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Fun and simple DIY gift ideas and activities for your pets

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If you are like most devoted dog owners, your dog (or cat, or both!) will be lucky enough to find some special gifts under the Christmas tree later this month.

If you are on a budget, or simply want to enjoy some crafty, do-it-yourself projects, there are several to choose from.

ASPCA behavior expert Dr. Katherine Miller has offered up the following fun ideas for pet owners who want to venture away from the retail "norm," and/or provide their pets with some mental stimulation during the chilly winter months.

  • To make a tasty chew toy, soak a rope toy in chicken broth and then freeze. Once frozen, give the toy to your dog outside.
  • Rinse out an empty, cardboard milk carton and fill it with dry pet food for a food-dispensing puzzle toy.
  • Whole frozen carrots and bananas can be used as chew toys and puppy teething toys.
  • Place dry dog food or treats inside a cardboard egg carton, poke holes and seal with nontoxic glue for a shreddable feeding puzzle
  • For a shreddable feeding toy for both dogs and cats, place dry food or treats inside a cardboard paper towel or toilet tissue roll and fold ends over.
  • Playing bird calls on the internet can peak auditory interest in dogs and cats.
  • For dogs, make frozen cubes out of chicken broth with kibbles frozen in the ice. These make better outside treats since the ice cubes will melt quickly.

Share you life with a friendly feline? Dr. Miller has a few ideas for cats as well:

  • For cats, fill half of a plastic Easter egg with wet cat food as a food puzzle.
  • For cats, Roll aluminum foil tightly into a ball with catnip inside for a battable cat toy.
  • Ask your local carpet store for small carpet scraps to make a cat scratcher. Use a staple gun to cover lumber scraps with the carpet pieces.

Have a pup who is stressed by the extra hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Try spraying some lavender oil on a bandana and tying it around your dog's neck. Evidence suggests that lavender oil has a calming effect on dogs.

Dr. Miller's easy DIY projects can help ease the stress for pets in busy households; she stated:

“Craft some simple, pet-pleasing toys and treats from stuff you already have around your house. They’re a great way to keep your pet pals safely occupied when your attention is centered on the holiday festivities.”

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I am human, if you see a typo, please let me know. Questions, comments or story ideas can be emailed to



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