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DIY Christmas gifts

DIY Christmas gifts for your dog

Christmas can be an unsettling time for dogs, especially as they get older. Make the festive season special for your pooch with these safe and easy-to-make presents.

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Dogs are creatures of habit. They know when food will appear, when a walk is likely to take place, and when it’s time for a nap. So the busy, changeable festive season can come as a shock. Mouthwatering smells, bright lights, lots of noise and a constant procession of visitors can leave dogs feeling unsettled, particularly older dogs who crave a quieter life.

To lessen the stress, try to stick to regular feeding routines and short, relaxing walks, and avoid moving furniture unless you absolutely have to – particularly if your dog’s sight is poor. Make Christmas extra-special for your pet, too, with these simple stocking fillers – nothing says ‘I love you’ like a thoughtful handmade gift!

1

A tennis ball of treats

Encourage your older dog to get up and move around with this simple toy. As most dogs love a bouncing ball (especially one filled with tasty treats) this is a great way to help your pooch get some gentle exercise. Carefully slit halfway around a new tennis ball with a craft knife, using the rubber seam as a guide, then tuck a handful of crunchy biscuits or kibble inside. Your dog will enjoy nosing the ball around as he tries to release the treats.


2

Plaited leather chew toy

This soft leather chew toy is perfect for older dogs with sensitive teeth or tender gums.

  • Gather a selection of soft, pliable leather offcuts – you could create these by chopping up an old leather jacket, or you can buy them online or in craft shops.
  • Cut the leather into three rectangles – each piece should measure approximately 6cm wide and 35-40cm long.
  • About 10cm in from one end, knot the three pieces together. Plait the pieces of leather (firmly but not too tightly), until you have about 15cm to go, then tie another firm knot. Your dog will find this simple toy fun to play with and soft and easy to chew.

3

Dried sweet potato treat

Your dog will love sucking or chewing on these healthy treats that are easy on teeth.

  • Preheat your oven to its lowest setting, and slice two sweet potatoes lengthwise into chunky slices around 1.5cm thick.
  • Lightly grease a baking tray with vegetable oil and arrange the sweet potato slices on the tray.
  • Pop the tray into the oven and leave for around 6-7 hours – check them every few hours, and turn them over halfway through.
  • Turn the heat off and leave them to cool overnight. If the end result is too chewy for your dog, try again and reduce the cooking time for a softer texture.
  • Give them to your pet as individual treats, or string them together with unbleached twine.

Safety first – always supervise your pooch when he is playing with any toy, in case parts come loose or break.

For more information about looking after your dog at Christmas, watch our festive video featuring doggy Rusty, as he navigates the hazards of the household at Christmas.