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Tractor Supply Company is celebrating Pet Appreciation Week (PAW) September 17-21 with a main event on September 20. As part of the celebration, they asked me to come up with a DIY project that can be used to help rescues. After lots of brainstorming, I went with my first instinct: an interactive toy to help enrich the lives of pets. I thought this would be perfect for a dog in a shelter! Alice G Patterson helped me build and photograph this easy and inexpensive DIY treat dispenser in her lovely home. If you are looking for a simpler project, check out the easiest treat jars ever.
I was inspired by this video. My shopping list for this project is very simple: chicken nesting box, PVC pipe, and end caps. My total was under $14 for one, but I bought an extra box and end caps to make one to keep and one to give to a rescue.
- Chicken Nesting Box
- 1/2 ” PVC pipe
- 2 PVC 1/2″ end caps
- saw (to cut pipe)
- plastic bottle (we used 2-liter bottles)
- ruler/tape measure
- scissors or utility knife
- optional supplies:
- spray paint, painter’s tape, clamp, scrap wood
Cut a length of pipe to 12 inches (it should extend past the box on both sides).
Mark nest box for drilling. We marked our center for the drill bit at 1.5 inches from the side of the box and 2 inches from the top. (To prevent the box from splitting, clamp a scrap piece of wood underneath the part you are drilling.) IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU ARE GOING TO PAINT THE PIPE, USE A 3/4 ” DRILL BIT. If you are going to leave it unpainted, we recommend a 5/8 ” drill bit to keep the pipe snug.
After drilling holes, determine if you need to remove any crosspieces that would prevent the bottles from spinning. Remove any stray nails with vice grips.
Using scissors I poked a hole in the bottle approximately 4 inches from the top. Next, I then cut a hole slightly larger than 5/8 inch in diameter.
I wanted to make this project something that I would also feel comfortable having in my own home, so I took inspiration from these DIY painted frames and decided to glam it up a bit.
We already had spray paint at home but Tractor Supply Company sells it too. We spray painted PVC pipes and end caps.
We used painters tape and spray paint to add a decorative touch.
Assembly is easy: thread the bottles on the pipe, put the pipe in, and snap the end caps in place. You can glue one or use a small screw to secure the cap onto the pipe. However, they stay snug without gluing.
Lulu was excited when she first saw the feeder, but at 14 years old she couldn’t figure it out right away.
She was a sad pug and probably hates “new technology.” Since we didn’t have time to teach an old dog a new trick, so I brought in Theo.
I considered painting the inside of the box, but decided that it would get a lot of wear and tear and would quickly become more of an eyesore.
A dog that really likes to chew should not be left unsupervised with this toy. PVC pipe is not good for digestive systems. If using this with a stronger dog, you should screw it onto a larger piece of plywood or some wood blocks to add weight and stability to it. For smaller dogs we found that adjusting the bar height to 7 inches from the bottom and using a water bottle worked well. I also discovered that my cat can use the treat dispenser with 2 liter bottles!
In addition to having tractor supplies, Tractor Supply Company has a large assortment of pet products: premium brand food, toys, collars, tick and flea preventative, crates, beds, collars, leashes, etc. The employees are friendly and care about animals and their community. If you don’t live near a Tractor Supply Company, you can also order from them online. Check out Tractor Supply Co. on Pinterest for all kinds of inspiration!