This DIY Dog Advent Calendar Will Bring You And Your Pup 24 Days Of Joy!

This DIY dog advent calendar is such a fun and engaging way to involve your pup in holiday traditions! Plus, it prioritizes sustainability by giving a second life to some household items that were otherwise headed for the landfill.

diy dog advent calendar displayed next to table of christmas decorations

This post may include affiliate links, from Amazon and other companies, where I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no extra cost to you to use these links for a purchase. And when you do, I earn a small commission that helps with building new sustainable content for this blog.

A Fun Way to Create a New Holiday Tradition with Your Pup

If you’ve been looking for ways to get your pup excited for Christmas, I have the perfect idea for you!

As it turns out, with the right design, a DIY dog advent calendar can easily become 24 days of enrichment activity fun.

For this calendar, I brainstormed for a while on how to make the design both eco-friendly and dog-friendly.

Get the instructions

Just want to dive right in? I get it. Skip right to the full instructions. Or if you don’t have time to get crafty now, save the below pin for later.

instructions on how to make diy dog advent calendar

So, as you’ll see, this calendar incorporates a lot of empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls to give a second life to something that normally just gets tossed in the trash.

And to keep things dog-friendly, I made sure the pieces my dogs would interact with (i.e. the daily treat containers) were completely free from adhesives and decorations.

In the end, I went with a Christmas tree design. But in reality, there are numerous Christmas-inspired shapes you can use to make this holiday activity.

So, use my design below for inspiration (or follow the instructions exactly) and craft the perfect dog advent calendar for your family!

The Supplies

The exact supplies will depend a bit on the final design you choose. But to follow the instructions below exactly, let me walk through what you will need.

supplies needed to make a dog advent calendar

Tools

First, there are a few tools to gather. This includes:

  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Yarn needle

If you don’t have a yarn needle or aren’t quite sure what this is, here is an option you can buy from Amazon. Make sure that you use a yarn needle with a point, as you’ll need to push it through poster board and cardboard.

Materials

The materials for the calendar itself are quite simple. At a minimum, you will need:

  • Green poster board
  • Scraps of craft paper
  • Yarn
  • 24 empty toilet paper rolls

Alternatively, you can also use empty paper towel rolls cut to a similar size to toilet paper rolls.

The scrap paper is used to make the numbered ornaments, so you’ll need enough for 24 circles about 2.3 in (5.8 cm) in diameter.

For the calendar numbers, you can draw these directly on each ornament. Or you can print them out using a Christmasy font like Dancing Script or Harrington.

You can find the simple ornament pattern I used here, as well as my calendar number printout here (both free to download).

Additionally, if you want your calendar to be a bit more sturdy, you will also need cardboard (about the same size as the poster board).

Treats

Finally, and most importantly, you will need some natural and healthy dog treats! For a festive option, Zuke’s makes a Christmas tree training treat, which you can buy here on Amazon.

Or for those of you in the UK, you can get a mixed training treat bundle from Pet Impact here (and use code GREENPETPROJECT for 10% off your entire order!).

In my blog post here, you can find even more natural dog treat options, all made by companies on a to mission create healthy and eco-friendly products.

And to learn more about what to look for in natural dog training treats in general, check out my blog post by clicking here.

Crafting Your Own DIY Dog Advent Calendar

mini dapple dachshund dog standing on supplies needed to make a dog advent calendar

Step 1: Cut Out a Christmas Tree

On the green poster board, sketch out a simple Christmas tree. Remember, the tree will need to be big enough for 24 ornaments. The one shown here is about 18 in (46cm) high, as well as 18 in (46 cm) at the widest part of the tree near the base.

Once you are happy with the shape of your tree, grab your scissors and get to cutting.

If you are using cardboard for reinforcement, now is also the time to glue your tree to the cardboard (cut to match the poster board tree shape).

christmas tree cut from poster board

Step 2: Make the Ornament Calendar Numbers

To make the ornaments, cut out 24 circles with a diameter of approximately 2.3 in (5.8 cm) using various colors of scrap paper. You can find the exact simple pattern I used here.

Next, each ornament will need a number (numbers 1-24 to be exact). Draw the number directly on the ornament or follow my approach and print them out.

Both Dancing Script and Harrington are great font options (they give me Christmas vibes!). And to make this step easier, you can download my number printout here for free.

Grab your glue stick, and paste a number in the center of each ornament.

step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Step 3: Attach the Ornaments to the Tree

Arrange your numbered ornaments on the Christmas tree in ascending order. Place the first ornament (marked with the number 1) at the very top of the tree.

