Make a Reverse Advent Calendar for Your Dog

Make a Reverse Advent Calendar for Your Dog

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Who doesn’t love counting down ‘til the holidays? We’ve got a twist on the traditional – make a reverse Advent Calendar for your dog. It’s an easy and creative project for you to bring some magic to Christmas.

Dog with a holiday collar sitting by an DIY Advent Calendar for dogs

Advent Calendars are a fun way to count down the days leading up to Christmas or any celebration you’re looking forward to.  Getting a little treat in anticipation of the big event helps the time to pass more quickly.

But you know – Christmas is all about giving. So why not take this time to exercise your generosity muscles? Instead of giving your own dog a treat for each day, the reverse Advent Calendar allows you to give a gift to another dog or dog owner. And, there’s a surprise ending…

One great thing about this reverse Advent Calendar is it can be used year after year. OR you can repurpose the muffin tin as a training toy for your dog. Hide treats in each cup and cover with tennis balls or use as a slow feeder. No waste!

  • Before you get started, find your favorite shelter’s ‘Wish List’ and decide what items you can contribute.
  • Don’t think in terms of just donating items. You can also make a commitment to donating some time.
  • Know anyone with a new puppy on the way? You could help with the supplies they need.
  • Look beyond your local rescues to your own neighborhood. Do you have any elderly neighbors in need of some help walking their dog? Anyone who needs a transport to the groomers? Could you possibly pick up some doggie waste for someone in need?
  • What about your local training club – do they need someone to help repair or clean equipment?

The ways to give-back are endless!

Here’s how it works:

Fill your Advent Calendar with strips of paper with your chosen gifts written on them. (Okay, go ahead and add a puppy treat for your dog to each muffin cup if you want!) Starting December 1st, open one cup per day and take action on the gift you’ve decided to give.

If you’re donating to just one shelter or rescue, you can add each gift to a basket and deliver them on the last day. If you’ve decided to gift things to different people or organizations, you could deliver each day. And if you’re donating your time, take that day to make arrangements to walk a rescue dog, submit your volunteer form to the shelter or go ‘scoop some poop’ for a senior neighbor.

But the fun doesn’t stop there…

You’re not finished yet! Once you’ve completed the first 12 days, now comes some surprises for you and your dog.

Dog peeking around the side of a DIY Advent Calendar for dogs

Make a list of 12 activities you can do with your dog to celebrate the holidays. How about baking some yummy dog-safe treats? Take a walk in the snow? Snuggle up in front of the fire? Drive around and view Christmas lights?

Write these activities on slips of paper, put them in the muffin tin and cover. Begin with Number 12 and start counting down to the Big Day. Each day open a cup and find out what fun activity you and your dog are going to experience together!

Here’s how to make your own advent calendar. You may have most of the supplies you need already on hand.

Links ahead to essential crafting supplies you’ll need. As an Amazon Associate I earn a bit from from qualifying purchases.


  • 12cup muffin tin
  • Magnetic backing
  • Circle cutter or scissors, paper edger and compass
  • Craft paper, embellishments, glue sticks
  • Spray paint in a festive color
  • Ribbon

This is totally optional: If you’re not planning to repurpose the muffin tin into a training toy for your dog, feel free to spruce up the color with a quick coat of spray paint. Otherwise, you’re good to go.

Measure the diameter of your muffin cups. Add ¼” to allow magnetic backing to overlap the top of the tin.

Remove protective cover from the magnetic backing and carefully align craft paper on sticky surface. Press gently to adhere. Cut 12 circles using your circle cutter. If you don’t have a circle cutter, no problem. Trace a circle onto magnetic backing and cut using scissors.

BIG TIP: If you’re like me, hand cutting is not going to give you perfect circles. Great way to solve the problem is to cut them with a pair of paper edgers. Voila! Scalloped edges hide any imperfections.

Cutting a magnetic backing with scalloped edges using  corkscrew scissors

If your muffin tin shape allows, you could also take the very easy route and cut squares to cover the holes.

Now’s the time to exercise some creativity. You could use pre-made embellishments, stencil paw prints, add ribbon or glitter, or paint your own designs. Use your imagination. Attach your embellishments atop the craft paper circles.

Assortment of Christmas  craft papers with red plaid, green, pink and blue trees and dotted garland
Twelve Days of Christmas embellishments to be used on a DIY Advent Calendar for dogs

Add a beautiful ribbon to the top of the tin. My muffin tin came with a hole already in place, but you could drill a hole if need be or simply attach your ribbon with sticky tack and remove later.

A DIY reverse Advent Calendar for dogs made from a muffin tin.

Options are Endless

Feel free to experiment with different coverings for the muffin tin.

Thin pieces of wood cut in circles or small slices of a tree branch would be perfect to paint. Attach magnetic paper or a small magnetic strip to the back, superglue a loop of string and you have small ornaments that can be hung on the tree after they come off the Advent Calendar.

Ready for even MORE holiday ideas?

We teamed up with some amazing dog mom bloggers to create these resources for YOU. Browse through this list of projects, advice and recipes you can use to make your doggo’s holiday even better.

The Pets Digest Top tips to keep your dog and cat safe during the Holidays.

Vet After Hours – Tips to reduce your dog’s stress this Christmas.

Spoiled Hounds – What to consider before getting a puppy for Christmas.

Wear Wag Repeat – How to make a DIY Holiday Snuffle Mat for dogs.

Canine Compilation Best Holiday gifts for dogs and dog moms.

The Emerald Hound – Holiday gift tag printable.

Canine Compilation – Healthy Snowman Cake recipe for dogs.

Planning to make a reverse Advent Calendar for your dog? Please feel free to share a photo in the comments.

Like this idea? Pin to your favorite Pinterest board.

Pinterest Pin for DIY Reverse Advent Calendar for your dog
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  1. Pingback: Dog Parent Guide To Happy Holidays 2020 - canine compilation

  2. Pingback: Tips To Reduce Your Dog's Stress This Christmas ~ Vet After Hours

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