While our cats may bring us gifts we may not want to show they love us and our dogs bring us soggy tennis balls and occasionally other things, we humans love sharing the gift-giving fun of the holidays with our pets. Here are some DIY crafts, toys, and pet treats you can make for your dog or cat that shows they’ve been noticed as being a good boy or girl by Santa Paws.
Gingerbread Cookie Toys for Cats
Gingerbread cookie toys filled with catnip give a Christmas cookie that makes them as giddy as the non-furry kids and is simple to make, trace, cut, fill, and sew using felt, various sewing trim, and fresh catnip. Draw a cookie or print it online and make a simple stuffed toy for your cat! You can also make Hannukah or Kwanza candle toys or any other seasonal shape you desire!
Yogurt Dog Treat Recipe
Peanut butter yogurt frozen hearts capture the crisp cool air and the deliciousness of favorite treats and create a pup blizzard of a favorite treat. While a frozen peanut butter filled Kong is a known trick for dog owners, you can also make frozen yogurt treats with peanut in a heart-shaped ice cube or candy or chocolate mold to give your dog a holiday treat
Plain Greek yogurt
Pet-safe peanut butter
A heart-shaped ice tray
• Heat the peanut butter in the microwave until softened.
• Spoon a small amount of peanut butter into the tray and allow to dollop or add more to create a thick opaque PB layer, feel free to swirl once the next step is completed to be different final appearances of the treats.
• Take a spoon and fill the tray sections with yogurt on top of the peanut butter in each mold
• Press yogurt into the mold to make sure the mold is packed and smack tray gently and firmly against the container to encourage the yogurt to settle and prevent air bubbles.
• Clean up molds and place the tray in the freezer for 4 hours or longer.
• Serve as single-serving treats for a frosty-nosed pup or drizzle with honey or a favorite syrup for a protein-rich human treat!
Dog Cookie Recipe
Make holiday cookies especially for your dog by baking them some Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats.
2 cups whole wheat flour (can substitute with other types of flour)
1 cup oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup of water
Use a mixing bowl to combine and mix all the ingredients well. Place dough into a ball and refrigerate overnight or at least 4-5 hours to firm up. Prevent oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface roll dough out to 1/2 “thick and use cookie cutters in bone or holiday shapes to cut out cookies. You can brush cookies with egg wash for glossy cookies. Bake for 25-30 minutes and cool to serving. Cool before serving.
Sewing A Cat Hammock
Cats love the cozy comfort of a hammock and make cats happy. You can make the hammock any size or shape you need but many cats prefer a rectangular hammock. You can also use two layers of different or double patterned fabric to create a reversible hammock to allow the kitty bedding to match better with more décor.
The best fabrics to use are sturdy durable ones that of course, can support a cat’s weight. Denim pant legs can be recycled or using indoor/outdoor fabric for the show layer and use old washed wool blankets and terry cloth towels for the underside to make long-lasting and easily cleaned cat hammocks. Make sure the fabric is soft, machine washable, and is soft so it’s perfect for a cat. Cats are fine if it doesn’t match the blinds. Other supplies you’ll need are thread, scissors, and a medium weight sewing machine needle in your sewing machine to puncture and stitch the two layers together. You can also pick up used mattress pads from thrift shops to pad the hammock layers and fill them. Polypro webbing is ideal for edging and creating corner straps. For each hammock, you need a total of 60″ in length (4 sections cut at 15″ each). Use a lighter to melt the edges of the webbing to prevent fraying after cutting.
For a hammock, start with choosing the fabric and cut out two equally sized fabric pieces to make either the large or the small/medium hammock. Cut an equal-sized piece of padding from your soon-to-be-upcycled mattress pad.
Sizes to cut: 27″ x 17 1/2″ for Large or 22″ x 13 1/2″ for Small/Medium
Decide which of the two main fabric pieces you want to attach the edging straps to. Take a 15″ length of webbing, fold in half, pin the open ends together catty-corner to one of the four corners of the rectangular piece. Be sure to place the folded middle section of the strap inside the fabric piece. This is important as we need it to be enclosed inside when we sew the layers together in the next step.) Sew straight back and forth multiple times to reinforce the strap and repeat this stitching on all four corners.
