Let's talk about a major area to consider when making good choices for our dogs: quality durable products (also called hard goods), like leashes, toys and bedding.

Here are a couple of facts to keep in mind:

1. While products for children have legal regulations in place that enforce standards for maximum allowable limits on the use of certain toxins and materials, this DOES NOT exist for pets. And for dog junkies like us, whose pets are our “kids”, that means we need to take it upon ourselves to do our own research, not rely on flashy marketing of big companies.

2. This is further exacerbated by the fact that pet products produced in other countries are further at risk because many of these countries have no such standards in place limiting environmental toxins. And the vast majority of dog toys are made in other countries.

3. And, if you have children (the human version), they (and even adults) are at greater risk from environmental exposure from proximity to these harmful products.

Here's what we recommend:

1. As often as possible, buy durable products manufactured in the U.S. Your best bet is to do online research or visit your small, local pet boutique retailer, who tend to (but not always) be more knowledgeable about and carry U.S. made products.

2. Minimize use of plastic or petroleum-based products such as plastic/rubber toys, polypropylene collars, harnesses and leashes.

3. When purchasing softer material-based products (bedding, coats and even collars), try to stick with organic cotton, wool, bamboo or hemp products. Our Power Tugs Dog Tug Toys are produced using bamboo and hemp natural materials that are grown with no herbicides or pesticides, are renewable crops and with no harmful dies in the material –check them out here.

We realize it's difficult to completely stick with durable goods using this list, but do your best to limit your dog's exposure to these products.

For example, we still use some polypropylene collars, harnesses and leashes, but we only use them when out walking not at home. And our dogs never chew on these items.

Same goes for the popular Kong-style toys…we use them, but limit the time our dogs chew on them.