How To Select The Right Treats For Your Pup

How To Select The Right Treats For Your Pup

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimated that pet food and treat sales in America increased by 9.7% in 2020. Treats are handy to have as a dog owner since they are an excellent way to show your puppy love and reward it for good behavior. Nevertheless, what you feed your dog is vital, so it is best to put great thought and effort into selecting the best treats for your furry friend. If you wish to learn more about choosing suitable treats for your dogs, consider the points below.

     1. Avoid treats with artificial ingredients

Dog treats are typically designed to catch pet owners’ eyes, so you will undoubtedly come across treats with bright colors and fascinating packaging when searching for snacks for your dogs. Although puppies don’t care what their treats look like, it is your duty as a pet owner to check the nutrient analysis and ingredient list before purchasing any snacks. Treats that come in unnatural colors are likely packing a lot of salt, fat, dyes, and artificial preservatives that make them less healthy diet options. Instead, opt for simple treats with fewer ingredients like those on this web page to ensure that your dog doesn’t consume anything unhealthy.

     2. Make treats yourself

Making your puppy’s treats yourself is worth considering to ensure that you know the exact ingredients your dog is consuming. Fortunately, you can keep many treats in your refrigerator for up to one week, so baking once weekly is enough to cover your pup’s snack needs. You can make DIY dog biscuits, dog donuts, and frozen treats as well. However, remember to avoid using chocolate, onion, garlic seasonings, raisins, corn, salt, macadamia nuts, and other ingredients to which dogs typically don’t react well. Therefore, it would be best to check online to see if a particular element is safe for your dog to consume when making treats to keep it in optimum health and wellness.

     3. Consider treats with specific health benefits

Your puppy can have its cake and eat it too if you feed it treats with health benefits. Fortunately, many treats have numerous health benefits besides being tasty snacks. As such, there is no shortage of options to select from, regardless of your pup’s unique needs. You can find dog treats for food allergies, anxiety, dental disease, and obesity. In addition, you can purchase treats specifically designed for dogs with joints and hip pain, and sensitive stomachs. 

     4. Watch out for calories 

watch-out-for-calories

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems for dogs in America, with data indicating that 55.8% of dogs are overweight or obese. Like humans, obesity in canines can contribute to many health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Overindulgence is perhaps the most significant cause of obesity in many dogs since many owners do not track the number and calorie content of treats they feed their pups. Consequently, feed your dog low-calorie treats only, or break down bigger treats into small pieces that can last throughout the day. Also, consider cutting back on treats if your dog is obese until it reaches a healthy weight.

How to Make a DIY Cat Tree From a Real Tree!

How to Make a DIY Cat Tree From a Real Tree!

This post shares my DIY cat tree using a real tree! Learn how to make a cat tree from a natural branch…yes, that I drug out from the woods.

 

How to Make a Cat Tree From a Real Tree and My Stunning DIY Cat Tree!

I have wanted to make a cat tree with real branches for a long time. It’s one of those projects that’s been bubbling up on my dream project wish list for a while. I am ecstatic with the finished tree!

diy cat tree using a real tree

One day while we were at my parents’ house, my dad and I went out into the woods behind their house and emerged with two branches. This is the cat tree before photo:

How to Strip and Finish Branches for Decor

I had a big vision for these branches! But first I had to let them dry out indoors, so while I was doing that, I started browsing some inspiration for realistic-looking cat trees.

Some of my favorites are at Pet Tree Houses. They do some really stunning work. Here are some of my favorites. Definitely check them out if you’re in the market for a cat tree but don’t have the time to put in to doing one from scratch! (Image removed)

Since I’m not a professional woodworker and many of these trees were made by professionals, I tempered my expectations and decided to take bits and pieces from each design to incorporate in to something that I could realistically make.

I sketched out a super advanced design with a pencil and paper. Sit back and enjoy my skills:

plans for the cat tree

So I actually didn’t end up being too far off from what I wanted. So with these fool-proof plans ready to go, I started gathering supplies.

