The 4 Best Eco-Friendly & Non-Toxic Dog Balls

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Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.

Table of Contents
  1. Overall Winner for Best Dog Ball: Twin Critters TennisWools
  2. Beco Ball
  3. Planet Dog Orbee Tuff® Recycle Ball®
  4. Chuckit! Rebounce Ball
  5. Final Thoughts on Dog Ball Toys

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, non-toxic ball for your dog, my advice is to go check your dryer. No, seriously, one of the best toys for your ball obsessed pup may well be what you already use to keep your towels fluffy: a simple wool dryer ball.

Wool dryer balls are not only a great way to ditch those toxic dryer sheets, they’re also great for indoor fetch as they bounce but are much quieter than tennis balls and less liable to do damage to furnishings. They can also be used outside, ideally in dry weather, and can be put in the wash and, of course, the dryer, to keep them clean. Wool balls even float for a little while but will sink eventually if you abandon them to a watery grave.

Dryer balls are ideal for senior dogs who still like to fetch and chew on a ball, and for puppies who are teething. These balls are not as hard as most dog toys and are gentle on teeth and gums; they even help keep teeth clean! And, because the balls are solidly made with wool, there’s little risk of them cracking and falling apart. If any wool fibers do lift up off the ball, you can just dampen the ball with water, pat the fibers back into place, and leave the ball to dry. Not all dryer balls are the same, though, so look for those made with organic or EcoWool, made without any dyes.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for eco-friendly, non-toxic dog balls. Curious about how we rate products? Click here to view our methodology, which at its core, is about voting with our dollars to fight climate change.


Overall Winner for Best Dog Ball: Twin Critters TennisWools

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Highlights: These dog balls are made of 100 percent natural merino wool and are free of azo dyes.

These colored TennisWools are available in a pack of three and look like slightly smaller tennis balls. The TennisWools are handmade in Nepal using 100% natural merino wool and are free of azo dyes. Twin Critters is a company founded by twin brothers, one a doctor of endocrinology and one a veterinarian – not too shoddy as far as credentials go for making safe, non-toxic dog toys.

There are plenty of other dog balls around that are made with wool, but these are almost certainly dyed with chemical dyes and are mostly made in China or other countries where safety standards aren’t great. As such, I’d encourage you to get the TennisWools for your canine companion.


Beco Ball

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Highlights: The beco ball is a durable chew toy that you can put treats in.

Beco Pets have made the world’s first rice husk and natural rubber dog toys and are a UK company that gives back to the community, donating a portion of profits to various animal charities. The Beco Ball is tough, free from toxic chemicals, and has a slight vanilla scent. They also offer a ball and rope toy that features a natural cotton rope (would be great if this was organic cotton), which allows you to throw it even farther in the park.

One thing I like about the Beco Ball is that, while it seems to hold up well to enthusiastic chewers, there’s not all that much cause for concern if your pup does ingest small pieces, given that the ball is made with natural and biodegradable materials. This ball howls and whistles when thrown, making it fun for your pup.

Beco Balls have a slightly wonky shape, meaning they can bounce in a fun and erratic way to keep your pup entertained. There’s also a small hole in the bottom of the ball, so you can stuff treats inside for a fun treasure hunt game with your pup. They also seem to float and come in small, medium, large, and extra large sizes ranging from around $6 to $16.


Planet Dog Orbee Tuff® Recycle Ball®

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Highlights: Made in the USA and can withstand some significant chew action.

Planet Dog makes their Orbee Tuff® Recycle Ball entirely from material left over after the injection molding process used to make other toys in their range, which are themselves said to be eco-friendly. This process virtually eliminates manufacturing waste for the company and helps reduce their carbon footprint. 

Unfortunately, as I note in my article on Popular Dog Toy Companies to Think Twice About, we don’t actually know what’s in these toys, only that the toys contain recycled number 7 plastic and a chemical the company seems to have given a whitewashed name. 

So, why have I included the Recycle Ball as an option to consider? Well, because this ball may be marginally better than buying a dog ball made with brand new plastic or synthetic rubber that contains phthalates and BPA. Also, Planet Dog make all of their dog toys in the USA, helping to minimize emissions and ensure decent working conditions for those making the toys. They also use eco-friendly paper stocks and inks on catalogs, signage and collateral, and they participate in local composting initiatives and other environmentally friendly programs.

