My pup, Kali, is so obsessed with flying discs that I often joke that she’s part border collie, part blue heeler, and part Frisbee. Naturally, this means we’ve gone through a lot of flying dog toys over the years, as well as a few actual Frisbees intended for human use. When it comes to flying dog toys, I really do feel like a bona fide expert, so here are my top choices for eco-friendly, non-toxic dog ‘frisbees’ and some tips for making them last.
How to choose a great flying toy for your dog
In an effort to reduce unnecessary consumption and littering, I’ve clambered up into trees, waded into ponds, scaled walls, and endured bramble attacks to retrieve flying dog toys lost to errant throws or wayward winds. Still, some of these toys barely survived a week of ‘normal’ use without cracking, splitting, or just falling apart.
I quickly learned that actual Frisbees are a terrible idea for dogs as these are brittle and will get crunched, warped, and cracked quickly. They can also hurt your dog’s teeth and mouth, and they don’t float, which is a problem for many flying discs and toys intended for dogs.
One peculiarity of my particular pup is that if Kali feels under threat, she runs to the nearest body of water, usually the ocean, and hides her toys and herself in there. Not so great for non-floating toys, but great for my year-round gumboot game.
So, to make it as a long-term flying toy in our household, any new disc or such should ideally be durable, not overly firm (so it doesn’t hurt teeth and gums), and able to float. What I’ve found over the years is that very few toys meet all three conditions, with most only meeting one or two of these needs, if any. However, I currently have two discs in rotation that do meet these criteria, both of which are Aerobie Superdiscs. One of these Aerobies is at least five years old, with another having lasted just over three years.
I love the Aerobie, but before you think this makes it my top pick for an eco-friendly, non-toxic dog flying toy, here’s my caveat: there’s no information available on the material composition of the Aerobie, and no claims made about anything other than its performance and comfort. As such, I can’t in good conscience recommend you go out and buy one.
What I will say is that these discs are impressively durable (at least for my pup) and fly very well, even when they’ve been folded in half over and over again. At this point, my Aerobie’s have both endured thousands of hours of use, including at the park, at the beach, on gravel and dirt and grass and sand, in all weathers and with barely a bend or a significant nick to be seen. Sure, they’re massively scratched up and the logo came off years ago, but the function of the disc hasn’t been affected in the slightest.
I also like that the soft spoiler lip of the Aerobie means my pup is unlikely to hurt her mouth even when the disc hits her right in the face (which it does, invariably, at least once a day). The spoiler lip is there for both comfort and to help the disc fly straighter and farther, and it really works. And, if your pup does chomp the disc in half and cause a bit of a bend, you can just bend the disc back the other way to get it (mostly) straight again.
In terms of physical design, the Aerobie is dog-friendly, kid-friendly, easy to throw and catch, floats (thank goodness), and measures 10 inches across, making it an excellent option for larger dogs. As I mentioned a moment ago, though, I have no idea what the Aerobie is made of but assume it’s some kind of plastic and synthetic rubber.
So, the Aerobie may be just as good an option for you and your pup if you prize durability, floatability, and a soft lip but a firm form. Durability is key for me because it’s hard to avoid the reality that most of these flying toys are made with plastic of some kind. As such, I hate the idea of having to replace them every few months or even every few years. The Aerobie, which costs about a third of the price of the Kong Extreme Flyer (at just $9.99), basically put an end to me buying a stream of frisbees that got destroyed or lost. I love that the Aerobie dramatically cut down my resource consumption, even if I don’t know what the darned things are made of.
Over the years, my pup and I have tried plenty of ‘indestructable’ frisbees, only to be disappointed after a few days or weeks of normal use. Those that don’t get destroyed through a vigorous shake and occasional chomp typically succumb to thievery from other pups, or a watery grave.
What follows is a round-up of my top picks for eco-friendly, non-toxic frisbees for dogs that are top on my list to replace the Aerobies, should the Aerobies ever cross the rainbow bridge.
Green Toys EcoSaucer Flying Disc
The Green Toys EcoSaucer Flying Disc is made in California from 100% recycled plastic bags and is free of BPA and phthalates. The company claims that all of their toys surpass US and international standards for BPA and Phthalates, and conform to The CPSIA, ASTM F963, and International standards EN 71 and ISO 8124.
The EcoSaucer weighs around 130 grams, is easy to clean and dishwasher safe, and measures 10 inches in diameter, making it a bigger frisbee suitable for human use and for larger dogs. That said, this frisbee is made for humans specifically, so more powerful and aggressive chewers may make short work of it compared to frisbees like the Kong Extreme Flyer or Monster K9 Frisbee.
The Eco-Saucer is 100% US-made, with a tight supply chain, stringent quality control, and a commitment to saving energy and recycling. Green Toys uses food-safe, mineral-based coloring for these frisbees and their packaging is made with 100% recyclable cardboard printed with minimal color using soy inks. Some packaging uses recycled water bottle plastic, and the company has won the Greener Packaging Award for sustainable packaging.
Green Toys seem genuinely committed to sustainability, with a mission to create eco-friendly toys that are fun to play with and that encourage environmental change through everyday use and education, especially for kids. So, while it’s unlikely that your dog will give a hoot about the eco-credentials of the Eco Saucer, the humans around you might take note.