SUPPLY LIST:

Branches & support pieces:

  • A big branch and a small branch. My small one is about 3′ tall, and my big one is about 5.5′ tall
  • A paint scraper—like this one here
  • Minwax Stain in Natural and Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane in Satin
  • Small hand-held saw
  • Sisal for scratching post portions
  • Faux vines—mine are old from Jo-Ann (Note: don’t use faux plants if your cats like to eat them. My cats don’t touch them, but would eat and throw up real plants.)
  • 2″ x 48″ dowel, cut in two pieces for the scratchers (here)
  • 2.5″ wood screws

Base & platforms:

  • One piece of 3/4″ plywood cut to 2′ wide by 3′ long
  • 2 pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 8′ pine for the base’s ledge
  • Rust-Oleum Wood Stain in Kona and Minwax Polyurethane inSemi-Gloss
  • Decorative rocks—browse them on Amazon here
  • Stepping stones from Lowe’s—here
  • Pine scrap pieces in various sizes for the platforms
  • Brown faux fur fabric—reused

Miscellaneous tools & supplies:

  • Miter saw
  • Drill—I have this one
  • Assorted sandpaper—I used 100 and 150 grit
  • Hand-held staple gun
  • Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive—it’s cheap and wonderful
  • Various sized nails and screws

And here are the DIY cat tree plans!

(Remember to wear a mask and eye protection while sanding and working with wood, and wear an appropriate mask while working with paints, stains, and finishes. Follow the directions and warnings from your particular brand. Do not use any tools without proper training, precautions, and supervision from a professional. Read my full terms of use here.)

Make a cat tree using real branches.

Step 1: Scrape, sand, and finish the branches.

The first step for my DIY cat tree using a real tree was…to find a real tree and prep the branches! Once our branches were sufficiently dry, we stripped the bark off and then finished and sealed them.

This is actually a lot of work, so I broke those steps out in to their own detailed post about how I stripped, stained, and sealed my branches! You can see my full post on how to finish branches for decor here.

But here’s a glimpse at the very messy and very frustrating but very rewarding process:

Scraping and finishing a real tree branch

After we stripped the bark off, we leveled the branches as best we could. Some people recommend a laser level, and while I’m sure that would have been 1000000% times easier, we leveled the tops and bottoms of the branches by eyeballing and then sawing off very small portions at a time.

Step 2: Attach the branches to the base and finish the base.

First, we pre-drilled holes in the branches. Our branches had a few cracks from drying, so we made sure to avoid those areas when drilling. We positioned and attached the branches to the main base piece, the plywood, by screwing 2.5″ screws up through the bottom of the plywood and into the branches. We also added Liquid Nails on the bottom of each branch before screwing them on.

Next, we built out and finished the base. We built a raised edge all the way around using 1″ x 3″ pine pieces cut to length. This serves two purposes: it covered the rough edge of the plywood while also creating a space for rocks to make the tree bottom heavy. I stained the entire base in Kona and finished it with two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.

In the workshop working on the tree

Step 3: Create and install the scratching posts.

Once the base was finished and the two branches were attached, we worked on the scratching posts. We made the posts using a 2″ x 48″ wooden dowel cut in to two pieces. I stained and finished these in Kona and semi-gloss poly to match the base and glued sisal rope around them.

To get the sisal rope to stay while the glue dries, we shot in a few staples with a hand-held staple gun. (We removed to protect our cats’ claws when the glue dried.) Then we dabbed some Liquid Nails on the bottom of each post and screwed them in to the base just as we did the tree branches.

Wrapping sisal to make a scratching post

Step 4: Create the platforms.

I grabbed four scrap pieces of pine to use for the platforms. I loved being able to use these little pieces that had just been sitting around! The back scratching post platform is very small—more like a step stool for the little girl—while the front scratching post platform is a bit bigger.

The two higher platforms are about the same size—big enough for King Henry to max out. We also build out a tiny little ledge around the highest platform to coordinate with the base.

I decided to do a mix of stained (Kona) and finished (semi-gloss poly) platforms to match the base and platforms upholstered with faux-fur fabric. They had the same faux fur on their old cat condo, and they loved it, so I just reused that.

Staining and finishing wood for the platforms

Step 5: Install the platforms.

We used a combination of Liquid Nails, screws, and a nail gun to secure each platform in place. Here’s my dad looking adorable while we were attaching the platforms!

In the workshop working on the tree

Step 6: Add finishing touches!

Yay, almost done! Time for the finishing touches. I put a few cheap stepping stones and big rocks in the base to keep the tree bottom heavy. The rocks are big enough so that neither cat will understandably mistake the base for a litter pan and Henry won’t eat them (he is an asshole and eats lots of things he shouldn’t).

The stepping stones allow them to walk around the base and helped me keep costs down since they were so much cheaper than the rocks. I also picked up some faux vines to wrap around the branches. I would not have used these if our cats were into eat fake plants, though. They ignore them.

