Thursday, March 28, 2013

bird thing

My attempt at mid-century modern art. 

Ok, no. In line with recycling and making stuff Kip might actually use, I decided to make what the household now calls Kip's milkstick bird. Milk sticks are those twisted rawhide things you see there; many people give their dogs rawhide to keep the teeth clean and the jaw strong, as well as satisfy the dog's natural instinct to chew. Chewing provides stimulation and can relieve anxiety too.

There are some risks associated with giving dogs rawhide though, in particular digestive problems, and choking and blockage hazards. Some dogs are allergic to rawhide or the other ingredients that go into the treat, and pieces of rawhide can get stuck in the dog's digestive tract. Plus -- and I know this is not very medical-sounding -- rawhide just gets plain gross after a bout of chewing and salivating.

Well, you might recall my post on Kip care; Westies are one of those breeds that are susceptible to food allergies. Thankfully, Kip has not given me any trouble in this area, and to avoid starting anything, I just avoid giving her edible treats in general. However, I do recall how my old Lab used to love chewing those huge rawhide bones, and I know Kip loves chewing things that have a certain smell and texture, so I decided to give her the rawhide twists, but in a form she could neither break down nor swallow. Hence the milkstick bird.

I chose the milk sticks because they have, to me, a stronger scent than plain rawhide, which I felt would be better once they were wrapped up. I chose to make the bird a longish shape so the milk sticks would fit, and Kip would have the satisfaction of carrying it around like those big hunting dogs with the ducks (I chose a black bird because Kip has been having this long-standing feud with the black mynahs living in our neighbourhood).

After sewing the bird shape with canvas and reinforced stitching, I filled a second canvas "envelope" with four milk sticks and aniseed. If you didn't know, aniseed works on some dogs in the same way catnip works on some cats! Then I sewed up the envelope and inserted it into the bird. Easy!

This picture kind of says it all.

Fearsome hunting dog.

Fearsome hunting dog later in the day.

And, toward evening, fearsome hunting dog looking particularly demented. All in all a success I think -- the rawhide is safely chewed, and the canvas dries fast, making it distinctly less gross than exposed rawhide. An unexpected bonus? Chewed aniseed leaves behind a lovely spicy fragrance! Yay for homemade treats!

18 comments:

Kim Alston said...

Toooo cute! He loves his new toy! HaHaHa I had a miniature schnauzer and had to be careful about treats. Great post! I haven't forgotten about your question. I think there's a drop down box when you log onto Bloglovin that will let you pick banners/widgets to place on your blog so readers can follow.

Jacquelineand.... said...

This is a BRILLIANT idea, and I have 3 chewers!

Any chance of you making these to sell?

Sulky Kitten said...

She is gorgeous - and your idea is brilliant, look how happy she is! I always worry about the choking aspect and don't give mine the rawhide any more. But this is a much better idea, and as you say, you don't have to see or handle the yucky mess of chewed ends!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

What a great idea! And Kip seems to love it. She is so gorgeous. No matter how hard she tries, she cannot look like a fearsome hunting dog. Sorry Kip...you're just too darn cute!

The Dainty Dolls House said...

That's too precious!! I love dogs :)) Have a wonderful weekend doll xx

Magic Love Crow said...

You truly amaze me with what you create! I think this is fantastic! Thanks for the education about the rawhide. Kip is so cute! Have a great day ;o)

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

Kip is a beauty and she sure seems to be enjoying her new milkstick birdy.

Rowena @ rolala loves

CraveCute said...

Kip looks soooo happy! Great idea!

Pizziricco said...

ok, another one of those great ideas of your's that need to be quickly patented. yez, do, quick as notice more flwg yr blog now! Ps couldn't make out hahaha 6th pic, fearsome Kip later in the day, only chew thing recognisable.

Dee said...

Kip is adorable :) My friend had a Westie that developed terrible allergies....Your idea is really a good one....I have a feeling you will be making more :)

AntiquityTravelers said...

You are a genius with these dog ideas! You seriously need to sell them!

Rosemary said...

That is one happy dog in your last photo!

Julia [life on churchill] said...

So cute! And Kip looks like she loves it.

Gloria said...

Kip looks happy and totally involved with the bird. Terrific idea for hiding the rawhides inside.
I only give a rawhide once or twice a month or less and they disappear in a few minutes! Those big ones that can't be eaten in one go, yuck, not here.

Stephanie Louise said...

Wow, I didn't know all that about those little sticks dogs love so much.

I think your invention is so cute though! It's nice to think outside the box :)

Miss Val's Creations said...

How perfect!!!! Kip looks like such a happy little animal!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi B&R! The photos of your Westie with its clever chew toy are precious! You are an amazingly creative person!

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