WOOF, Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays to celebrate with your dog. As dogs give you unconditional love 365 days out of the year, it’s only fair that you love them back EVERY SINGLE DAY, and even more so on Valentine’s Day! Here are 10 easy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your beloved dog(s):
#1 Give them a PRESENT
ARRRF, start Valentine’s Day celebration right with their favorite type of treats, bones, or toys. To make this day extra fun, let them CHOOSE their present at the nearby pet supply store. They can sniff out exactly what goodies capture their picky wet noses. If you know exactly what they love, then you can SURPRISE them by ordering the goodies online beforehand and letting them unwrap the box!
#2 Give them YOUR full attention
GRRR! Stop playing with your phone when you’re with your pooches! Whenever I’m out on my walks, I never fail to see a human walking his or her dogs AND staring into a smartphone at the same time. Trade social media updates or random texts with your coworker FOR some quality time with your furry best friends. Phone usage while walking is also a dangerous habit as you and your dogs can face hazardous risks due to your inattention. Whether you’re walking or playing ball with them, don’t check your phone and learn to live in the moment on Valentine’s Day.
#3 TREAT yourselves
Chocolates, strawberries, and other sweets – YUM, isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? Yep, celebrate Valentine’s Day with your precious furkids by eating chops-licking desserts…TOGETHER. Although strawberries are safe for dogs, chocolate consumption can be toxic to their bodies. Alternatively, you can buy mouthwatering dog-safe desserts at your local dog bakery. OR better yet, bring your dogs there so their wet noses can do the selection. Some bakeries even offer dog-safe edibles that are perfectly fine for human consumption. MMMM, wag your tail to that!
#4 Make lunch or dinner reservations at a dog-friendly restaurant
Find a restaurant that allows dogs to dine with you (or perhaps with you AND your valentine). Even if you already have Valentine’s Day dinner date with a human and choose NOT to bring them along, you can still wine and dine your dogs before or after the date. Yippee, extend the celebration!
#5 Order food that they can also enjoy
What’s the point of dining out with your dogs when they’re simply ignored under the table? Make it a celebration WITH them! They’re not tagalongs or extras on the set – they ARE your Valentines. Order food that your dogs can also eat so they won’t feel left out. If you do not see anything on the menu that appears safe or suitable for their consumption, then ask if the chef can cook up a small, unseasoned piece of fish/meat or some veggies (that is, if your dog is a veggie lover like me). I love snacking on carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers, and zucchini. To be on the safe side, you can rinse out the seasoning with water or pack a bag of their favorite treats.
If you plan to stay at home for lunch or dinner, then you can easily COOK food that’s safe (and hopefully delicious) for both of you to grub.
#6 Let them lead (and see where life takes you)
Dogs are NOT robots! We get excited by scents, sights, and noises during walks. If you are used to leading every single walk, then I urge you to loosen up a bit and allow your dogs to safely take the lead on this special day (at least part of the walk). As the alpha dog, I love to lead my human pack to discover different neighborhoods AND new people (+ their furry friends).
I hate it when humans aggressively yank and scream at their dogs for wanting to go a different direction. Physical (and emotional) abuse are inhumane, outdated ways to get dogs to “listen.” There are certainly more humane ways to train; why not use positive reinforcement with irresistible treats instead? That is how dogs learn best.
#7 Take a Valentine’s Day afternoon nap together
One of the best ways to bond with your dogs is to sleep or cozy up with them. If you’ve never done it, then you’re missing out as it’s comforting to feel one another’s warmth. But don’t force it – allow them to naturally come to you when you’re on the couch or bed falling asleep to a Netflix movie. I love sleepy time with my humans as much as I love investigative walks and playtime!
#8 Have a doggie play date
Invite a close friend or family member with a dog (especially one that your dogs love to play with) on a doggie play date or picnic! It’s a wonderful way for you AND your dogs to spend time with loved ones. Valentine’s Day isn’t solely for lovers – it can also be about spending time with beloved people + furry pals in your life.
#9 Give them a belly rub
Although this ought to be a daily occurrence, you can give them an extra few minutes of relaxation for this special day. I mean, who can resist a good belly rub?
#10 Help a furry pal in need
If you are truly kind and compassionate to your dogs, then they are blessed to have found you (and of course, vice versa). Sadly, not every dog has a loving and pampered life. Make it your Valentine’s Day to help at least one dog or cat in need.
Some quick ideas: donate to an animal rescue or welfare organization, help find a lost cat or dog, offer to walk a dog that hardly gets walked, deliver a pack of Valentine’s Day goodies to a dog or cat who doesn’t get much attention, and/or SPEAK up for the neglected and abused. If you know or see a furry pal in an abusive, neglected, or suspicious situation, please DO NOT be a silent bystander.
As animals do not have a voice like humans, they desperately need your help more than ever.
BONUS: If you want to take photos of this special Valentine’s Day celebration with your dog, take MORE candid over staged photos!
Long, staged photo shoots are taxing and annoying for your dogs who prefer NOT to sit still while you mess with your iPhone or expensive Nikon for the right angle and lighting. My human LOVES taking pictures of me, but she will only stage quick 10 to 45-second photo shoots sparingly and “pays” me with lots of yummy treats before and after. She opts for more candid shots – as they show my natural state, candids are simply more fun and memorable. Therefore, capture the REAL Valentine’s Day moment with candids – I promise that they will mean so much more than making your dogs sit still with a heart prop.
That’s all I have, escapaders! How are YOU going to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your dog?
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob
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