The Pacific NW is about the only place in the U.S. right now that isn’t blisteringly hot. Not great for my tomato plants, but much easier on our pets. For those of you who are roasting, check out these 3 different tutorials for making cooling collars. Keep your pups comfortable and, most importantly, keep them safe!
This first cooling collar is probably the simplest. It’s a long, fabric sausage (with water absorbing crystals inside) that you tie around your dog’s neck. If you have a bigger dog, you’ll need to make it longer. Once it’s finished, soak the collar in water and let evaporative cooling do it’s thing. The collar can be reused indefinitely. (While water absorbing crystals (polyacrylamide) is considered non-toxic, I still wouldn’t let my dog eat it. So use some common sense.)
Cooling collar #2 is a collar in & of itself–it has a buckle–and is for a Lab-sized dog. It could easily be downsized for a smaller dog. This design uses either a strip of small ice packs or regular ice for cooling. I like that it has a buckle—seems more secure. This cooling collar is also reusable. (Like with anything, you want to make sure your dog isn’t able somehow chew on the collar or another dog’s cooling collar.)
I think cooling collar #3 is my favorite design. It uses your dog’s own collar to secure it. It too uses a strip of small ice packs, but isn’t usable with ice. Make sure to loosen your dog’s regular collar before sliding on the cooling collar. Then place the cooling collar so the ice packs are next to you dog’s skin with her regular collar on top. This collar is reusable. (Again, make sure your pup isn’t chewing on her cooling collar or another dog’s cooling collar.)
Yikes, it’s December! I have to get crackin’ on making some presents. To get you started on gifts for people with pets, here’s a round-up of previous posts on DIY toys for cats & dogs. They range from crazy-easy to not-too-taxing on the difficulty meter. Try them out! You’ll have thoughtful, unique gifts for all the furred ones you know.
3 No-Sew Dog Toys
2 No-Sew Cat Toys
2 Braided Dog Toys
Slingshot Ball for Dogs
Some Sewing (some can be done with just needle & thread):
Felt Sushi Cat Toys
3 Easy to Sew Cat Toys
2 Squeaky Dog Toys
Felt Mouse, Bird, Fish Toys for Cats
Foxtail Dog Toy
Fortune Cookie Cat Toy
Pretty Birdie Cat Toy
3 Knitted & Felted Dog Toys
Knitted & Felted Mouse Cat Toy
I made my own version of the pet bed made from an old sweater. It turned out great and the kitties love it. Actually Crow tried to use it while I was working on it. Saffron the dog thought it was for her—not sure if she thought it was a toy or a bed. I mostly followed the tutorial I posted about before with a couple of minor changes.
First, here’s a thumbnail of the sweater I used.
It had a rolled collar, so I snipped the thread tacking it down. I stitched the arms partway on as described in the tutorial. Then, instead of hand sewing the bottom hem, I folded it over about an inch and stitched it on my sewing machine. In the thumbnail below, you can see the seam is the white dashed line and the edge of the folded over sweater is the green dotted line.
I decided to make my bed more oval, so I folded the corners of the bottom hem up and stitched that with my sewing machine. You can see the shape of the bottom hem in the first thumbnail. The second is a close-up of the folded corner. The white dashed line is the seam and the green dotted line is the edge of the sweater that’s folded up.
I followed the rest of the instructions in the tutorial through Step 3. But, before I did Step 4, I traced the outline of the bottom of the bed onto an old mattress pad I had set aside for sewing projects. I cut out two layers of the pad and carefully inserted it through the neck and into the bottom of the bed. I proceeded with Step 4 and then tacked the bottom of the bed together to secure all the layers. I did about 5 stitches in the bottom of the bed—one in each “corner” and one in the middle. This will require a large, sharp needle. It was a pisser to get the needle and yarn through a layer of sweater, 2 layers of mattress pad, and another layer of sweater, but it’s doable.
I had washed and thoroughly dried an old pillow. I cut open the pillow and used its stuffing to fill the arms. After the arms were stuffed the way I wanted, I unrolled the neck & tucked it in on itself and stitched it closed with a slip stitch, also know as a ladder or invisible stitch. Check out this good tutorial on the slip or ladder stitch if you don’t know how to do it.
Here’s the finished bed. Because the sweater is a boucle knit my stitches pretty much disappeared, which is nice. This is an easy project and the tutorial is good. You can upcycle a sweater you don’t wear anymore or one from a thrift store and make a great bed for your cat or small dog. Or make a nice present for someone else.