And here it is—Our DIY cat tree using a real tree in its home:

diy cat tree using a real tree
diy cat tree using a real tree
DIY cat tree plants
diy cat tree using a real tree
Closeup of the details including the scratching post
Make a cat tree using real branches.
DIY cat tree using real branches
DIY cat tree using real branches
DIY cat tree using real branches
DIY cat tree using real branches

If you loved this, definitely check out my raised cat feeder DIY, my easy DIY catnip toys, my cat house side table build plans, and this roundup of DIYs your pets will love!

You’re going to love my total cost for this project. The tree I really loved was $800 (and used fake branches!). For my tree, I spent…

$75.12!

Here’s the breakdown of what I paid (I did use coupons for a lot of this):

  • Satin finish for the branches ($6.00)
  • Semi-gloss polyurethane ($6.47)
  • Faux vines ($12.99)
  • Decorative rocks and stepping stones ($25.07)
  • Lumber for the base ($13.14)
  • Wooden dowel ($7.98)
  • Liquid Nails (3.47)

Everything else? It was found, foraged, already owned, or borrowed with the help of my sweet dad!

An update about our tree branch cat tree & more trees from readers!

I published an update post two years later to let you all know how the cat tree is holding up. Check out the updated cat tree post.

I have also had a few readers reach out to let me know they used this tutorial to make a tree for their kitties. They graciously allowed me to share them to help inspire you all to create your own!

building a DIY cat tree using real branches
Helpful method for stabilizing if you don’t have an extra set of hands.
building a DIY cat tree using real branches
Tree in progress.
finished DIY cat tree using real branches
Finished tree.
maine coon kitten on a DIY cat tree using real branches
This is the platform that he attached to the wall with an L-bracket. Obviously wouldn’t work if you’re putting this in front of a window but is a fantastic solution for securing the tree to a wall to prevent sway!

Alex and Julia’s Tree…

My jaw dropped when I got this email from Alex and Julia. Their tree absolutely blew me away! I love how it goes from the floor to the ceiling. It truly looks like it is growing up through the house. I am now extremely jealous that my tree doesn’t do this, lol.

Here are a few things they did that I also loved—

  • After scraping all of the bark, they filled the cracks with resin: “The only real step we did that you didn’t was to fill the cracks with epoxy resin stained with mica powder in a dark chocolate colour and sanded it back to a smooth finish afterwards. It took ages!” Genius.
  • I love the “toadstools” as well. You can see how they made those by stacking batting in one of the pictures below with Julia.
  • The branch that stretches out far to the side of the main tree—you can see that it is pretty thin and might be wondering how it is supported. If you look closely at the pictures below, you can see that they added two L brackets to the wall to help.
  • On that same perch, they very smartly made the fur topper removable by using what looks like tied cord and hooks screwed onto the bottom of the perch. Excellent idea for washing, and I’ll probably do that when I get around to replacing ours!

Thank you Alex and Julia for sharing!!

woman removing bark from a tree branch
Julia scraping the branch
tree branch for a DIY cat tree
tape on the tree branch
woman stacking pieces of batting
DIY cat tree project
cute kitty on a DIY cat tree
DIY cat tree made out of real branches
gorgeous DIY cat tree made out of real branches

Pin This!

diy cat tree using a real tree
diy cat tree using a real tree

DIY Cat Tree Using a Real Branch

DIY cat tree using real branches

CAT LOVERS! I’m sharing the whole process for my DIY cat tree using a real tree. This natural-looking cat tree made from a natural branch looks beautiful!

Materials

Branches and Support Pieces

  • A big branch and a small branch. My small one is about 3′ tall, and my big one is about 5.5′ tall
  • A paint scraper
  • Minwax Stain in Natural
  • Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane in Satin
  • Sisal
  • Faux vines
  • 2″ x 48″ dowel
  • 2.5″ wood screws

Base & Platforms

  • One piece of 3/4″ plywood cut to 2′ wide by 3′ long
  • 2 pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 8′ pine for the base’s ledge
  • Rust-Oleum Wood Stain in Kona
  • Minwax Polyurethane in Semi-Gloss
  • Decorative rocks
  • Stepping stones from Lowe’s
  • Pine scrap pieces in various sizes for the platforms
  • Brown faux fur fabric

Miscellaneous Tools & Supplies

  • Miter saw
  • Drill
  • Assorted sandpaper
  • Hand-held staple gun
  • Liquid Nails Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive
  • Various sized nails and screws

