Handmade toys and treats show appreciation and allow pet owners to avoid busy stores.

Courtney Markley, a veterinary student ambassador at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, offers ideas for pet-safe holiday fun.



Markley has two healthy holiday recipes for dogs:

Holiday Ice Cream Treats

  1. Blend 3 ripe bananas, 32 oz. plain yogurt and 1 cup peanut butter.
  2. Pour mixture into holiday-shaped ice cube trays.
  3. Freeze.

“Rub coconut oil on the ice cube tray before adding the mixture to make getting them out easier,” Markley recommends.


Peanut Butter Holiday Cookies

  1. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.
  2. Mix 1 cup flour, ½-cup oats, 1 egg, 1/3-cup peanut butter, 1 mashed banana and 1 tablespoon honey.
  3. In a separate cup, lightly beat 1 egg white.
  4. Roll out the dough to ¼-inch thick on a floured surface.
  5. Use holiday cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes.
  6. Place on cookie sheet and brush with the egg white.
  7. Bake at 300 degrees until golden and firm, about 35 minutes.


Pet owners can also make low-cost toys out of common items.

For dogs, owners can making a throwing and tug-of-war toy.

“Place an old tennis ball inside a holiday sock and tie a knot in the sock just above the ball,” Markley said.

For a cat toy, owners can decorate empty toilet paper rolls with a holiday theme and cut fringe on the edge of the roll or shapes out of the middle.

“If you have an old mitten or a mitten that’s missing its mate, you can pour cat nip into the glove and hand-sew it closed with a simple stitching pattern,” Markley said.



Owners also can make holiday decorations. Markley offers a recipe for salt dough that can be stamped with your pet’s paw and baked to harden.


Paw Print Ornaments

  1. Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup of water by hand until a dough is formed.
  2. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thick and smooth out the top.
  3. Use cookie cutters or free-hand cut a design in the dough.
  4. Gently and firmly press your pet’s paw into the dough until you can see the impression of the paw.
  5. Important: Thoroughly rinse the paw to remove any dough that may have stuck to it. Alternative: Use your fingers to create a paw shape in the dough.
  6. Use a straw to create a hole at the top for the ribbon.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees for about 2 hours until it is hardened.
  8. Cool overnight and then decorate with paint, markers or whatever you have available.
  9. Attach a ribbon through the hole to hang it.

Owners must not let pets eat the dough or baked ornament because the quantity of salt will make them sick.

Using household items and creativity, pet owners can help their animals have a happy holiday.

 (Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to [email protected].)