For rows 2-5, increase each row by 1 ornament. This means you will have a total of 6 ornaments (numbers 16-21) in row 5.

Finally, place the remaining 3 ornaments (numbers 22-24) in the final row along the bottom of your tree.

Once you are happy with the arrangement, glue the numbered ornaments down with a glue stick.

Step 4: Create the Treat Containers

When making the treat containers, avoid using any kind of adhesive, as this is the part of the calendar that your dog will chew open to get the treats inside.

Starting from one open end of the toilet paper roll, make 4 evenly spaced cuts about 0.6 in (1.5 cm) long to create 4 flaps. Repeat this on the opposite end as well.

Next, close one side of the container (this will be the bottom of your treat container) by folding one flap down. Then fold the next flap down, overlapping it with the previous one.

Continue folding down the remaining flaps in sequence, each overlapping the previous one. Once all flaps are folded, tuck the corner of the top flap under the bottom flap.

The bottom of your treat container should now be closed and secure, just like the top of a cardboard box.

steps in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Repeat this process for the remaining 23 toilet paper rolls.

And remember, just close one side. The top of the treat containers should still be open at this point.

Xtra Health Tip: Although it would look cute, avoid adding any color or decorations to this part of the calendar. Stick with a minimalist design to keep your pup safe.  

Step 5: Attach the Treat Containers

To begin this step, cut 24 pieces of 18 in (45 cm) long yarn. Thread the yarn through your yarn needle, and pierce a hole in one of the treat containers, about 0.3 in (0.76 cm) from the bottom.

Feed the needle through the container until it exits on the opposite side. And be careful not to pull the thread all the way through. If done correctly, you should have half the thread hanging from each side of the container.

step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar
step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Using your yarn needle, make two small holes in the center of the ornament, about 0.8 in (2 cm) apart (in other words, place the holes on each side of the calendar number).

step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Position the treat container with the yarn over the ornament. Then feed one end of the yarn through the left hole, followed by the other end through the right hole.

step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Flip the tree over, and secure the treat container by tying the ends of the yarn into a bow. I recommend using only a single knot, as you’ll be removing a treat container each day.

step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Step 6: Add the Treats

Now comes what is likely the most important part of your DIY dog advent calendar – the treats!

Here are some healthy, natural treats that I, along with Phoebe, Franklin, and Froda, recommend: Zuke’s Mini Naturals Trees on Amazon, Pet Impact’s Good Dog Rewards (use code GREENPETPROJECT for 10% off), Edgard & Cooper Top Dog Bites, and Gosbi Gosbits.

step in the process to make diy dog advent calendar

Xtra Health Tip: Whenever serving treats, remember the 90/10 rule. At least 90% of your pup’s daily calories should come from balanced meals, leaving no more than 10% for the fun stuff.

Step 7: Seal the Treat Containers

To close the tops of each treat container, repeat the method used in Step 5.

Step 8: Find a Safe Place to Hang Your Dog Advent Calendar

Now is the time to hang up your new Christmas decoration/advent calendar/dog enrichment activity!

As the calendar is filled with treats, it will smell quite tempting. So make sure to pick a spot out of paw’s reach.

diy dog advent calendar displayed next to table of christmas decorations
Join The Green Pet Project newsletter for
practical pet-friendly, sustainability tips…
no matter the season!

Let the Christmas Countdown Begin!

Now that the work is done, you have a festive dog engagement activity ready to go for 24 days straight!

Start at the top, with ornament number 1, and begin the countdown to Christmas…with your pup!

Simply untie the bow from the back, and remember to remove the yarn fully from the treat container before handing it off to be destroyed.

If your dog is anything like mine, they will be just as excited (or more) as a kid on Christmas morning!

diy dog advent calendar displayed next to table of christmas decorations with mini dapple dachshund dog looking up from the floor

Xtra Eco Tip: Although the toilet paper rolls will likely be destroyed, the calendar you created can be used year after year. Just remember to start saving toilet paper rolls next November so you can make new treat containers!

Instructions for a DIY Dog Advent Calendar

finished diy dog advent calendar

DIY Dog Advent Calendar

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Difficulty: Medium
Estimated Cost: $10

Looking for ways to involve your dog in the holiday festivities? This simple DIY dog advent calendar will keep your pup engaged for 24 days straight!

Materials

  • Poster board (green)
  • Cardboard (optional)
  • Craft paper scraps (various colors)
  • Ornament pattern printout (optional)
  • Calendar numbers printout (optional)
  • 24 empty toilet paper rolls (or 12 empty paper towel rolls)
  • Yarn (white, red, or green)
  • Dog treats

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Yarn needle (pointed)

Instructions

  1. Cut out a Christmas tree from the green poster board. The tree should be approximately 18 in (46 cm) high, as well as 18 in (46 cm) at the widest part near the base.
  2. If you'd like to make the tree more secure, cut a piece of cardboard to the same size and shape, and glue it to the back of the Christmas tree.
  3. Make 24 Christmas tree ornaments from scrap craft paper. The ornaments should be approximately 2.3 in (5.8 cm) in diameter. (A link to an optional pattern is included in the notes section).
  4. Add a calendar number (1-24) to the center of each ornament. This can be done by hand, or the numbers can be printed out using a holiday font like Dancing Script or Harrington. (A link to an optional pattern is included in the notes section).
  5. Glue the numbered ornaments on the Christmas tree cut-out in ascending order. Start with the ornament labeled with 1 at the top of the tree. Each of the following 5 rows should include 1 additional ornament compared to the previous row. For the final row (row 7), glue the remaining 3 ornaments (numbers 22-24).
  6. If you are using paper towel rolls, cut them to the approximate size of toilet paper rolls.
  7. To form the treat containers, start from one end of the toilet paper roll, and make 4 evenly-spaced cuts, approximately 0.6 in (1.5 cm) long, to create 4 flaps. Repeat this on the other side.
  8. Close 1 side of the treat container by folding down each of the 4 flaps so that they overlap one another. Then tuck the corner of the top flap under the bottom flap to hold the end of the roll closed. This is now the bottom of your treat container.
  9. Repeat this process to create the remaining 23 treat containers.
  10. Cut 24 pieces of yarn, approximately 18 in (45 cm) in length.
  11. Thread the yarn through your yarn needle, and pierce a hole in one of the treat containers, about 0.3 in (0.76 cm) from the bottom.
  12. Feed the needle through the container until it exits on the opposite side so that you have half the thread hanging from each side of the container.
  13. Repeat this process for the remaining 23 treat containers.
  14. Using your yarn needle, make two small holes in the center of the ornament, about 0.8 in (2 cm) apart.
  15. Position the treat container with the yarn over the ornament, and feed one end of the yarn through the left hole, followed by the other end through the right hole.
  16. Flip the tree over, and secure the treat container by tying the ends of the yarn into a single bow.
  17. Repeat this process for the remaining 23 treat containers
  18. Fill each container with several healthy, natural dog treats.
  19. Close each container as described in step 8.
  20. Each day, remove one container from the tree, revealing the date underneath.
  21. Remove the yarn completely before giving the container to your pup, and watch them have fun figuring out how to get to the treats inside!

Notes

  • To download the ornament pattern, click here.
  • To download the calendar numbers, click here.
  • Avoid coloring or decorating the treat containers. Stick with a minimalist design to keep your pup safe.

FAQs: DIY Dog Advent Calendar

Can I use any type of treats for the advent calendar?

It’s important to use dog-safe treats that are free from harmful ingredients such as chocolate, xylitol, raisins, or macadamia nuts. Choose treats that are appropriate for your dog’s size and dietary needs.

How should I store the advent calendar to keep the treats fresh?

Store the advent calendar in a cool, dry place to prevent the treats from spoiling. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or high temperatures, as this can cause the treats to degrade.

Can I customize the advent calendar for my dog’s preferences?

Absolutely! Feel free to personalize the advent calendar by using your dog’s favorite treats or toys. You can also include special surprises like new chew toys, grooming products, or homemade treats.

Is it safe for my dog to ingest the cardboard toilet paper rolls?

While cardboard is generally safe for dogs to chew on, it’s best to monitor your dog while they interact with the advent calendar. Remove any remaining cardboard after your dog has retrieved the treats to prevent them from ingesting large pieces.

How far in advance should I make the DIY advent calendar?

It’s recommended to start making the advent calendar at least a week before December 1st to allow enough time for preparation and assembly. This will also give you time to gather all the necessary materials and treats.

Enjoy This idea? Save and Share!

title of this diy dog advent calendar will bring your and your pup 24 days of joy with image of diy dog advent calendar displayed next to table of christmas decorations

Check Out Some More Dog DIY Ideas

DIY Sock Octopus

DIY Sock Pumpkin

DIY Sock Bunny

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Instructions
Scroll to Top