You may remember that I contacted a few suppliers and manufactures with regards to the dog toys that they make and supply. I’ll put a link to those blog posts here:
I was relieved that I did get some responses because after a couple of days I was starting to think that I might not hear anything. But it is important to remember that these are big companies, with lots of customers and lots of emails to go through.
My first response was from Rosewood Pet Products, a company that you will see in many places, including my own, I love their range of products across most pets. It’s important for me to be clear that I’m not attacking these companies, the purpose of my open letter was to raise the question and I am pleased that they did give me a response:
Email from Rosewood
Thank you for your enquiry. For your pets’ safety, examine the toy from time to time for wear and tear and replace it when appropriate – is referring to replace the toys when necessary.
With regard to - no information about what the product is made from or how it should be disposed of – We don’t believe we legally have to declare what the product is made from or how it should be disposed of for pet toys, unless it contains batteries. However, we are looking in to doing this for future products and packaging.
Recycling symbols etc are put on some customer specific products, as per customer specific requests.
We would advise to check locally regarding recycling of the toy. Generally, a plush toy is polyester and squeaker and a vinyl toy is vinyl and squeaker.
It does seem to me that if more dog owners ask companies about what a product is made from and how it can be recycled, then they may take the intuitive to start providing that information in the first place with out all the effort having to be put in on the part of the us the consumer.
I would just also like to point out that by saying they don’t “believe” that they have to label the toy with what it is made off they are creating a back door, in case of any legal issues. Furthermore “Future products” could be next season, next year or in the next decade!
My other response was from Pet retail giant – Pets at home, which kind of says it all really:
Thank you for getting in touch with us,
In regards to the dog toys, if they are in reasonable condition and you think they can still be used by another pet, i would suggest donating it to a rescue center for pets.
If they are too damaged, I would suggest throwing them in the bin.
If you have any more questions, please let me know.
Again I was pleased to receive a response, this was through customer service, which I had to go through the websites live chat customer service in order to get an email address. I did expect to get a reply but perhaps I was expecting too much to think that Pets at Home would already have some sort of plan in the pipeline, at least to be addressing the issue.
You can be sure that this is not the end of the road and I will continue to ask questions and look for solutions. In the meantime you can help by raising the issue with other dog owners, retailers and manufactures, share this blog or even send your own open letter emails.
Think about the toys you buy, if you find a toy you like but it doesn’t say what its made of, snap a picture and share it on social media, how can we make an informed choice without the information
Tweet the company or share it on instagram. The more people who ask, the harder it will be for them to ignore. Remember, we are only asking for transparency so we can choose.
This year I came across a company called True Leaf Pet. They make Hemp based products for pets, out of British Columbia, Canada. I was quite intrigued by the different functional treats that were available for both cats and dogs, from calming to joint care.
Given the rise popularity of cannabis derived products for people I thought I would have a look at some of the potential benefits and the differences between cannabis and hemp.
Although often confused and conflated, Cannabis and Hemp are Not the same. They are part of the same plant family, relatively small, is it made up of 11 groups that overall contains around 170 different species of flowering plant (and I thought I had a big family!).
This family called, Cannabaceae, are upright or climbing plants, with one seed fruits and flowers that have no petals. This plant family also contains another commercially important plant – Hops!
Family aside, the important differences; the mind-altering substance found in cannabis, THC (the part that gets people high) is almost nonexistent in hemp, less than 0.02%.
Humans have been growing and cultivating hemp for centuries and yet few people seem to know very much about an amazing plant it is! It has a huge number of properties and applications including but not limited to: paper making, textiles, fireworks and nutrition.
Hemp production requires very little maintenance, watering or fertilizer, producing a very high yield with less input than conventional crops. So, hemp is far better for the environment.
What your dog benefits from is found in the seeds of the hemp plant. These are packed with omega 6 omega 3 fatty acids. Your dog can not produce these essential fatty acids themselves; they need to have them in their diet. These fatty acids form parts of hormones in the dog’s body that aid the process of smoothing out muscle contractions, additionally the control of swelling and even the regulation of body temperature.
By helping your dog to maintain a good supply of omega 3 and 6 hemp treats can contribute to better joint health and reduce the risk of skin problems. It’s great to know that there are treats available that can contribute to the health and well being of your pets and be environmentally positive. I haven’t started using these products yet, as my jack Russell, Ella has pancreatitis, but more on that at another time.
I have started, just one of the True Leaf Pet products at the moment, Calming support for dogs with hemp, green tea and calming herbs: lemon balm and chamomile.
They are grain free but also quite pricey, with an RRP of £4.49 for a 50g bag. It is important to remember however that this is not some “throw away treat” and it does serve a beneficial function to your pets health.
It is also worth noting that the calming treat contain chicken and turkey, so would NOT be suitable for any dogs who are sensitive to poultry. Additionally due to the high content of omega 3 and 6 content in the hemp seed that makes them so useful, the crude fat content is high and therefore may not be the right treat for some pets.
I’m looking into whether the product packet is recyclable, which would be a great win if they are!
Hello everyone, I'm back again this week on the subject of dog toys and there disposal. You may remember a few weeks ago I did a toy box de-clutter and was left with more than few old toys, that were no longer fit for purpose.
Following on from that I spent a mind numbing amount of time trying to figure out to do with the left overs; the destiny of toys after the box, left me feeling rather powerless as a consumer and frustrated that suppliers and manufactures were telling us that we should be replacing these products when they show signs of 'wear' but are deliberately leaving out a method of disposal.
Now some people I have spoken to about this have said that surely in would just go in the bin? And that is entirely my point.
Just because the toy goes out of sight into the bin to be collected at the road side and driven away doesn't mean that it has some how vanished!
It seems increasingly clear that from the manufactures and retailers point of view, once we the consumer have purchased the toy it is then our problem to deal with it's disposal.
That might sound obvious, we own the product, we bought it we should be responsible for it. The availability of a range of dog toys that are suitable and safe for our dogs may be huge but once you factor in disposal that would avoid landfill your accessible options seem to plummet.
Add to this that many of the dog toy labels that I see provide little to no information about what the toy is made from, and therefore how it can be disposed of; so it can be difficult to make an informed choice.
I wanted to get some feedback from some of the companies that supply some of these dog toys, so I sent a few emails to some different manufactures and suppliers. They went a bit like this:
Dear Pets at Home,
As a dog owner I love to buy my dogs toys to play with, whether it’s a vinyl squeaky ball, or a Benjamin bear (which is a favourite).
I see Pets at Home stores in so many places, with a huge variety of dog toys in all manner of shapes and sizes.
Everyone that I have seen carries some sort of notice or safety advice regarding supervising dogs at play and to replace a toy when worn or damaged.
Can you please clarify what Pets at home intends that I, the consumer should do with your products, once it has been deemed appropriate to replace the toy?
I have as yet been unable to find one of your products that states how it should be disposed of.
I would greatly appreciate some clarification on the matter.
As of yet I haven't heard back from any of the companies I contacted. Please feel free to copy this letter to email any companies or business that you feel could do with addressing Pet product waste. I will keep you all up to date with any replies I get on my facebook page.