Our pets are an important part of our lives.
Our pets are an important part of our lives.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

We all love our pets and now you can show them just how much you care with these easy pet activities for kids. Whether it's a dog, cat, fish, bird, gerbil, or any other creature, a pet enriches our lives and brings us joy. In return, pets rely on their owners for food and water, clean cages, and lots of love and attention.

Some studies show that having a pet helps people live longer, happier lives. Also, taking care of a pet can teach a child responsibility at an early age. The following links will show you several activities that you can do with or for your pet. Have fun!

Herbal Flea Collar

Relieve your cat or dog of those itchy fleas with an herbal flea collar.

Pennies for Pets

Do your part to help lost or abandoned pets by raising money for your local animal shelter.

Pet Cam

See the world from a pet's-eye view. It's just you, your pet, and a video camera.

Sidewalk Pet Portraits

Everyone will appreciate the neighborhood pets when they see the chalk portraits you've drawn on the sidewalk.

Understanding Your Pet

Does your pet try to communicate with you? Follow these tips to better understand your pet.

Dog Wash

Clean up a pooch and earn some cash in this pet activity.

Poochy Parade

Waltz pets down the street and make a unique parade.

Water Watch

Every four-legged creature needs water. See what animals you can attract in this animal activity.

Fleas can be a nuisance, but flea collars often irritate your pet's skin. Keep reading to find out how to make a gentle, herbal flea collar for your pet.

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Herbal Flea Collar

Cat and dog owners often fear irritating fleas invading their pets' fur and their own home. An herbal flea collar is a natural way to help keep these annoying pests away from your pet -- and from you!

What You'll Need:

  • Bandanna or strip of cloth
  • Olive oil
  • Oil of pennyroyal (available at an herb store, natural foods grocery, or pharmacy)

How to Make an Herbal Flea Collar

Step One: For smaller pets, soak the bandanna in a mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil and three drops of oil of pennyroyal.

Step Two: Let the bandanna dry, then tie it on your pet. Make sure the bandanna is big enough to tie loosely so that it doesn't hurt your pet.

Step Three: Here's a good way to tell if it's the right size: After the bandanna is tied, there should be room for you to put three of your fingers between your pet's neck and the bandanna.

If you have a larger pet (one that's too big to comfortably wear a bandanna), you can make a collar from a strip of cloth that is six inches longer than the measurement around your pet's neck.

Animal shelters help dogs and cats that have no homes. Keep reading to find out how you can lend your support by collecting and saving pennies.

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Pennies for Pets

A "Pennies for Pets" project is a great way to help raise money for animal shelters. Community animal shelters take in lost or abandoned pets and try to find new homes for them. Most shelters get their money from the American Humane Society, city government, or other special agencies. But no matter who pays the bills, there never seems to be enough money to go around. You and your child can help by collecting pennies.

What You'll Need:

  • Empty coffee cans with lids
  • Colored paper
  • Tape
  • Colorful markers or crayons

How to Make "Pennies for Pets"

Step One: Cover an empty coffee can with colored paper. Your kids can decorate the paper with pet drawings, and label it "Pennies for Pets."

Step Two: Once a week, after explaining that you are collecting pennies for your local animal shelter, ask friends and family member if they have any extra pennies they can spare. Or do chores to earn a few coins.

Step Three: When your can is full, count the pennies and present them to the shelter director. You'll feel good, and you'll be an animal-loving hero.

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to your dog or cat? Keep reading to find out how to get a pet's-eye view with a Pet Cam.

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Pet Cam

The world looks different when viewed through your pet cam.
The world looks different when viewed through your pet cam.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

See how your dog or cat views the world by creating a pet cam. If you're old enough to use a video camera, this is a great way to understand your pets a little better. You'll have fun sharing your pet cam videos with your family, too.

What You'll Need:

  • Video camera or pen and paper

Step One: Get down on your hands and knees, grab your camcorder, and follow your dog or cat around the house. What does your pet see? What does he do? How do you think she feels?

Step Two: Create a videotape and call it "A Day with My Pet."

If you don't have a video camera, you can still record the world from your pet's viewpoint. Draw four or five illustrations based on what you saw during your observations. If you add captions, the results can be hilarious!

You can become your neighborhood's official sidewalk artist -- and show the world your great neighborhood pets. Check out the next page.

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Sidewalk Pet Portraits

Get out your chalk and create a sidewalk pet portrait.
Get out your chalk and create a sidewalk pet portrait.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Create sidewalk pet portraits, and show the world the great pets that live in your neighborhood. Dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, birds -- whatever the pet, you can create its portrait on the sidewalk.

What You'll Need:

  • Sidewalk
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Neighborhood pets

Step One: Take out the sidewalk chalk and let your kids' drawings tell the story. That big spider down the street is scary but sweet -- chalk up each of his eight legs.

