Up here in the frozen tundra we call Minnesota, we often need to find ways to amuse ourselves and our pets during the long winter months. We may bake treats, teach new tricks, or even try to teach our pets to talk with buttons. But after a while we need to change things up. If you enjoy DIY projects, why not try some DIY that would make both you and your pet happy!?

More and more pet parents these days are keeping their pets in mind when buying or renting homes. They pay attention to the flooring, the stairs, the places to put gates, pet doors, or cat trees, and the spaces for play, bathing, and grooming. (Check out the infographic below for more details!)

It’s wonderful that so many people are considering their pets’ comfort when choosing their homes. However, you can still customize their living spaces for their entertainment and peace of mind even more, or if you weren’t able to choose your housing with your pet in mind, here’s a chance to spice things up!

Cat Shelves

Cats love climbing and high spaces. Higher perches allow them to feel safe and secure in their surroundings. But there are some places in your home, like your kitchen countertops, that you’d prefer their little toe beans to stay off! Some cat owners put a hammock in a window for their cats but what about building them their own highway in the sky? From installing a singular wall perch for your cats to creating levels of shelves, walkways, and tunnels, building cat shelves will be a great way to enrich your kitty’s life and keep them off unwanted surfaces!

To build your shelves you’ll need a sturdy wooden board at least 1/2 inch thick, “L” brackets, and heavy duty wall anchors. Be sure that your shelf is long enough for your cat to comfortable rest without parts of their body hanging off. Hillspet.com has a great how to guide to get started with your cat shelves. You can easily customize your design to best suit you, your cat, and your home!

Most cats will gravitate to their new kingdom in the sky, but if they are unsure of change you can help encourage them to interact with their new world by placing treats or catnip on the shelf as enticement. Soon your cats will be climbing all the time!


Yep, a catio (a cat patio) is a thing! I should know, I have one and my cats adore it. I bet you can imagine the look on Beans’ face when I tell her “no, I’m sorry, you can’t go outside because it’s -10 degrees.” They absolutely love having the space to explore outside, and I love that they (and our local birds) are safe.

Catios can range from a box attached to your window that you cat can relax in to watch the birds, to an enclosure large enough to be considered an addition to your house! There are many different catio plans out there so depending on your home type, number of cats, and handiness with power tools, you can create an outdoor oasis for your kitties.

The first step is determining where and how large your catio will be.The Daily Paws suggests creating a structure that is at least 20 feet wide and 8 feet high if you have the space, giving your cat optimal room to roam (and a bench for you!), and provides ideas for flooring, roofing, and extra enrichment. Catio World has suggestions for structures of all sizes as well as step by step instructions for construction. For those of us who maybe aren’t quite as DIY as we thought, Catio Spaces has plans and catio kits available.

Dog House

Most of our pups love to spend time outside, sniffing the breeze, watching the neighbors, and just relaxing in the sun. Wouldn’t it be fun to create a space outdoors just for your pup? There are a ton of pre-made dog houses out there, but designing your own means you can customize your pup’s home to their preferences? Does your dog love to sit up high (maybe channeling Snoopy)? Add a deck on top of their house. Does your pet have a thick coat that gets hot in the summer months? Add a porch to the front for some shade.

The most important part of DIY’ing a dog house is ensuring the frame is sturdy so that your pup can safely relax inside or play around their new space. Home Depot has some great instructions for how to purchase supplies, measure, and build your pup’s new pad. They also have some tips on how to insulate and weather proof the house to make it safer for your pet to enjoy in all weather. Just be sure to always bring your pup inside in severe weather.

If you have some carpentry skills and want to plan your own dog house, go for it! Just remember to include a floor so your dog is up off the ground, and add some insulation to make it cozy as it gets colder. If you are new to building houses of any size, check out these plans from thespruce.com or k9ofmine.com.

Doggie Dooley

Ok, I’ll admit that this last one is not so much for your pup as it is for you. For those of you who don’t know what a “dooley” is, it can also be called a doggie septic system or a doggie waste digester. Disposing of your dog’s waste often means having a trash can in the backyard, throwing away many plastic bags per day, or paying for a pooper scooper service. Instead, why not try to compost your pup’s waste. Just don’t use it in your vegetable garden, stick to using it around trees or flower beds.

Creating your own doggie dooley can be as easy as buying a large plastic trash bin (bonus points if you have an old one lying around that you can repurpose), cutting the bottom out, digging a hole for it, lining the bottom of the hole with rocks and gravel, and putting it in! The Wildest has a clear step by step guide on how to do this.

You’ll likely need to add a “starter” to the bin to get the waste to begin breaking down, so you can use a septic starter from any home improvement store. However, if you’re concerned about any of the chemicals, here is a good option for a more natural starter.

There are so many other options out there, these are just the beginning! You can build your pet their own room, a throne, some costumes, or a castle. The sky is the limit, so get out there and DIY for your pet!


tan dog nose sniffing a cooling sheet with dog treats on it

All dog owners love to spoil their pups with some treats now and then, but dog treats can become costly over time and sometimes include ingredients that are less healthy for your pup. Treats can be a great way to add fun and nutritional value to your pet’s day. So why not consider making your own?!

