Pampering your pet doesn’t have to be a costly affair. There are plenty of easy projects you could try out to create either functional accessories to solve a problem or fun ones to indulge your pet. And to give you an idea, here is a list of ten awesome DIY projects every pet owner would love to try.
1. GPS Dog Collar
If your pup is a little escape artist, or you simply love letting your four-legged best friend roam free, this DIY GPS dog collar is the perfect project to spend your free afternoon on.
Even better, the GPS collar tracks the dog’s movements, and displays the number of miles covered on a status bar. This lets you effortlessly track how far you’ve walked your dog: a game-changer if you’re always wondering whether Fido gets enough exercise. Check out the build guide from Adafruit.
2. Arduino-Controlled Dog Treat Dispenser
A treat dispenser is one of the best toys you can ever get for your pup. It slowly dispenses treats, slowing down a food-motivated pup during dinner. It’ll also provide hours of entertainment your pup will love, especially because they’ll get a tasty treat out of it. This keeps them out of your way when you’re busy. Most importantly, a dog treat dispenser is mentally stimulating, which is good for your pup’s health.
The best part? You don’t have to blow money on one, as it’s incredibly straightforward to make. As shown in the Instructables guide, it requires only minimal coding knowledge, along with a few easily accessible tools and items.
3. DIY Internet-Enabled Fish Tank
Imagine a fish tank that can speak and respond to voice commands, has ultrasonic depth monitoring to automatically monitor pH and water levels, servo-controlled filters and bubbles, and a digital thermometer to remotely track water temperatures? Well, that’s exactly what this DIY project from Hayden Kibble lets you achieve. It enables you to transform a regular fish tank into an IoT one with all the mentioned features, and additional ones like an underwater fish cam, timed LED lighting, and a scrolling matrix display.
4. Robotic Dog Toy
If your job has you spending most of your day away from home, and you can’t bring your pup with you, this DIY robotic dog toy makes an ideal companion for them when you’re away. It features three levers that a dog can play and interact with.
The idea was to invent an Arduino-based, robotic toy that my dog could interact and play with. One that could record scores, automatically deliver treats, and grow more advanced as the dog learns to play with it. I wanted to find a task to test my dog’s intelligence, so I chose a simple system with three ‘levers.’
The best part? It’s mentally stimulating, as Fido must learn and push each lever to achieve the desired action. For instance, pushing one of the levers dispenses treats. As detailed in the Instructables guide, the project is designed to stimulate the instinctive, adaptive and working intelligence of your pup, so it’s not only able to entertain but also feed itself when you’re away.
5. Pet Water Warden
An automatic treat dispenser makes your life as a pet parent a tad easier since you know your dog, or kitten, will never go hungry. An automatic water dispenser completes the equation by allowing your pup to hydrate even when you’re away. And like the auto-treat dispenser, it’s also quite easy to make. As detailed on the Make: Magazine project page, it has an Arduino microcontroller to control the timer for the water dispensing, and a small aquarium pump to deliver the water into your pet’s bowl.
6. RFID Cat Door
If you love your cat but are sick of being woken up in the middle of the night to let it out, this DIY cat door will be a game-changer. As detailed in the Instructables guide, it’s Arduino controlled, and uses a large enough DIY antenna as the door. When your cat approaches the door, the antenna detects the RF tag as far as four inches away and unlocks. A light comes on immediately, and the timer keeps the antenna door unlocked long enough for your kitty to pass.
If used consistently, your kitty should soon be able to push the door in response to the light, granting them the freedom to come and go as they please without interrupting your slumber.
7. Twitter-Controlled Pet Feeder
If you’re looking to put a cap on the amount of time you waste on Twitter and have no pet feeder, this DIY project lets you simultaneously solve the two problems. Check out the full build guide on Instructables. The project is controlled by an Arduino and uses the Arduino Ethernet shield to receive data from Twitter.
Once complete, it automatically dispenses pet food or treats in response to your Twitter account activity. That means you can limit your Twitter usage based on your pet feeding schedule. This way, you spend less time on the app and more time on productive tasks, and your pet stays fed regardless of whether you’re in or out of the house.
8. Kitty Twitty Cat Toy
If you’re the type of pet parent who wants to keep tabs of what your pet is doing, their whereabouts or simply needs to check on them after every hour, this DIY cat toy will please you. As detailed on the Make: Magazine project page, it automatically sends tweets to your account whenever it’s up and running or every time there’s a connection, giving you the peace of mind of knowing your furry best friend is OK.
Like most projects on our list of awesome DIY projects every pet parent should try, it’s also Arduino controlled. Even if you don’t have a cat, you can modify it to have almost anything send tweets.
9. Crittergram Capture Cam
Always late to capture timely photos of your pet doing something unusual, or simply being the most photogenic version of themselves? The Crittergram Capture cam lets you put an end to that problem. As detailed in the Make: Magazine build guide, it’s Arduino-controlled to automatically capture pictures of cats and other critters whenever they are in frame. That means with strategic placement, you can now get shots of your four-legged friend yawning, stretching, and doing all the cute things you wish you were swift enough to photograph.
10. Automated Cat Laser
Although cats are naturally playful, you may not always have the time and energy to run around with yours. In such instances, a cat laser comes in handy as all you need to do is aim the laser pointer at a suitable spot, move it around a little, and watch your cat go crazy trying to catch the projection. And you don’t have to buy one, since you can effortlessly DIY one using the detailed CatBot tutorial on Instructables. Using two servos, an Arduino and a cheap $3 laser you can provide your cat with endless fun.