dogs and big fellas. To really light up their nights, there’s a glow-in-the-dark version too.

3) Chewing

Dogs will chew on a boot if there’s nothing better around – so you may as well save your soles and give them the real thing. While you’re at it, why not go all the way and splurge on an organic bone from the farmer’s market? You’ll be helping the environment by shopping local, while pampering your four-legged friend with two gifts in one: a super-healthy treat that’s also a fun pastime. Add gift #5 to the list and you’ll have the happiest pup on the planet.

4)  Scratching and Climbing

After knocking down countless vases and shredding your wood to bits, has your kitty run out of things to climb and scratch? It’s not her fault – she’s a natural-born hunter. Cat trees are a staple with many pet parents, but most are made of carpet laced with chemicals so complex they need acronyms like NBT, TBT and DBT (not to mention formaldehyde and other fire retardants). Aside from tree bark, one of the best things for indoor felines to sharpen their claws on is a hemp scratcher – it’s incredibly durable, safe and eco-friendly. If you really want to go crazy, buy your sweetie a nine-level hemp-lined cat condo. For a festive touch, sprinkle organic catnip at the door. It’ll keep her entertained for hours on end.

5)  Having a War-Tug

In a dog’s world, right up there with running ‘til you drop is a good old-fashioned game of tug-of-war. Many such toys on the market, however, shred easily and are toxin-laden. One of the cleanest, greenest, toughest fibres for chewing on and tugging at is, once again, hemp. You can always fashion your own, of course, but if you’re short on time, you should be able to find one at your local pet boutique that’ll make your doggie growl with glee while wagging his tail.

6)  Hide and Sleep

Sure, Fluffy can slip away and hide under the bed – but cats get bored easily. One way to spice things up is a ‘cat cave’. There’s a lovely one online called the ‘Lollycadoodle Cat Cave’; it’s all-natural, hypo-allergenic, mildew-resistant, anti-microbial – and it’s cute as a kitten. The downside: the inside is made from 100% New Zealand wool. So the hunt closer to home continues.  Meanwhile, fashion your own cat cave out of a box lined with an organic cotton blanket from your local green shop. Hide it in a closet and let her seek it out – it’ll be an adventure sans the eco-pawprint, and one of the best sleeps she’ll have all Christmas.

7)  Eating Well

We really are what we eat – and eat off of. So, if you haven’t yet ditched your pets’ plastic dishes, consider replacing them this season with a healthier choice. Plastic bowls are porous and breed bacteria, and leach out harmful chemicals like PCBs. Ceramic and stoneware can also contain such dangerous toxins as lead. Stainless steel is an excellent alternative, if you choose quality. It’s non-leaching, sanitary, durable and 100% recyclable. Plus, it’s shiny so it’s perfect for the holidays and can last a life-time. (Editor’s note: glass bowls are also highly recommended as a non-toxic alternative to plastic)

8)  A Snuggly Place to Sleep

If their old digs are looking a little bedraggled, why not spring for new eco-friendly bedding? Once more, hemp is a winner, and again, WestPaw gets two paws up for its Hemp Bumper Bed: it’s antimicrobial, durable, odour-resistant and has 100% recyclable materials inside. For the fussy puss, it also comes in organic cotton. Who needs sugarplum fairies when you’re all snuggled up in a blissful ball of warmth?

There are many animals in need of love and security as they wait in animal shelters for a new home. If you are considering pet adoption, Toronto Animal Services can help. To adopt a pet, view animals available for adoption online or visit their animal shelters and retail adoption partners.

Editor’s Note: Each vet or person who fancies animals would be extremely happy to get a 3D crystal with an engraved photo inside. Cats? Puppies? Parrots? Easily! Choose any crystal shape and size, and enjoy the reaction of that one who receives such a present. In ArtPix 3D you would find any accessory for each budget, thus you are welcome!



Anna Maria Greene is a Toronto-based writer, editor & book coach with a niche in memoir writing and more than 30 years experience. She is also an animal lover who believes in the power of natural healing for all life on Earth. Anna Maria is published extensively on many topics, including numerous success stories using natural remedies to heal both humans and animals. She can be reached at:

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