Instructions

    1. Scrape, sand, and finish the branches. For a detailed tutorial on how to do this read this post.
    2. Level the tops and bottoms of the branches by eyeballing and then sawing off very small portions at a time.
    3. Pre-drilled holes in the branches.
    4. Attach the branches to the main base piece, the plywood, by screwing 2.5″ screws up through the bottom of the plywood and into the branches.
    5. Add Liquid Nails on the bottom of each branch before screwing them on.
    6. Build out and finish the base.
    7. Build a raised edge all the way around using 1″ x 3″ pine pieces cut to length.
    8. Stain the entire base in Kona and finished it with two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.
    9. Make the scratching posts using a 2″ x 48″ wooden dowel cut in to two pieces.
    10. Stain and finished the scratching posts in Kona and semi-gloss poly to match the base, then glue sisal rope around them.
    11. Dab some Liquid Nails on the bottom of each post and screw them in to the base just like you did the tree branches.
    12. Create the platforms and cover with faux fur.
    13. Use a combination of Liquid Nails, screws, and a nail gun to secure each platform in place.
    14. Put a few cheap stepping stones and big rocks in the base to keep the tree bottom heavy.
    15. And you’re done!

Notes

Note: don’t use faux plants if your cats like to eat them.

For more information on how https://www.savvynana.com can help you with How to Make a DIY Cat Tree From a Real Tree!, please contact us at 808-372-7734, or visit us here:

Savvy Nana

38 Oak Cove Lane Humble, Texas 77346

808-372-7734

Savvy Nana DIY Projects

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Large Dog Breed

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Large Dog Breed

Is Your House Suitable For Them?

First, consider your home environment and whether it is suitable for a dog. You’re going to need a lot of space for them to roam around, even if they are not a particularly energetic breed. If you live in a small house or you have a big family and space is already an issue, a big dog might not be right for you. 

As well as the space, you need to consider all of the added extras that you may need in your home. For example, you’ll need to install an extra large dog door if you want them to be able to get outside. You might need to put stair gates in too because big dogs can cause a lot of havoc if left to roam the house on their own. 

A big garden is a bonus too because, even when you are walking them regularly, a big dog needs a lot of exercise. 

Can You Commit To Walking Them?

Speaking of exercise, your large dog will need to be walked just like any other dog. Dog owners always need to decide whether they can commit to daily walks, but it’s a bigger commitment with large dogs. They are more prone to joint issues, so it’s vital that they maintain a healthy weight. They have more energy too, which means that you need to walk them for longer than a small dog and they need time to explore and run around. No matter what the weather is like, you will have to grab your walking essentials and take them out for multiple walks every single day. Think about whether you are willing to commit to that or not before getting a large dog. 

Can You Handle Their Strength?

People often underestimate just how strong these big dogs can be. If you are not very big yourself, you might be walking a dog that weighs almost as much as you do, so if they decide they’re running off, you’re going with them. But that doesn’t mean that only big people should get big dogs, it just means that training is extra important. You don’t want your dog running off and pulling you along behind or jumping up at strangers in the street and knocking them over, so they need to be trained well from an early age. However, regardless of how well you train them, you still need to be aware of their strength and consider whether you can handle it or not. 

Before you buy a large dog breed, think about the extra responsibilities involved and ask yourself these questions to make sure that it’s the right choice.

What To Know When You Adopt A Pair Of Kittens

What To Know When You Adopt A Pair Of Kittens

Kittens are regarded as some of the most beloved domestic animals in the world, and along with puppies make everyone in the vicinity collectively go 

‘Awww’

If you are looking to adopt a pet this year and you believe that a kitten is the right choice for you and your lifestyle – now is the time to take a look and consider what you are to expect if you do adopt a kitten this Christmas. 

They are crazy 

If you have seen pictures and videos of kittens calmly sleeping for hours on end, this is accurate – however what you don’t see is the hours between these short naps where a kitten is running around the house like a crazy person. Kittens are incredibly playful and curious, and when you bring one into your home they will spend a lot of their time exploring and running around playing with anything they can find. Be aware that in the first few months of kitten ownership you need to be all hands on deck! 

They sleep a lot 

As well as running around and playing, it is not unusual for a kitten to sleep for between 16 and 20 hours everyday. Kittens are still babies, and until they are around 1 year old they will be very much like having a baby or toddler in your home. Be sure to place lots of beds and blankets around the house for them to curl up and take a nap. 

They love to chew 

Just like babies, at around 16 weeks old your kitten will start to teeth. Teething in kittens is thankfully not as traumatic as a child; but a kitten will chew anything from toys to furniture to cables, and even sometimes you. Be aware to stock up on hard toys for their teething stage and make sure there is always a toy in view for your kitten to teeth with. And don’t be alarmed if you find a tooth on the floor now and again! 