Step Two: Great Danes aren't called "great" for nothing. Draw it extra large. What's the prettiest songbird in your tree? Let your drawings tell the story. Then sit back and watch the neighbors smile.

Did you ever get the feeling that your pet was trying to tell you something? Learn how to understand your pet by following the suggestions on the next page.

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Understanding Your Pet

Your dog or cat is trying to tell you something. Do you understand?
Your dog or cat is trying to tell you something. Do you understand?
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Understanding your pet is one of the best ways to help you communicate with and care for your special friend. Whether you have a dog, a cat, or any other pet, watch him (or her) and listen to the sounds he makes to see how he communicates with you and other animals.

What You'll Need:

  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Markers

Step One: Watch your pet's eyes, ears, tails, paws, and fur. And watch his whole body. Try to figure out what he's "saying" by using his body.

Does your dog or cat ever run back and forth between you and her food bowl? (Maybe he's saying, "It's time for my dinner!") Or between you and the door? ("Let's go outside!") Does your pet roll over and look at you to let you know she wants a tummy rub?

Animals also use their voices in more ways than you might think. How many different barks does your dog have, and what do they all mean? He probably has one bark for "Someone's at the door!" and another bark for "Hey, you stepped on my tail!"

He probably also growls, whines, and makes other sounds. Each sound means he's trying to communicate with you or another animal.

It's the same with your cat. She may have one meow to say, "Feed me!" and another to say, "Can I come in now?"

Step Two: Try making a pet dictionary, in which you record all the different ways your pet communicates, and what you think each thing means. Try to draw pictures of what your pet looks like when she's "saying" different things. The more you pay attention to your pet, the better you'll understanding him.

It's time to give those pets a good scrub and maybe make some money doing it! Read about the Dog Wash pet activity on the next page.

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Dog Wash

Dog wash pet activity
Dog wash pet activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Polish up pooch in a dog wash pet activity that could mean a pocket full of cash. Why not try a wet and wild summer activity that will help kids make their own money?

What You'll Need:

  • Cheap no-name baby shampoo
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket
  • Old towels

How to Have a Dog Wash:

Step One: Check out the fun and profit possible in washing your neighborhood's pet dogs. Slip into your swimsuit, then let your neighbors know you and a partner will bathe dogs for just $3 a head. Start with the pups in your own backyards.

Step Two: Have one partner gently hold the dog while the other washes. First, wet the dog down, carefully avoiding getting water in its ears or eyes. Pour about two tablespoons of generic baby shampoo into your wet hands and rub them together to make a soap and water paste.

Step Three: Now apply it to the dog's back and chest. Work up a good lather, again, careful of the eyes and ears. Hose all the soap from the dog's body as you rub (be sure that every trace rinses away). Towel excess water off the dog and collect your cash!

Discover the fun in the next pet activity while leashing up pups and putting them on a Poochy Parade.

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Poochy Parade

This poochy parade pet activity will proudly show off your puppies. Everyone loves a parade. Everyone loves dogs. Why not combine two all-American favorites in a summer activity that will take you outside on the next sunny Saturday afternoon?

What You'll Need:

  • Friends with dogs and leashes
  • Accessories
  • Portable tape or CD player

How to Plan a Poochy Parade:

Step One: Gather together your kids and their friends with dogs and plot out the event. Whose dogs get along with other dogs? Whose dogs are better on their own? Which dogs are big? Which dogs are extra-small?

Step Two: Pick a theme like "Puppy Love" or "Man's Best Friend" and invent silly, inexpensive doggie accessories -- red construction paper hearts gently taped to fur, poster boards hanging from the necks of each puppy's pet person.

Step Three: Then march to one of your favorite doggone songs -- "(You Ain't Nothing But a) Hound Dog," "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" or maybe even music from 101 Dalmatians. Be sure to take plenty of pictures. This will be a dog day afternoon to remember.

In the next animal activity, put out a bowl of water and see what you can find.

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Water Watch

In water watch, make sure your outdoor friends never run out of water. Pets will love having a source of water outside and kids can also see what other animals they can attract in this summer activity. You might even catch a stray cat!

What You'll Need:

  • Old buckets
  • Pie pans or bowls
  • Water

How to Make Water Watch:

There are three things our favorite animals need to survive -- shelter, food, and water.

We can't always provide shelter. Food can be iffy. Water, though, is a universal need, and it's one thing animals need that we can almost always supply.

Set out old bowls or pie pans of water wherever you think an animal might want to drink. Then make sure they are full -- check them every day with your kids. Your creature pals will thank you every time they wet their whistles.

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ABOUT THE ACTIVITY DESIGNERS

Sidewalk Pet Portraits by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsDog Wash by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsPoochy Parade by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsWater Watch by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls