Shelter Management

How to Make Catnip Toys & Bake Dog Biscuits

In this activity, students are introduced to animal shelters, the process of adopting a pet, and about giving of their time and talents.

Teacher Instructions

Read or ask your students to read "Let's Get a Pup" Said Kate by Bob Graham (Candlewick Press, 2001) or Lucky, A Dog's Best Friend by Gus Clarke (Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2005). Both books introduce students to animal shelters as a place for adopting pets into the family.

After reading one of the books, explain to your students that the class will be making some special treats and/or toys for the animals at your local animal welfare shelter or rescue group. Students can practice their measurement skills as they prepare specific quantities of the necessary ingredients.

Visit or check your local phone book to find your local shelters. Contact them to find out if they'd like to receive your donations.

National Education Standards Potentially Addressed by These Activities

NCTM Mathematics #1:

Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.

NCTM Mathematics #2:

Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements

NCTE English Language Arts #1:

Reading for perspective.

CNAEA Visual Arts #1:

Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.

How to Make a Catnip Toy

The kitties at the shelter will be so happy to have these fun toys to bat around!


  • Infant or child size crew socks
  • Cotton balls or craft stuffing
  • Dried catnip
  • Non-toxic permanent markers
  • Non-toxic washable fabric glue


  1. Stuff the toe of the sock with 1 tablespoon of dried catnip.
  2. Stuff the foot of the sock with cotton balls or craft stuffing.
  3. Squeeze fabric glue on the inside of the sock's ribbing to glue the sock closed or knot the top of the sock.
  4. Decorate with fabric markers.

Note: DO NOT add a fabric or yarn tail. It can be swallowed and become caught in the cat's intestines, which could possibly result in a need for surgery.

How to Make Crunch and Munch Dog Biscuits

Make sure there's an adult to supervise and read the entire recipe before you begin baking.


  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 cups cracked wheat or wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Makes 4 to 5 dozen dog biscuits


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Add to vegetable or chicken stock. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl; add stock mixture.
  3. Knead mixture on a floured surface for about 3 minutes, working into a stiff dough. Roll out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. You can cut them into bars or use a dog-bone cookie cutter.
  4. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon milk. Brush each biscuit with a little of the egg/milk mixture and place on cookie sheets. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, but leave biscuits in the oven overnight. This makes them hard and crunchy.


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