Santa Paws is coming: Sustainable presents for pets

Embarrassingly, that is my dog enjoying her first Christmas after she was rescued.
Embarrassingly, that is my dog enjoying her first Christmas after she was rescued. Copyright @peggytherescue
By Marthe de Ferrer
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For those of us who love to give Christmas gifts to our non-human family, here's how to stay eco-friendly.


There's no point in me pretending I don't get Christmas and birthday presents for my dogs, because I absolutely do. From stockings filled with treats to wrapped-up toys, I utterly spoil my pets at every opportunity.

But these gifts aren't always the most eco-friendly options in the world, often containing excess plastic packaging or only lasting a few minutes. Every time one of my dogs tears a new toy to pieces, it feels wasteful when you consider the likely carbon footprint involved with making and distributing that product.

So for those of us so inclined as to gift to our pets, what are the most sustainable options around?

Animal Instincts 'snow leopard'

Bear with me on this one - I know it looks like it would be destroyed in a minute, but there's something magical about this toy.

When I adopted the elder of my dogs, back in 2017, this was the first toy we bought her. Three and a half years later, this leopard (named April, because not only am I the sort of person to buy presents for my pets, I also like to name their toys) is still going strong.

In fact, when my second - far more destructive - dog entered our lives earlier this year, he has managed to rip open every single toy within a 2km radius of our house, except April. We bought a smaller, identical version of the leopard (this time named Ann), which also remains undestroyed.

Both dogs adore these plushies, and I still can't explain why they have yet to be torn to pieces - but they are certainly more sustainable than the usual chew toys we buy.

Buy here for €10

Euronews / Animal Instincts
My two dogs in candid shots with their beloved snow leopard toys.Euronews / Animal Instincts

Naturally shed 'deer antler chews'

If your dogs are chewers, there's nothing better than deer antlers. No animals are hurt in the process, as the chews are made from antlers which have been naturally shed by wild deer.

What you're left with is a 100 per cent natural product, which is healthy for pets - especially compared to the dangers of rawhide chews - and good for the planet.

Buy here from €25 for a large box

Artisan Gift co
Sustainable, ethical and good for your pets too!Artisan Gift co

A dapper neckerchief

If you want your pet to look extra chic this year, why not buy a handmade neckerchief from the team over at House of Klaus?

This small independent business makes beautiful accessories for pets at absurdly reasonable prices.

If you're based near Newcastle, UK you can catch them at Tynemouth market every Sunday, but for those of us a little further afield - you can also order via Facebook or Instagram.

Should you have a design in mind, there is the option to pay for a custom commission.

My favourite thing about these products (which have been thoroughly tried and tested by my two), is that the bandanas slip on over the collar, rather than tying around your pets' necks. This means it's a little more secure - and a whole lot safer - than conventional neckerchiefs.

Prices vary, contact House of Klaus for more info

Ethical dog toys and loose leaf catnip

The team over at Snooty Catz are accredited by Terracycle and Ecologi for their climate-positive approach to business.


They have numerous toys for dogs, from 'fetch and tug' ropes to Lenny the Leek...

Their loose leaf catnip is also a great, natural product to boost your cat's wellbeing and energy levels.

Buy the dog toys here

Buy the catnip for €8 here

Snooty Catz
Snooty Catz specialises in ethical pet products.Snooty Catz

A handmade, bespoke tag

If you want to really spoil your pets, while also ensuring their safe return should they ever wander, nothing beats a Lady and the Hound tag.


You can order custom designs with different charms, or go for one of the many pre-designed options.

If you fancy matching - you can even get a human necklace for added adorableness.

Prices start from €13

Whatever you gift your pets this Christmas, make sure you monitor them closely throughout the festive period. It's common that animals end up eating things they shouldn't - like ornaments and chocolate - around Christmas time, so it pays to be vigilant.

But a deer antler and a new toy should be enough distraction to keep them happy well into the new year!

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