Remember Pets with Handmade Holiday Gifts

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It was cold last night, yet I was warm while I slept because my dog Jake curled up right next to me.  Today, the dogs will greet my every return to the house (even if I just went out to the mail), eagerly taste test my food to insure it's safety, and coat the carpet in a decorative layer of additional fur. 

Other peoples' cats will prowl their houses looking for stray dust motes and mice to chase.  Hamsters will spin on their wheels and squeak an alarm when the refrigerator door opens.  Parrots will mimic.  Fish will calm with their steady back and forth motion.

The holidays season is upon us (happy Hannukah) but there is still time to make a present that these constant companions will appreciate nearly as much as our attention.  And, afterall, after a year's worth of devotion to us -or in the case of many cats, their tolerance- isn't it right?

With the sudden cold snap that has hit much of North America this past week, we've been reminded that in winter time many dogs will benefit from a warming hand knit dog sweater.  At Love To Know, they point to several great knitting and crochet patterns to whip up and also discuss getting your canine and its sweater to co-exist.  And -importantly- all the steps to take to measure your dog to get a custom fit:

In order to get a perfect fit for your dog, you’ll need to measure him by following these instructions:

  • Measure from the neck to base of tail.
  • Measure the circumference of the dog’s neck just above the shoulders.
  • To determine the length of the gusset, measure the underside of the dog from the neck circumference to the bottom of the rib cage, or wherever you want the coverage to stop.
  • For larger or smaller dogs, you can adjust the patterns of the stitches accordingly. For example, for a large dog, a pattern that calls for squares may mean that you need to increase the size of each square.

After you've checked out the information at Love to Know, head over to Dog Gone Knit for their quick and simple instructions for a One Piece Dog Sweater Pattern. 

Ruthie Bently writing at Responsible Pet Ownership is familiar with a challenge many of us dog owners have: finding a toy that our beloved will not utterly destroy in mere minute.  She's given up on lots of store bought toys, and decided that her sewing and braiding skills are adequate for making many a homemade dog toy. 

I have also made dog tugs out of old cotton jeans. I use clean jeans and rip out all the seams, which leaves me with four pieces of fabric. Depending on how thick I want the tug to be, I use either one or two pieces of fabric. I begin tying knots up the pant leg and depending on the length of the leg can get three or four knots tied in the length. You can use cotton towels to make tugs too, but I have found that they tend to get shredded faster than the denim tugs. The benefit of the cotton towels is that Skye has her own built-in dental floss. Cotton fibers are safer for dogs, but never leave your dog alone with these toys; they should only play with them under supervision.

On the other hand, your cat may not appreciate any clothing or even toys; but, you've got to love this IKEA Hack Cat Gym from parts of the stolmen storage system.  Or perhaps the Stairway to Cat Heaven appeals to you more.  Don't own a cat?  Check out all the pet furniture hacks.  There are options for cats, dogs, bunnies, chickens and pet rodents!

At Paw Nation, Rose Martelli described how to make your own cat tree from scratch.  Starting with a plan or blueprint, using plywood scraps for the base and platforms, and 2x4 scrap lumber or pvc piping for the posts, you can wrap the platforms in scraps of carpeting and the posts in carpeting, twine, rope or fake fur.  How indulgent can your design get?

Martha Stewart has templates for making Pet ID tags from Shrinky Dinks.  I think every pet owner you know (except for maybe the fish owners) would like a custom ID tag.  If you're more into recycled crafts, Dabbled did a whole series of experiments on recycled plastic shrinky dink charms that would fit the bill quite nicely.

Is a parrot or bird your beloved?  Yataebo has created several videos on home made bird toys- including hanging nets, and pipe gyms:

I'm sure a little time reading up on macrame and you could knot one of those nets up in an evening.

Debra A Stitch In Time Weight for Deb

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