It’s the Age of Pinterest, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Creative dog parents have been getting crafty with their pup’s treats, toys, grooming supplies, and accessories for as long as there’s been peanut butter, nylon, and hot glue guns, but increased appreciation for DIYs has meant even more awesome ideas for homemade things your pooch will love. And seriously, who better to create the very best for a dog than mom and dad?
We reached out to our favorite local pet DIY expert Alicia Boemi, creator of The DIY Dog Mom, and asked her to share her very best projects for dog-lovers. Her ideas are fun, budget-friendly, and so simple that even those of us who’ve never baked a homemade, bone shaped dog treat can pull them off.
Dogs—especially urban dogs— can experience all sorts of unpleasantries in and on their paws. Trekking over sidewalks, dirt, grass, mud, and ice means lots of germs on paw pads and in between toes. Boemi wanted to scrub and exfoliate her pups’ paws without giving them a full-on bath, so she did what any crafty gal would do—she whipped up her own cleansing scrub.
Each ingredient serves an important purpose: The two sugars have moisturizing properties, while honey is high in potassium and wipes away bacteria. Olive oil smooths and replenishes. If you use the essential oils, lavender soothes the skin and lemon eliminates bacteria.
1/2 cup of organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons organic olive oil
1 teaspoon organic raw honey
Optional: 1 drop each of high quality lavender and lemon essential oils.
Mix together all ingredients in a bowl and stir until oil and honey are evenly absorbed. Feel free to add a bit more oil if needed, but be weary of adding too much and ending up with an oily mess.
Gently massage the scrub onto paw pads with your fingers or with a moist, warm towel. Rinse off with warm water and dry completely with a towel. Unused scrub should be kept in the refrigerator.
Note: Do not use paw scrub if your dog has any cuts on her paws.
Many commercial flea and tick sprays are packed with harmful chemicals that can cause adverse reactions and skin problems. This flea and tick spray contains all natural ingredients and protects dogs from nasty pests. Rosemary naturally deters bugs. Lemon, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint are tart and acidic, which bugs hate. Lavender prevents infestations and is good for skin. Between this spray and heartworm preventative, Boemi says her dogs are safe from bugs all year round.
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar
1 pint of water for boiling
1/2 cup of water
1 empty spray bottle
Optional: 1-3 drops each of high quality lavender and peppermint oil. Amount depends on the size of your dog: 1 drop for small dogs, 2 for medium, 3 for large dogs.
1. Bring the pint of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rosemary sprigs and lemon juice. Continue to boil together for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine equal parts rosemary/lemon water, apple cider vinegar, and water together in the spray bottle and shake it up. Add optional drops of oil if desired. Depending on the size of your spray bottle, you may need a little more or less of each liquid part. Keep in the refrigerator for added freshness.
Spray generously all over your dog before going outside, avoiding his eyes. Reapply if he gets wet.
Poop is a big part of being a dog parent. As a result, easy-access to poop bags is essential. “It’s been driving me nuts to see poop bag rolls all over our house, in drawers, or left by the door,” says Boemi. “And, of course you can never find a roll when you need one, or forget them when you’ve gone on a walk.”
Enter the hanging poop bag holder! You can easily leave it on your doorknob, coat hook, or dog leash rack so you always have a poop bag on deck when you’re heading out the door.
1 empty plastic container (12oz or more)
Sandpaper or nail file
Paint of your choice (any craft paint will do—Boemi used gold glitter craft paint—just make sure it’s non-toxic)
18-20 inch ribbon of your choice Kitchen scissors
1. Peel or strip off any labels from the container you chose. Boemi used an empty 12oz container that held one of her dog’s powdered medicines.
2. Take your empty container and carefully make four cuts with your scissors down to the brim, past the neck or any ridges. Make sure you cut to the same place at the brim.
3. Cut in a circle around the brim to open up the container.
4. Sand any rough edges with sandpaper. A nail file works just fine, too.
5. Poke a hole on each side of the container, about an inch down from the top.
6. Paint the container with your choice of paint color and let dry.
7. String your ribbon on each side from the outside in and tie a knot on the inside of the container. Cut any excess ribbon from your knot.
8. Insert poop bag rolls and hang in a desired location.
Dog or human, everyone loves a cool treat on a hot day. These healthy pupsicles are a perfect choice—good for the tummy and with a chewy surprise inside.
1 medium sized sweet potato
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 banana, mashed 6-inch bully sticks or duck feet (1 per popsicle) [Boemi used these]
Organic coconut oil cooking spray
Optional: 1/4 cup of organic coconut oil (great for your dog’s coat!)
1. Poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork, wrap in a paper towel, and heat in the microwave until cooked—about five to eight minutes. Let cool and remove skin.
2. Mash the sweet potato in a mixing bowl. Add Greek yogurt and banana, and coconut oil too, if you choose. Mix until there are no lumps.
3. Spray the cupcake tray with organic coconut oil cooking spray. With a spoon or ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into each of the cupcake holders. Think of your dog’s size when filling each cup. Stand the bully sticks or duck feet up in the middle of the mixture in each cupcake holder.
4. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours, then give one to your pup and watch her enjoy! You may want to serve these tasty treats outside or on a towel, as they can get a little messy as they melt.
Alicia Boemi lives in Chicago with her husband and their three rescue dogs. She has worked in the animal welfare and non-profit sector for more than 10 years, the majority of the time related to dog rescuing, fundraising, events, and program development. She founded The DIY Dog Mom after co-founding an event planning company and missing the world of dogs. Alicia loves writing about and sharing natural, holistic, and organic approaches to caring for dogs. Visit DIYDogMom.com to see more great ideas for you and your pooch!