My Beautiful Wickedness

Need advice from pet owners or people who like dogs, cats, birds, etc
December 3, 2008, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My kid’s birthday party is coming up and being the hippie tree-hugging family that we are, we want to have the kids attending make pet toys to donate to the local animal shelter. Our own cat was a shelter kitty (and we got her four years ago this month) and we noticed when we were there that while the animals were lovingly and competently attended to by the staff, there were few things to play with. Our shelter’s donation page specifically asks for dog and cat toys, so we thought this was a way that we could help the staff and do something kind and useful (Kid’s at the age where she is eager to serve the community and take some of the focus off herself…she’s also a huge animal lover, so when she asked if we could do this, it just sort of clicked that it was the perfect thing to do.)

I’m pretty solid about stuff that cats like that can be made easily from recycled materials, though if you’ve got favorites, I’d love to hear about them. (My own belief that cats are perfectly satisfied with a wadded up piece of junk mail is probably accurate, but I need something a little more involved to put out there as a kid craft, I guess.) What kind of toys do dogs like? I was a dog owner so long ago (and not a very responsible dog owner at that) that I’m looking for guidance. We’re looking to make things for both smaller pets and bigger ones. Remember that it has to be something that a 10-year-old can make with minimal assistance. Has anyone tried making homemade doggie or cat treats and will your pet actually eat them?

Finally, she has some friends who live in apartments and have neither cats nor dogs. We’re thinking about making a simple bird-feeding ornament for all the kids to take home so that they can have the pleasure of watching the birds come eat off of it (something that would work for those that might have to hang it off the fire escape ladder of their condo and those who live in the suburbs). Do you have any favorites for this?

What — other than choking hazards — should we avoid? Has anyone ever tried the 2-liter soda bottle with holes in it filled with dog/cat treats (the idea being that they have to toss it around to get the treats out)? To me, this sounds like a dog-choker and I want to know that this is something that dog owners actually use with success before I try it.


6 Comments so far
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I’d be nervous about the 2-liter bottle with holes in it. Wouldn’t the edges of the cut holes be sharp and the dogs will be putting their mouths and noses in those holes to try to get at the treat, so it seems like a great way for them to get cut or scraped.

But some homemade dog biscuits sound like a great idea. My dog, at least, will eat anything, so probably taste is not too much of an issue.

I have vague Girl-scout memories of patting bird seed onto balls covered in peanut butter, which seemed like fun (though I bet it was messy. I can’t remember).

Comment by Aunt B.

Yes, that was also a concern. A number of websites tout this as a great dog toy, but it just sounds like something any of my dogs would have torn up and then hurt themselves on.

Comment by bridgett

A friend of mine has a recipe for dog biscuits that has been repeatedly and successfully dog-tested. I’ll get it and e-mail it to you.

For simple dog toys you can’t go wrong with a short thick piece of rope with solid knots on the ends – chewing, tug-of-war, throwing around, fetching… hours of canine fun.

Comment by Gerald


Aunt B.’s idea sounds like a good one (although I don’t agree with feeding birds or other wildlife–it just encourages some of them to hang around when they should migrate). I would put the peanut butter in the micrwave for a minute or so, to make it “looser”, mix in a little corn syrup to stiffen it when it cools and then use a melon baller or even a tomato paste can (about two inches ID) to shape balls or logs. Then put them back in the nuker for about thirty seconds to soften them and simply roll them around in a shoebox filled with a mixture of birdseed.

As for the dog toy snack. I’m thinking of something truly organic. A nice, rock hard, frozen skwerl. All of the ones that used to live in my house have “relocated” to a new astral plane, but I see lots of them, in various degrees of “processing” as I drive around. Let me know if you’d like some and I’ll be happy to gather them up. I did see a deer in the swale between the E & W bound lanes of NY 481 between Phoenix and Liverpool the other day, but I think UPS has a 75 weight limit.

Comment by democommie

I like the pinecone-peanut butter-birdseed craft and it’s a good way to recycle pinecones if you happen to have some laying around.

My cats adore flannel triangles stuffed with catnip (they actually prefer the triangles to catnip mice).

Dogs? Not a clue, but I like democommie’s squirrel idea and would gladly donate mine to the cause.

I have successfully made horse treats, but I suppose the shelter doesn’t need those.

Comment by listie

Thank you all for your ideas. I don’t have a microwave, but I think I can probably do all the stuff you mentioned with a pan and a stove.

I DO have dozens of flattened skwerls –and a few flat possums, you’d be amazed what lives in a city — enouch meat frisbees for every dog, but I think the shelter might frown on this. Plus, there is the downside of getting the 10-year-old girls on board.

Comment by bridgett

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