Spoil Your Dog With These 5 DIY Treats & Toys
Want to do something special for your fur kid? Check out these DIY dog projects to spoil your pup rotten!
From treats to toys to everything in between, I love spoiling my dog, Jenna. When we adopted her – a year ago this past Sunday! – a friend told me that there is nothing like the bond between a person and their dog, and he was so right. She’s my girl, and I love making things for her.
Jenna’s had a rough few months. She has a mystery limp that we’re trying to figure out, which came on the heels of a serious flea problem. Just a month after the fleas abated and she stopped pulling out her own hair, the limping started. She’s a naturally nervous girl because she was rescued from an animal hoarder before we got her, so disruptions to her routine like frequent vet visits are especially hard for Jenna.
Related Reading: Black Dog Syndrome
It was difficult to see her so out of sorts, and when the going gets tough, though, the tough get crafty! If you have a pup that could use some extra TLC, we’ve got some DIY ways that you can show your dog a little love.
photos by Becky Striepe
1. Homemade Dog Treats
Did you know that sweet potato was super healthy for dogs? It’s full of vitamins that are good for them, and that little bit of extra fiber even helps with their…er…elimination. Jenna loves plain ol’ sweet potato, and any time I’m cooking one up for myself, I set aside one piece – sans skin – to cool and give to her as a little treat.
This sweet potato dog treat recipe was a big hit with our pup. It’s full of healthy ingredients that dogs love: sweet potatoes, peanut butter, and oats. They also contain a little dash of flax meal, which is packed with healthy fats to improve your dog’s coat.
Want more dog treat recipes? Click here for pumpkin squeaks, banana “mutt” cookies and french fries.
photo by Becky Striepe
2. Make a Dog Bed
A cozy bed is your dog’s safe place, especially if you have tile or hardwood floors, but store bought dog beds are bad news. They’re usually made from conventional cotton or polyester, which is a petroleum product, and the stuffing is no good, either. They’re usually stuffed with polyfill (more petroleum) or foam, and dog beds are often treated with toxic flame retardants, too.
Related Reading: The Dirty Side of Cotton
Instead of buying your dog a bed, it’s not too hard to make one from reclaimed materials! Just hit the thrift store for a set of sheets (including a comforter), and check out this tutorial for how to turn that reclaimed sheet set into a cozy bed.
3. Recycled Dog Sweater
Before we had a dog, I was adamantly opposed to animals in clothing. Putting a costume on a cat still bums me out (I know, I am the only person in the world that feels this way!), but after seeing Jenna shivering when we took her for a walk in 20 degree weather, my stance on dog sweaters changed.
She loves the sweater I made her using this tutorial! Instead of knitting one from scratch, you chop up a thrift store sweater and re-shape it to fit your dog. When I pull her sweater out of the box on chilly mornings, she sits, wags her tail, and perks up her head so that I can put it on her.
4. Make a Tug Toy
Some healthy play is a great way to pep up your pup and get her some good exercise at the same time!
The problem is, dog toys tend to be pretty temporary. Jenna is yet to meet a dog toy that she can’t destroy, if you give her enough time. If they’re just going to demolish these things, why spend the money and use the natural resources to produce new ones?
Does your pup likes playing tug? Check out these simple DIY tug toys made from reclaimed t-shirts instead!
5. Homemade Dog Shampoo
If your dog loathes baths like Jenna does, dog shampoo might not seem like much of a treat. True, your dog might not love a bath while it’s happening, but dogs like to be clean. Being smelly bums them out.
Store-bought dog shampoos are expensive, and they’re often full of artificial fragrances and other mystery ingredients, so I was thrilled to run across this recipe for homemade, natural dog shampoo! To make this as healthy as possible, choose an eco-friendly, fragrance free dish soap, since this will be kindest on your pup’s skin. You can also add a few drops (3-5) of lavender essential oil to the mix, if you like! Lavender oil is a soothing scent for dogs, so it does double duty in a wash: calms her down during bathing and leaves her smelling like flowers when you’re done!
Have you guys done any crafting for your pups? I’d love to hear about what you’ve made to treat your dogs in the comments!