Making homemade dog treats is not that difficult, and although it won’t save any time, it can save you some dollars. If you have larger dogs like Labrador retrievers or Australian Labradoodles in your home, you know how big their appetite can be and buying treats for them can be heavy on your pocket sometimes.

What Are the Benefits of Homemade Dog Treats?

It might take you a while to shift your mind from making and storing homemade treats for your dog instead of purchasing the commercially prepared store-bought ones. However, the biggest upside of making dog treats at home is being able to control what goes into them. There are many healthy ingredients you can sneak into them which your dog might not like otherwise.

Making your dog’s treats at home means there will be no preservatives or artificial flavoring in the treats, which is great news for your pet’s health, but does that mean they will stay fresh lying in your pantry or your kitchen counter for days or weeks? The answer is no.

So here are some great tips and tricks to help you make dog treats at home and keep them fresh for weeks. It might come as a shock, but you can store some of them for as long as a month or more. Let’s start with tips about the first step of making homemade treats, and that is measuring the ingredients.

Tips About Measuring Ingredients of Dog Treats

Measuring ingredients for making a dog treat seem no biggie, right? But it is important to measure things precisely by using the appropriate utensils.

Dry ingredients: Use spoons or dry measuring cups to measure dry ingredients like oats, flour, or cornstarch.

Liquid ingredients: Liquid ingredients like milk, broth, or water should be measured with a liquid measuring cup.

Extra tip: Try not to scoop out things; instead, it is better to pour both dry or liquid ingredients into the cup, and instead of pushing ingredients down, try to let the cup get filled naturally as it would give you more accurate measurements.

Semi liquid ingredients: What about the ingredients that are neither liquid nor solid, like nuts, yogurt, sauces, or semi-solid ingredients like coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, or molasses? We suggest you spray your cups with some olive oil before filling them with ingredients as it will stick less that way and make it easier to work with; otherwise, you will lose a lot of your measured ingredient. It’s important to note that although coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees F, it is easiest to work with as a liquid when baking. Don’t worry, one cup of solid coconut oil will yield the same volume of liquid oil.

Leafy ingredients: Always measure chopped-up spinach, herbs, parsley, or any other fresh greens using a dry cup and gently pack them into it.

Meat or carbo chips: For meat or carbo chips, use dry cups and pack them into the cups but make sure not to push them hard.

Tips And Techniques for Recipes

Now that you know how to measure the ingredients, what about actually making those delicious recipes? Let’s list here some of the utensils and tools that you would need.


  • Silicone baking mats: These are the must-haves when you start baking your dog treats as they won’t allow things to get burned, and they are super easy to clean. You can also use them to roll sticky doughs that are hard to roll otherwise.
  • Freezer and oven-safe silicone molds: These work wonderfully for several dog treats. The trick is to lightly spritz them with oil before pouring anything into them, and they’re easy to wash with soap and water.
  • Oblong measuring spoons: They fit in easily inside bottles or spice jars, preventing oil spillage. All in all, it is easier to work with squared-off or oblong spoons than rounded ones.
  • Cookie cutters: It is good to have cookie cutters in several shapes and sizes in your pantry so that you can make each type of treat in a useful size or shape (and they are fun to work with!). Extra tip: you can cut different shapes, store them in the refrigerator, and use different frostings and toppings later when you are about to cook them.


Apart from the utensils you’ll need, here are a few more cooking tricks that may help you while making dog treats.

  • Use egg wash on the treats to make them look shiny and appealing. It works equally well for both sweet and savory treats.
  • Frosted and iced treats are hard to store, so decorate them at the time of use, or they will go bad faster.
  • It’s a good idea to score treats with a knife before baking as it makes it easier to break them, especially for senior dogs and small puppies.

Tips About Storing Dog Treats

If you follow these four tips, your dog treats will stay fresher for longer!

  1. Completely cool down all the treats before storing them.
  2. Be mindful of the ingredients as treats made with vegetables and gluten-free flour can be stored in a towel by wrapping them loosely, but after that, store them in the fridge, and they will stay fresh for eight to ten days.
  3. Treats with fish, meat, bouillon, or butter should be refrigerated to keep them fresh for five to seven days.
  4. Always store other types of treats in air tight jars.
  5. Extra tip: Using vitamin C and vitamin E in the recipes is a good idea, too, as they act as natural preservatives.

A Fool-Proof Dog Treat Recipe

This recipe is sure to become your dog’s favorite. The best thing about this recipe is that you can sneak in some additional nutritious items in it, as it is a very versatile and accommodating recipe. Moreover, it just takes a few minutes. Here are the ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and keep the dough a little sticky. Roll it out using a rolling pin, and using a cookie cutter, cut out the shapes you like. Place them on a silicon mat and bake them for anywhere between 20 to 35 minutes depending on your oven. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they will be. Cool them down and store them in a refrigerator or freeze them for up to six months.

On the other hand, if your dog is a fan of more savory treats, then this cheddar and bacon treat recipe is perfect.

We hope this article helped you and motivated you to make your dog treats at home!

Guest Author: Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.