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As part of the celebration Tractor Supply Company Pet Appreciation Week, 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 pets’ lives. 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.
- 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 spray-painted the PVC pipes and end caps.
We used painter’s tape and spray paint to add a decorative touch.
Assembly is easy: Insert pipe partially through one side, thread the bottles on the pipe, position pipe, and snap the end caps in place. You can glue one or use a small screw to secure the cap onto the pipe. However, ours 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, I brought in Theo.
He figured it out in a few minutes.
I considered painting the inside of the box but decided that it would get a lot of wear and tear and quickly become more of an eyesore.
A dog that really likes to chew should not be left unsupervised with this toy. 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. We found that adjusting the bar height to 7 inches from the bottom and using a water bottle worked well for smaller dogs. 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!
About Alice G Patterson Photography: Located in Syracuse, New York, Alice specializes in dog portraits as well as photography for small businesses.