They need their own space 

Like all cats, kittens need their own space as well as space with you. When you first bring a kitten home you should have a room set up in the house which has a bed, food and water, and litter box in easy reach. Your young kitten needs to know where everything is in their new home because if they don’t it could cause anxiety as well as a little accident. Leave this room as their main room, but also bring kitten toys and beds into the rest of the house so that when they are ready to explore, they feel like this is their home as much as yours.

They have sensitive tummies 

You can’t feed a kitten the same things as a fully grown cat – and if kittens eat things that are inedible whole playing they will get an upset tummy. It is a good idea to stock up on vitamins and supplements on petness.com to ensure that you can give your kitten everything they need in their diet to stay healthy and solid.

Happy 4th of July! 4 Tasty BBQ Recipes for Your Dog

Happy 4th of July! 4 Tasty BBQ Recipes for Your Dog

Happy 4th of July! Today’s the day we celebrate our nation’s independence. Checking out a parade, hanging out by the pool and protecting our dogs from fireworks are the only things on our agenda. Oh, and grilling, of course. BBQ food is an absolute must on the most patriotic day of the year. Because really, is there anything more American than hamburgers and hotdogs? We didn’t think so.

As you prepare to chow down with family and friends this afternoon, why not prepare something special for your dog? She’ll likely be waiting beneath the grill anyhow, hoping for human food to hit the floor. Unfortunately, most traditional BBQ foods are dangerous for dogs and can make them sick. Providing your pup her own tasty meal will keep her out of harm’s way and help her feel like she’s part of the celebration.

Check out a few of our favorite dog-approved Fourth of July recipes below!

Ingredients

1 cup water

8 strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

Instructions

Rinse strawberries and blueberries.
Mix ½ cup water and strawberries in the blender. Blend until liquefied. Repeat with blueberries.
Pour strawberry mixture into star-shaped ice cube trays. Repeat with blueberry mixture.
Pop them in the freezer for 2-4 hours and serve!


Happy 4th of July! 4 Tasty BBQ Recipes for Your Dog
Print Recipe
Happy 4th of July! 4 Tasty BBQ Recipes for Your Dog
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Keeping An Eye On Your Dog When He’s Exploring

Keeping An Eye On Your Dog When He’s Exploring

Did you know that dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose? That is a staggering 40 times greater than human beings. Is it any wonder that dogs just go around sniffing anything and everything? Can you imagine literally being led by the nose all your life? This is why dogs are so amazing, but they can be a danger to themselves as well. They’re such amazing creatures but even a normal trip to the park can end up being very serious. Dogs like to chew, bite and lick things they find stimulating and this can lead them into having a sore stomach, sneezing a lot, getting watery eyes and even vomiting. Keeping an eye on him while he explores is something you need to get used to.

Do they eat plants?

Yes! Dogs eat plants when you’re not looking. They do this when they’re stray dogs or ‘in the wild’ because they may have an upset stomach. Naturally, they know what to eat but sometimes they can make a mistake. Dogs will sometimes eat stinging nettles because it helps them digest, but too much can harm them. This is also why we make nettle soup because it calms your bowels. However, they can end up eating things they shouldn’t. For example, toxic flowers like lilies and daffodils. The petals are harmless and even quite sweet, but the bulbs are toxic. Ingesting them can cause your dog to puke and convulse. The next time you go to the park, keep your pooch away from the flower patch.

Keep out of the soil

Now we all know what it’s like to try and get our dog out of a muddy puddle. It’s one of life’s hidden challenges. Dogs love to roll around in the muddy water because they’re having fun. You find that many animals in the wild roll around in mud too. It could be the texture on their fur, perhaps the stickiness or maybe it could be how it cools them down on a hot day. Regardless, you shouldn’t encourage your dog to roll around in dry soil or mud because worm eggs can become trapped in their paws. The larvae will hatch and make their way into your dog and this can make your furry friend very sick. But you can give your dog a chewy antiparasitic treat from it.nexgardspectra.com. This small treat helps your dog by fighting off 5 different types of parasite at once, worms being one of them.

Straying too close

Not all dogs like the water and not all dogs are good swimmers. If you have a dog that is short, stumpy legs such as a British bulldog or poodle, you should keep an eye on them while in the park. If the park has a pond or perhaps a river running through it, your dog will be tempted to jump into it due to his own reflection or perhaps the fish swimming underneath the surface. Call him back if you think he is about to jump in!

Dogs are sometimes too inquisitive for their own good. They have huge hearts and even bigger noses that can sometimes lead them astray. But as long as you’re keeping an eye on them, let them explore.