Having a new dog in the house means my collection of chew toys is growing. But as a responsible pet “Mom”, I wondered just how healthy or safe they were.
There are currently no standards concerning the levels or types of chemicals in pet toys. Because pets chew, lick and carry their toys around, they’re exposed to higher levels of hazardous chemicals including phthalates, BPA (Bisphenol A), lead and arsenic. There aren’t many studies regarding the interaction or impact of these on animals. But given the toxicity of these chemicals in humans, finding pet toys without these is important.
West Paw Design, a well-known manufacturer of quality dog and cat toys, bedding and apparel, has created their Black Zogoflex line of eco-friendly dog toys. Zogoflex is a tough, pliable, almost indestructible material. Free of any toxic brew such as BPA, phthalates, lead, cadmium, mercury, latex, natural rubber, hormones or asbestos, tt’s recyclable, it floats and it’s FDA compliant (meaning it’s safe to eat off of!!).
West Paw Design is the only company that uses this tough material, says Spencer Williams, West Paw’s President.
“We wanted a durability that was unmatched,” he said.
Based in Bozeman, Montana, West Paw Design has been making sustainable products that use recycled, organic and recyclable materials since 1997. Making their products here in the U.S. gives them control over the manufacturing process, quality and environment.
“(Our products) are made by us in the US with environmentally safe materials and the materials are safe for pets and the environment,” says Williams.
In late 2012 , they began producing their black color products by using castoff, not totally clean-for-reuse color materials and adding black colored flakes.
“We used to have to throw these away,” Williams said. Now they grind them up and make new products from them.
“This is keeping our waste to near zero,” said Williams.
Their customer return program called “Join the Loop”, which launched in 2004, is a pivotal part of this.
Though returns only account for less than one-half of percent of sales, this innovative return program guarantees that if the customer doesn’t need a toy anymore or their dog chews it up or it didn’t perform well enough, they can return it and get a new product.
“We wanted customers to think of this as consumer products in a loop,” Williams said. “Zogoflex is infinitely recyclable,” he said.
The Black Hurleyi s the first Zogoflex toy to be available. This black bone-like chew toy, available in three sizes at pet retailers, is one of my dog’s favorites.
The next toys to join the line will be the Black Jive, a heavy-duty durable ball to be available in three sizes, and the Black Tux, a dog-durable, stuffable treat hider you can fill with dog’s favorite treats: yogurt, canned dog food, peanut (or sunflower nut) butter or frozen chicken broth.
The Tux is designed so that if the dog’s nose gets “stuck” the bowls will come off.
“We take safety very seriously,” said Williams.
My dog spent 20 minutes concentratedly testing this toy and loved every second of it.
The Black Jive and the Black Tux, which begin shipping around May 1st, are available through pre-order now at http://bit.ly/16WwMpe and http://bit.ly/XaHkiC. Reasonably priced, the durable Black Zogoflex collection can be purchased online at Westpawdesign.com or by phone at 800 443\-5567.