Monster K9 Dog Toys – Virtually Indestructible Frisbee
The Monster K9 Frisbee is ‘virtually indestructible’ and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee. Made with ‘industrial strength natural rubber’, this frisbee has a smooth design, meaning it is less likely to snag a tooth and get punctured. If your dog does destroy it, the company offers a one-time replacement or refund, as they do with most of their toys.
Monster K9 are a company dedicated to making toys for the most aggressive chewers and bigger dogs. They put their toys to the ultimate test – the gnashing teeth and exuberant play of German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Mastiffs and many more pups.
These frisbees are said to be ‘100% safe and non-toxic’, although they are not certified in any way and the company does not specify adherence with any particular safety standards. I’ve emailed to ask for more information on how they define ‘non-toxic’ and am waiting to hear back.
In the meantime, the Monster K9 Frisbee seems like one of the better options out there for a flying dog toy, especially if your monster tends to destroy frisbees. These frisbees are intended for larger dogs and cost $14.95
Here are a few other decent options you might want to consider if your pup needs a new flying toy. These companies and toys aren’t necessarily eco-friendly or non-toxic, but they do seem better than most, are typically more durable, and have a lot of happy customers.
Based on the thousands and 4- and 5-star reviews, people and their dogs love the Zogoflex Zisc. This flying dog disc has a deeper edge which makes for a good grip but a slightly shorter float time. On the plus side, you can turn the Zisc upside down to use it as an impromptu water bowl or food bowl if needed.
The Zisc is available in 6.5 inch and 8.5 inch models in Aqua, Glow, Granny Smith and Tangerine colors. It is US-made, BPA-free and phthalate-free, dishwasher safe (so you can keep it clean between uses), tooth-friendly, and guaranteed by West Paws for at least one replacement of refund. The Zisc is a little more rigid than the Kong Extreme Flyer, but a little lighter at 225 grams versus 255 grams. It’s not as rigid as the EcoSaucer, nor as light. It is supposed to float, but that hasn’t been my experience.
As with other West Paw products, I’d err some caution before buying the Zisc. That’s because West Paw make my list of Popular Dog Toy Companies to Think Twice About. Why? The short answer is that these ‘recycled’ dog toys may not be much more eco-friendly than a brand new plastic toy, and there are still some questions over the chemical composition of these toys.
Still, this is likely one of the better dog frisbees out there and plenty of folks have had many happy months of use with this toy. Sadly for us, West Paws Zogoflex Zisc split after just a few days of use, even though Kali doesn’t play tug of war with her flying discs. Hopefully you’ll have better luck with the Zisc. If your Zisc does fall apart or otherwise disappoint, you can send it back to West Paws to be recycled into another dog toy.
Kong Extreme Flyer
The Kong Extreme Flyer is a popular choice and may be a great option for your dog. Kali and I have gone through several of these over the years. Without fail, Kali has chewed a perfectly round hole in the center of every red and blue Kong flyer within a few weeks – goodness knows why. This doesn’t affect how it flies, but it does make it more likely to tear and to get stuck in trees. Also, the Kong flyers don’t float (which has necessitated many an impromptu dip in the ocean, as you can see from the photo here).
As with other Kong toys, I’d go for the black version of the Flyer, i.e. the Extreme. This flyer is meant to be tougher (so far, Kali hasn’t chewed through this one) and may be slightly safer, based on the principle that it is less likely to contain some toxic chemicals used to color their other flyers.
That said, Kong are woefully silent on the safety front, with no material safety data listed, no response to my questions about product composition, certification, and testing, and a general lack of transparency and care for eco-conscious, safety-conscious customers.
This frisbee weighs in at a whopping 255 grams, which is twice as heavy as the EcoSaucer and a little heavier than the Zisc. The Kong Flyer is a soft frisbee and can take a bit of getting used to if you’ve only ever thrown a hard frisbee. There’s a knack to it, and if your pup is anything like mine I’m sure they will help you get in lots of practice. The Zisc behaves a bit more like a regular, hard frisbee.
Finally, fabric frisbees
Fabric frisbees are a popular option for puppies and smaller dogs for whom heavier and firmer flying toys present a challenge or safety issue. That said, it’s my experience that synthetic fabric type flying dog toys like the Chuck-It Flying Squirrel tend not to last long and can present a safety hazard in themselves.
Simple friction and general wear and tear mean that the outer fabric cover of these toys will quickly split, and any kind of tug of war game between dogs (or dog and human) can result in the cover and foam interior separating. Puppies are liable to shred and eat parts of these toys, and fabric flying toys made with synthetic fibers and plastic components also get pretty gross with slobber and dirt after just one park session. Unlike the Eco-Fetcher, most of these toys can’t easily be thrown in the wash.
So, after just a few fun outings, you’ll probably just be left with some slimy brightly colored synthetic fiber strands, some torn foam, and a broken toy destined for landfill. If you’d prefer a fabric frisbee for the sake of safety and weight, look for one made with hemp. Honest Pet Products used to sell the excellent Eco-Fetcher, but they seem to have gone out of business. Hemp frisbees will biodegrade naturally once you’re done with them, making them very eco-friendly.
If you’re going for durability, the Monster K9 frisbee is a decent option, as is the Kong Extreme Flyer, although I’d also look at the Aerobie if you and your dog are serious about frisbee time and value longevity and performance over immediate eco-credentials.
Is there an eco-friendly, non-toxic dog frisbee your pup loves? Let me know so I can check it out and add it to this round-up.