As every dog parent will tell you, having a cute and energetic doggie in your life – or even a lazy one that just wants to eat and snuggle all the time – is a true joy, but a serious obligation as well. You have to care for the little rascal, take him for walks, feed him, get doggie snacks and constantly replace chewed up dog toys, not to mention things like pillows and cables that puppies happily chew up while they are teething and know no better. A 2011 survey found that the average family spent more money per year on their dog/dogs than they did on alcohol, phone bills or men’s clothing. When you factor in things like proper nutrition and hygiene, not to mention medical bills, it’s easy to see why the bills stack up quickly. The following DYI project are a cheaper and more fun alternative.
1. Plastic bottle chew toy
To start off, here is a simple chew toy that your dog will love – take the cap and ring off a big plastic soda bottle, put it in an old sock and tie off the end. It is light, cheap, easy to replace and makes crunching noises when a dog bites into it.
2. Paracord braided chew toy
For those people whose dogs go through chew toys quickly, paracord may be the best solution. It is resilient, fairly cheap and can be braided into tough chew toys which can be easily replaced.
3. Dog crate furniture
Since buying a combination furniture and dog crate can end up costing you several hundred dollars, it’s better to invest some time and sweat to make your own unique creation for a fraction of the price. Here is a great dog crate end table combo design that you can make for about $50.
4. Old suitcase dog bed
One of the most overpriced pieces of furniture you can buy are fancy dog beds. I mean, really, I’ve found my dog sleeping on the floor next to his bed on several occasions, it’s not like they will know the difference between a $15 and $35 bed. For a fashionable, yet inexpensive dog bed you can get an old used suitcase, some furniture legs and a comfy pillow.
5. Soft and warm doggy bed
Those with even the most basic sewing skills can make an even simpler doggy bed using an old hoodie, a pillow, pieces of cloth and some needle and thread. It won’t take much to complete, most people already have the needed materials lying around and the end result looks really great.
6. Baked treats
Not only will you save money, but you will also know exactly what goes into the recipe and can make sure that your dog is getting the proper nutrients. With these few simple recipes you can bake a large number of dog cookies and similar treats.
7. Crochet animal toys
Dogs love to have something to chase and play with, say a little animal friend, and you can create tons of fun and easily replaceable crochet animals. They can be designed any way you want and incredibly cheap to make.
8. Boiled chicken breast, vegetable broth and boiled rice for an upset stomach
If your dog has a problematic stomach or is vomiting his food you should fast him, i.e. give him no food and only a bit of water for the next 12-24 hours. Then you can give them some nice chicken or vegetable broth that you can make yourself, combined with some boiled rice in a few small servings during the day for the next few days until he starts feeling better.
9. Yogurt for dogs with diarrhea
Sometimes our little buddies will get some serious tummy problems, and it’s mostly due to the fact that they will put almost anything in their mouth. For those times when your dog has diarrhea it is important to keep him hydrated and not to upset the stomach further, and yogurt will help soothe the inflammation and promote the growth of good bacteria.
10. Homemade dog shampoo
Let’s not beat around the bush here – dogs will take every opportunity to get dirty. While decent dog shampoos can end up costing you quite a bit in the long run, an easy to make DIY shampoo can last you a long time and cost you very little. It doesn’t take a chemist to mix a few ingredients together and pour it into a bottle, so anyone can do it.
11. Tasty bacon sticks
When you need a quick tasty snack and don’t want to spend a fortune on high-quality store-bought treats, you can make these delicious bacon sticks. You only need a little bit of each ingredient and you can make a bunch of very healthy and wholesome snacks that your pooch will enjoy.
12. Frozen treats for the hot summer
You can take all kinds of things from fruit to chicken broth and freeze them in a bowl of water to create a big frozen treat. Your dog has to spend some time licking away at the icy surface before he or she can melt enough of it away to get to the tasty treats inside. It can easily be a couple of hours of fun for your furry little friend and it will help him keep cool down and stay hydrated during the hotter months.
13. Fancy DIY dog bowl
A very simple, yet very original project is the chalkboard doggy bowl. You’ll need a simple ceramic bowl, some tape to put around the edge and a can of flat black chalkboard paint. Once the paint has dried you can take off the tape and then write little messages with chalk.
14. Dog eating station
If you have a bigger dog, chances are he or she is going to make a mess when eating as the bowl will get moved around as the dog enthusiastically chows down on the food. With a few simple items and a bit of elbow grease you can make a dog eating station that keeps the food and water bowl in place.
15. Light treat puzzle
Treat puzzles are a great way to keep your dog occupied for a while and to help him develop his cognitive skills. The problem is that store-bought puzzles can easily cost $30-$60. Luckily, you can make some very simple snack puzzles with muffin tins, tennis balls or some PVC pipes that will keep your doggie excited and occupied. You can even just put some treats in a small cardboard box, and put it inside a slightly larger one, then just let your dog tear through it to get to the goodies.
16. Doggy backpack
You often have to carry poo bags, snacks, some water and other items along on long walks or hikes, so why not have your dog carry his own stuff? If you know your way around a sewing machine you’ll be able to whip up a stylish backpack for your best friend using some basic dirt cheap materials.
17. Cheap and easy tug of war rope
There is no need to spend any money on ropes and similar toys that can be easily destroyed and are often somewhat overpriced for what they are. We all have tons of old t shirts lying around, and you can cut them into strips and use them to braid your own rope. You can play tug of war and let your dog chew on it as much as he wants, as you will have a good supply of extra material that allows you to easily make new ropes.
18. Sock ball for playing catch
Old socks can also make a very simple, but incredibly effective dog toy. You just put a sock inside of another and keep rolling and covering, then add another one and another one until you have a ball of sufficient size. You can play catch or just let your dog slowly go through the layers. It is inexpensive and recyclable, i.e. you can make it again after your dog untangles it.
19. Simple slingshot for playing fetch
Using simple items like a branch and some rubber tubing you can easily make a great large slingshot which you can use to propel small balls across large distances. This way your arms won’t get too tired when playing fetch and you’ll be able to throw the ball really far, giving your dog a good opportunity to exercise.
20. DIY dog tags
You can have lots of fun and come up with some interesting DIY dog tag designs in your spare time – this way your dog gets a great little dog tag, which can help you find him if he gets lost, and you get to spend some fun time crafting the perfect dog tag.
I hope you find some of these DIY projects useful and that you can save yourself a lot of money, while at the same time keeping your dog healthy and happy.