4 heartfelt, homemade gifts your pet will pant over


We do love our pets and there certainly are days when they feel like the only ones who should receive a special gift. But do you really need expensive pet beds, $14-a-pound treats or $30 "indestructible" chew toys that aren't really?

»RELATED: Best gifts for the animal lover

Instead, you can spend an hour or so making your dog or cat a present he'll enjoy at a price that will make you smile: less than $10 each. These four homemade presents may never make the aisles of PetSmart,  but your dog or cat will think they're gorgeous.

"Indestructible" dog toy from hemp and sweet potatoes: Even this chewy will get chewed up eventually, but it is tough, cheap and if your dog eats it it's okay (and actually fairly nutritious.)

What you'll need: 

  • Sweet potatoes or yams (2 for a medium-sized dog toy) $2
  • Hemp or jute rope: Part of a larger spool: $1
  • Sheet pan, parchment or foil, sharp knife, round cookie cutter, vegetable peeler

Total cost: $3 or less

General idea: Cut thick slices of sweet potato, punch a whole in the middle for threading and bake around 3 hours. Let cool fully before threading onto strong, durable hemp or jute for a ready-made chew toy.

More detailed directions are available at Instructables.com.

Pet bed from an old sweater: This is a wonderful way to use up some old clothes (perhaps an Ugly Christmas Sweater?) and worn pillows while thrilling Fido or Cuddles. Consider buying a well-worn plaid shirt from the thrift store or choosing holiday patterns to make this a gift that can go under the tree for the season.

You'll need:

  • An old sweater or sweatshirt: Free or $3 from a thrift store
  • Polyester or cotton stuffing: Around $4 from Walmart
  • An old pillow
  • Scissors, sewing pins, needle and thread

Total cost: $7 or less

The basic idea: Pin the front and back of the inside-out sweater along the neckline and sew the neck opening closed. Lay the sweater out and spread the arms to the side, then sew across the sweater from one underarm to the other. Stuff the sleeves with the polyester or cotton, tuck the ends into each other and sew them together so it looks like the sweater is hugging someone. Slide the pillow into the main body of the sweater from the bottom and sew the bottom shut. Flip the bed over, pin the circular arms to the base of the pillow and sew them together along the edge. 

More explicit directions can be found on the DIYS.com website.

Peanut butter dog biscuits: These are super tasty, cute and cost a fraction of boutique dog treats for the holidays. Plus, they're a great chance to finally use those Christmas cookie cutters. (If you want to make even less effort, Fido won't care if you make the alternative cookies, which are just balls of dough pressed flat with a fork before baking.)

Adapted from Dog Treat Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour: about $1
  • 1 cup rolled oats: about 50 cents
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth: about 50 cents
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water

Total cost: about $2 per batch

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the dry ingredients together, mix in the peanut butter and hot water, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead the dough well and roll out to 1/4-inch thick before cutting into shapes. Brush with an egg whisked with a fork. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and cool overnight. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for three weeks or freezer up to six months.

Home window view bird feeder. Give your cat the gift of watching birds up close for the cost of an empty milk carton, some duct tape and sunflower seeds. Just make sure to follow Humane Society tips on placing the feeders to draw the birds you want.

What you'll need: 

  • Empty half-gallon milk carton
  • Command hook: About $1
  • String, duct tape to decorate and bird seed: About $1

Total cost: $2 or less

The basic idea: Cut a large rectangle from two sides of an empty milk carton and decorate it with different colors or patterns of duct tape. Hang it right next to a window with a good viewing spot for your cat using a command hook and twine, and fill it with bird seed.

More detailed instructions can be found at Teach Beside Me.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Atlanta Concert Tickets on sale this week: Hanson, Vince Gill, Lauryn Hill
Atlanta Concert Tickets on sale this week: Hanson, Vince Gill, Lauryn Hill

Hanson will celebrate an anniversary at Atlanta Symphony Hall. BY LEA HOLLAND/AJC Editorial Assistant If you find a mistake in Hot Tickets, please let us know. Contact Lea Holland at lea.holland@ajc.com. Events are subject to change, so it’s a good idea to call the venue before driving a long distance. Follow us on  ...
Atlanta Concerts this week: Little Big Town, Pink
Atlanta Concerts this week: Little Big Town, Pink

Little Big Town will bring their big show to Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene FRIDAY Bon Jovi Slightly more than a year after packing the same venue, the durable soon-to-be-Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Famers return with their arsenal of melodic pop-rock anthems. Although the band re-released...
Earth Day: 16 things to do in Atlanta this weekend  
Earth Day: 16 things to do in Atlanta this weekend  

Sunny days, festivals and friends − that's what you'll find all weekend long throughout Atlanta.  Just as the Big Shanty Festival hits Cobb, Lemonade Days takes over DeKalb, and Gwinnett and North Fulton aren't far behind with Art on the Chattahoochee, Sandy Springs Artsapalooza and more. Along with live music, shopping and food, you'll...
Prince’s doctor fined for drug violations in singer’s death
Prince’s doctor fined for drug violations in singer’s death

A message to Prince on the Riley Creek underpass in front of Paisley Park. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene Minnesota doctor Dr. Michael T. Schulenberg has been fined $30,000 for violating the Controlled Substances Act for knowingly prescribing painkillers for Prince’s drummer, which he knew were for...
What would Prince want? Two years later, his estate is a mess and his legacy unclear
What would Prince want? Two years later, his estate is a mess and his legacy unclear

CHANHASSEN, Minnesota — Near Influence Hallway, past Paisley Park's platinum album-lined entry, our tour group is led to Prince's inner sanctum, a two-story atrium painted sky blue with clouds — his take on heaven. A trio of doves flutter in an ornate cage. They don't cry. They coo. The late artist's residence and recording complex sprawls...
More Stories