It’s only natural that we lavish love on our furry companions -sometimes in the form of DIY pet projects. It’s great to watch your pet enjoy something you’ve made. And you’ll never hear them say that it’s the wrong color, or it’s lame, or the other pets will make fun of them.
We all love our pets, and, sometimes, part of that love is making a hand-crafted pet project just for them. Some crafters sew blankets. Other, more ambitious ones, make complete dog or cat beds. Toys play an important role in preparing kittens and puppies for adulthood. These little ones learn social interaction and hunting skills (for cats) from playing with toys. Dogs learn how to play safely within a group.
There are Halloween costumes for your pets, toys filled with catnip, doggie diapers for pets with medical issues, and the list goes on. Some have even made a good living doing nothing but making fun things for dogs and cats. Check out Etsy – there are 64 PAGES of crafts-people making items for your pets.
There are 89.7 million dogs in U.S. households, and 94 million cats. However, we have only 73.7 million children living here. That means there are 110 million more pets living in our home than children. Americans will spend an average of $6,500 on toys for their children from birth to adulthood. Fortunately, pet toys don’t cost nearly as much as those for humans – the average cost of dog toys throughout their lifetime comes to about $564.00. People in the U.S. spend about $360.00 for toys through the lifetime of their cat. (Cats are often happier with empty cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, and household decorations – all of which are generally available in many US homes.)
Here are some of the best DIY pet projects I’ve found on the Internet. Just click on the heading and you will be taken to the correct page.
Make a keepsake paw print of your pet. Many vet’s offices offer this service when you have a pet euthanized, but wouldn’t it be much nicer to have this when they’re still a lively part of your family. This post shows how to do it for a dog, but, if you have a patient cat (or thick gloves), it would work for them as well:
Make dog bandanas. For those dogs who will wear anything you put on them, here is a video tutorial. These bandanas cover the collar, making it less likely that it will end up drooping down under their chin. And they’ll make your pooch stand out in a crowd.
For the woodworkers among you, here is a great cat castle to bring some fun and interest to your cat’s life. (There are also directions on how to build this with cardboard boxes. I’m not sure how sturdy that would be, however.) This fun and cool-looking project practically shouts “I am a cat person!”.
Here’s an easy scratching pad made with cardboard boxes. Anyone who has a cat knows a scratching pad is essential to maintaining their health and your furniture. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of these in several rooms of your home?
I would hesitate to make this one if I also had dogs. I don’t think it would last very long in that instance. But for those cat-only households, this is a cute idea which uses only dowels, twine, fabric, and other common items.
A little more challenging than some of the other projects, this is something I’ve always wanted to try. An individualized dog collar, showing off your interests, is a fun addition to your neighborhood walks. Maybe I’ll try this in the fall.
Similar to baby play gyms, this uses common items to entice a cat to bat at them. Although it does need some basic woodworking skills to make, it’s a pretty simple and fun project. See the link below:
If you want a dog that’s really styling, check this pattern out. Needs some pretty good sewing skills, but your dog will look like an English gentleman when you’re through. Check out the instructions here:
A great idea for campers who take their dogs with them. This uses soft ice packs, so make sure to never leave your dog alone while she’s using this. Although they are said to be non-toxic, there are plenty of stories out there about dogs being poisoned by ingesting the liquid from one. So, great for using while everyone is around, but be sure to put it out of the dog’s reach when you’re not supervising.
There is a wonderful organization called Wrapped in Love which provides blankets for dogs and cats in animal shelters and rescues across the country. This is a volunteer organization, and members send their blankets to the shelters individually – although sometimes, if a member lives close to a selected rescue, they’ll do a hand delivery. I will be doing an in-depth profile of them in a future post. Anyway, they have a files section, which includes many patterns for blankets and toys. Check them out here, and join the group if you’d like to help.
Here’s a project that a Mom can do with small children. It’s simple, but fun, and uses something that we all throw away regularly. Enjoy!
For the really ambitious among you, here are directions to make a beautiful dog crate that will fit nicely into your living room décor. I’ve never used a crate for my dogs, unless they were ill and needed to be kept quiet, but I know a lot of people crate train. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a crate that wasn’t ugly metal and fit nicely into its surroundings?
If you’re into integrating your living areas with items for your cat, here’s the project for you. Kitty can hang out in the living room with everyone, while still having his own space. See the instructions below:
Have indoor only cats (the safest way to own cats)? Would you like them to be able to get out in the fresh air on occasion, but without the worry that they’ll take off? Here’s an idea for a “catio”, accessed through a pet door. Helps fight off cat boredom, and gives your kitties (who, we will all admit, aren’t necessarily the sweetest smelling pet), some time to “air out”. See the directions below.
Here’s a great way to keep your dog entertained and give him a mental challenge. Although it is very difficult to use these in a multi-dog home, you can always put each of your dogs in separate rooms to play. Just make sure you are home and available – which precludes leaving them to play to keep them engaged during the day.
For you Ikea lovers out there (I’m one), here’s directions on how to take some basic Ikea furniture, rearrange and add, and make a fabulous cat gym for your indoor cats. Once you assemble the shelves, the rest is basically accomplished with a glue gun. Have fun with this one – your cat certainly will!
The DIY pet projects above can give your friend something different to look forward to, and help prevent boredom. For more ideas to relieving boredom in dogs, please read my post here. Although the title says winter, many of the ideas are usable all year long.
I hope you find something to make for your pets – if you’re naturally crafty you know it’s a relaxing way to spend a few hours. And, if you’re making it for your pet, they will love it because it came from you!