Layer 1- Place this fabric face side up (this piece will already have the sewn straps in the corners facing up. Place the folded straps in the fabric sandwich.
Layer 2- Place upside down on top of Layer 1 and ensure the fabric is facing the wrong way from you. Make sure the pattern is table side down and facing away from you.
Layer 3- The padding
Pin all layers together.
Start sewing halfway along with one of the longer sides of the rectangle and leave a 6-7-inch opening for turning “inside out” (right-side out so the padding is inside!) when the layers are sewn together. Sew straight stitch seams 5/8 inches from the edge. Larger seams help these hammocks be more durable and hold up to frequent use and washings. When you sew the corners, swivel the sewing foot to encase the corner strap on the diagonal to attach all layers. Insert your hand into the hammock and turn right side out so fabric sandwiches the padding. Pulls straps into place. Stich the edge closed by hand or using a machine. The poly webbing loops are easily hung in cat crates using carabiners by attacking them with large heavy key rings or even quality metal shower hooks. You can also attach the webbing to windowsills and other furnishings using whatever works and is a solid base for the hammock and can support your cats’ weight evenly.
DIY Tunnel Toy for Small Pets
Bunny, Cat, and Small Mammal Tunnel toys can be crafted or upcycled as well. To make a tunnel to play with using common dollar store items, you can create a play space or hideout using pop-up circular laundry hampers.
Pop-Up Laundry hamper/sorting bin
While the mesh pop-up circular hampers can work as play tunnels for small humans and cats, a pet bunny or a small mammal needs a solid one to prevent their delicate claws from getting caught. Plus, solid fabric non-mesh laundry hampers in polyester have a smooth soft surface and being so cheap, they are easily replaced. To keep a pet cool in the Summer, place a frozen bottle of water inside the tunnel and keep away from direct sunlight if using it outside in a small pet playpen. Just cut the bottom out without cutting the bottom seam and cut the bottom out and do not cut the toggles at the bottom either so you can use them to tie together through the toggles and tuck one end into the other if connecting two or more. Tucking the tunnel edges is also keeps small mammals and rabbits from gnawing on them. To store, simply compress and use a Velcro cable tie to hold compressed for storing away.
DIY Dog & Cat Toys
A T-shirt Tennis Ball Comet Toy, a braided tug of war toy, or cat teaser toy are all simple to make and use “yarn” made by recycling T-shirts. Cut T-shirts into varied strips from hem to collar to create long colorful strips and place in a lingerie bag or in the washer to allow to curl up into yarn you can use for various crafts. For dogs that enjoy and tearing up fabrics too much, this may not be a great idea to play with unattended, but most dogs love these for tug of war.
The comet tennis ball toy just requires a tennis ball and recycled strips cut from T-shirts. Cut open the tennis ball and make a “comet tail” of various T-shirt strips and then tie the strips into a knot that is big enough to fill the tennis ball. Use hot glue on the inside of the seam to seal the tail in and play fetch using the tail to throw the tennis ball or provide a new twist on an old tennis ball.
You can also make braided toys using various long strips and create a big soft chew toy or a more delicate cat teaser by simply taking t-shirt strips and creating braids, weaving them like a friendship bracelet, or whatever your ambition and skill level at braiding allows. Tie strips together to make longer strips or create long strips by cutting rings across a flat folded T-shirt and then cutting them along one seam. A dozen 3 feet long strands, once braided, make a great chew boy for a big dog. Use shorter ones for smaller dogs and cats.
Gift Suggestions for Pets
A Ball Pit is a fun special holiday gift that also allows you to get some adorable pet pictures for your social media! Take a firm-walled or inflatable kiddie pool or a container deep enough to give your dog or chill cat room to romp and buy plastic balls used in kiddie ball pits from a wholesaler or online retailer named after a Greek mythological female society and buy enough balls to create a pet-scale ball pit and throw their favorite toys and treats in and let your pet have more than just a ball, but fun playing with lots of them!