Showing Pet Appreciation on Valentine’s Day

By, Phoenix Robertson 

Valentine’s Day is known as a day to show your love and appreciation for those around you. Many give gifts of chocolate, flowers, and quality time to their families and friends. While these gifts are generally safe bets, if you’re in a time crunch looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, they could be deadly to a few creatures also worthy of your appreciation. This special group is pets! As a pet parent and animal lover, I’m going to share my tips for showing your pets a bit of love this February 14th. Before we embark—all puns intended—on this adventure I’d like to thank my dog, Sergeant Pepper, for being my inspiration for this article. Thank you for everything, Sarge, and happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Causes Chaos.

Billions of dollars worth of chocolate are sold and enjoyed on Valentine’s Day each year. This wonderful treat for humans is highly toxic to dogs, cats, and many other species of animals. This is due to chocolate’s composition of cocoa, which includes the compound of theobromine. While the toxicity of theobromine is dose-related, it is always best to avoid giving your pets chocolate in any amount. If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested chocolate, then contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline to see if a poisonous amount of chocolate was ingested. 

If you want your pet to have a non-poisonous alternative to chocolate this holiday season, then look no further: Carob-based treats are the answer to your pleas. Carob has been labeled as a non-toxic treat for animals and is similar in both appearance and taste to chocolate. Carob-based treats are available for pets of all species and come in various forms. These include pet-safe ice creams, cookies, and carob chips. Carob also works well in photography involving pets since it is non-toxic and does not melt in the same way that chocolate does. If you have any concerns about treats, pet food, or other dietary aspects of your pet’s life, contact your veterinarian or pet-care professional before making any decisions you are unsure about. 

Pet treats and food can be extremely expensive, especially if you are looking for anything outside of the ordinary. An alternative to buying a whole box of specialty treats is to go to a restaurant that gives special treats to pets. The most common of these free-with-a-purchase treats being “pup cups”. Pup cups are a small cup filled with whipped cream that, in moderation, can be a sweet treat for your pet. Many restaurants, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, offer pup cups with the purchase of a food or drink item. For a list of more chain restaurants that offer pup cups, check out this link.  

Give Themed Toys and Blankets. 

Pets are special creatures that provide their humans with care and comfort all year round, so it’s important to remember them when shopping for gifts this Valentine’s Day. A surplus of themed pet toys, gear, and clothes are available in many online or physical stores. For a fun “get out of the house” activity, take your pet to a store that allows animals to walk inside and let them pick out a toy for themselves. I have had a lot of fun with Sarge taking him inside stores and giving him the opportunity to make choices for himself. This can also act as a fun socializing experience for you and your pet. 

Consciously Spend Time with Your Pet.

As fun as going to the store and out to pet-friendly restaurants may be, it is important to be conscious about the way that you spend time with your pet. Don’t put them in overly stimulating situations or high stress situations. This can result in weakened immune systems, elevated blood pressure, and can contribute to heart, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin conditions. Stress can also result in long-term behavioral problems. 

It’s pivotal to also be fully present when you are trying to create special moments for you and your animal companion. A general rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t do something while you are spending time with a person, then don’t do it when you’re hanging out with your pet. Animals have feelings too. Animals can think, feel, and even experience empathy. I implore you to show a bit of compassion and sympathy for your pet this Valentine’s Day— they certainly show you these kindnesses. 

The most important thing about you spending time with your pet is to remember their likes,dislikes, and limits. If you are only going to do an activity with your pet to post about it online or take photos but know that it is something your pet would dislike or wouldn’t be able to do safely, then I would urge you to rethink your choices. The safety and wellbeing of you and your pet should always come first. If you have any concerns about an activity or idea you have surrounding your pet, then it is always best to consult with an expert, such as your veterinarian or other pet-care professionals. 

I hope you all enjoyed this article and will consider making some of these tips a part of your Valentine’s Day with your pet. Thank you all for reading, Happy Valentines Day, and remember to consult your veterinarian for any questions or concerns you have about caring for your pet!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s