The Recycle Ball measures 3 inches in diameter and is durable (a 5 out of 5 on the company’s toughness scale), buoyant, bouncy, and vaguely minty, presumably to help freshen your pup’s breath. Colors vary depending on the materials the company has left over after making their other toys. 


Chuckit! Rebounce Ball

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Highlights: A durable, bouncy toy that will keep your dog entertained.

Made with recycled plastic in Chuckit!’s familiar blue and orange colors, the Rebounce Balls have the same durability, bounce, firmness, and fun as their regular balls but are a little more eco-friendly. They’re also compatible with the Chuckit! Launcher. Be warned, though, that these have two holes in them, which means they whistle when thrown and tend to sink rather than float. 

Chuckit! claim their toys are made with natural rubber but they offer no certification to prove as much. There’s also no real information about the company, other than that they’ve been in business making dog toys since the 1990s and appear to have been acquired by Petmate at some point in the last few years.

Final Thoughts on Dog Ball Toys

As I’ve noted elsewhere on, my pup is a big fan of frisbees and other flying toys, but that’s not to say that she doesn’t like to chase a ball every now and again. There are certainly plenty of dog balls to choose from, and I’ve used a fair few over the years, even though I haven’t bought a new ball for a good long while. We have a knack for finding balls in the wild, so I’d argue that the most eco-friendly dog ball is the one you already own or that your pup finds at the beach or park.

I should also note that Coyuchi (one of my favorite ethical brands at Leaf Score, mostly for duvets and pillows) offer a set of three felted wool dryer balls that surprisingly make for a good option as dog toys. And, if your dog doesn’t love them, you have new dryer balls to keep your clothes in good shape. These wool dryer balls are ideal for the outdoors on a dry day. The Beco Ball is a good choice for more rigorous outdoor conditions. The classic Chuckit Ball has a great bounce and the Rebounce is the same, but these come with the caveat that Chuckit don’t seem to particularly care about eco-friendliness or toxicity. 

As for the Orbee Tuff Recycle Ball, I can’t say that I’ve used one, but this ball consistently gets good reviews so would be one to check out if you’re not put off by Planet Dog’s lack of transparency over materials and processes.

As always, if there’s an eco-friendly, non-toxic dog ball you and your pup love, let me know so I can check it out and perhaps add it to this roundup.

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  1. OH MY DOG!!! Somebody else in this world has actually cared to recognise that our pets are frequently exposed to toxins in pet toys and other products?! WOW!! Thank you, Leigh.
    Great article, and I like that you also care about our environment.
    I’ve been looking for non-toxic balls for my dog for years and gave up because there simply was no such thing. There were apparently non-toxic stick toys and ropes but no balls.
    My dog is obsessed with balls, so I kind of feel torn between giving him the fun he deserves but also wanting to keep him healthy and alive for as long as possible. Compromising his health with any toxic toys, pet food etc. just doesn’t seem possible once I know what’s in it. It’s really hard though. He keeps finding or stealing balls from others and sometimes people just give him a ball, well-meaningly but not having any clue of the risks.
    My dog is a chewer and destroys most balls within seconds or minutes. The tough ones can last a few days or so. The one that lasted the longest was a strong softball (of the game) that he found, however, he lost it in the sea… And, of course, it wasn’t toxin-free either, I’m aware of that.
    I wish there was a company that actually cared about our animals and nature and produced toxinfree, good quality products that last.
    Thanks again, Leigh, for this article and for being a caring human being!!

    • Hi Lika,

      Thanks for the comment! I totally sympathise with the struggle to find safe, eco-friendly dog toys! And when you do finally find something that works… it gets eaten by the ocean!

      Here’s hoping more companies start making safe and sustainable dog toys in the future. In the meantime, we’ll just all keep doing our best to keep the pups safe (and entertained!).


  2. hi guys. My cockapoo is obsessed with balls.. but unfortunately recently has been getting more and more seizures. He’s been to the vets and bloods seem clear. I’m quite sure the frequency is increased with toxins on the lawns, I washed the floors the other day with stuff that’s said safe for pets but had another two then and now I’m thinking is it his balls. I’ve just sniffed one and they smell really bad. Very toxic, strong and “rubbery”. Just checked most are Chuck it brand. Any thoughts?

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