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Dirt + Dog Hair Has the Solution to Your Plastic-Dog-Toy Guilt

This brand makes sustainable pet parent life a little more achievable (and reduces that pile of plastic in your dog’s toy bin).

by Rebecca Caplan
December 16, 2022
A howling mixed breed white dog sitting next to a stack of stereos with glittery holiday ornaments around
Courtesy of Dirt & Dog Hair

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Navigating sustainability as a pet owner sometimes feels like an impossible challenge. The fact of the matter is: Dogs need a lot of stuff. If you have a chewer, puller, or pee-er you’re likely to go through a lot of it. So, if you’re an eco-conscious pet parent you try your best to find earth-friendly versions of this stuff — only to be confronted with the hurdles of affordability, availability, and, of course, greenwashing (did you know vegan leather is usually just plastic?).

All of this comes before you can consider if you actually like the look of the thing you’re buying. For some that might seem frivolous, but the reality is whether that thing you’re purchasing is a leash or a bowl or a toy, you’re probably going to have to look at it every single day of your life. With many of these categories our options have become more varied and affordable than ever before — except for one: toys.

plant shaped dog toys
Courtesy of Dog + Dirt Hair

For some reason, dog toys remain inexplicably expensive (for being a literal chew toy, that is), riddled with plastics, and, yes, tragically fugly. But the future of dog toys is looking green — with a little help from these ethereal, eco-friendly tarot card dog toys from Dirt + Dog Hair.

Founded in March of 2021, Dirt + Dog Hair is a Brooklyn, New York-based, woman-owned small business that produces high quality, handmade dog toys. Their tarot collection features three different toys each representing a different Major Arcana from traditional tarot cards — with a furry twist, of course.

After stumbling upon their Instagram, I was instantly obsessed and ordered all three toys. At 16 bucks a pop, these were hardly the affordable option I was looking for, but I was able to reconcile that fact when I considered Dirt + Dog Hair’s hyper-transparent, sustainable process. First, each one is completely hand-made, meaning these toys are not a product of a high-waste, high-emissions factory.

taro card and 70s themed dog toys
Courtesy of Dog + Dirt Hair

Also, Dirt + Dog Hair toys are entirely vegan without relying on tons of plastics — each toy is 90 percent vegan-dyed cotton, 10 percent plastic. That 10 percent plastic is the toy’s squeakers and customers can request it be left out if they wish to go 100 percent plastic, or simply squeaker noise, free. Finally, Dirt + Dog hair sources all of its fabrics and manufacturing from recycled and/or local resources, which is almost unheard of in the dog-space.

So, were the toys actually good? Aside from price they were everything I was looking for (i.e. not bad for the earth and not ugly). My dogs loved them, too, but my only note: Keep these away from your more aggressive chewers. I have two dogs, and the one that likes to rip things to shreds tragically sent “The Fool” toy to an early grave. I hardly think Dirt + Dog Hair can be blamed for my one pup’s homicidal tendencies when it comes to toys, and I predict “The Hermit” and “The Moon” will continue to live a happy life in my other, less murderous dog’s toy box for years to come.

tarot card and crystal toys
Courtesy of Dog + Dirt Hair

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rebecca caplan

Rebecca Caplan

Rebecca Caplan is a writer based in Brooklyn whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Reductress, and Vulture. She lives in Brooklyn with her perfect, toothless dog Moose.