National Love Your Pet Day: 5 Ways to Celebrate

young couple kissing loyal dog on sandy terrain

February 20, 2021 is National Love Your Pet Day

Okay so I’m a day late posting this article but who says you can’t celebrate a special day all weekend, am I right? I mean people have birthday weeks, or even birthday months, so I feel like we can apply the same logic here… And since I believe that I happen to be a pretty fantastic, and rational, person, let’s get into it.

When I realized that National Love Your Pet Day was coming up, I was so excited! Not that I don’t love my pets every day, or spoil them constantly and shower them with all the hugs and kissy faces I possibly can; I was excited to think about how I could try doing something a little extra or different. Remember, our pets crave new experiences too and can become bored with the same routine day in and day out. Here’s a list of 5 things you can try out to add a little extra excitement to your pet’s day:

5 Ideas To Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day

1. Try A New Recipe or Treat

black and white dalmatian dog eating fruits

If you’re anything like me, then you spent meticulous time selecting the perfect food for your furry (or furless…some of us may prefer less…um…layers) family member. You scoured all the labels, read every vet guideline on nutrition requirements, and on and on. But if that’s not you, then I envy you. Because you’re likely an even keeled individual instead of an overly analytical head-case, and I applaud you.

However if you’ve ever noticed your dog or cat looking at your food longingly—possibly with a foot-long drool slinger hanging from it’s face, if your pet’s jowls are on the larger side—as you cram bite after bite into your face hole, then chances are your pet may appreciate an expanded menu.

We know maintaining a proper and healthy diet is important, so what the heck is okay for them to have? Well—and this was very difficult for me at first—the best answer is to keep it simple. Here’s some ideas to help navigate a few options:

Coffee Time How about a morning drive or walk to a nearby coffee shop that offers pet friendly items? This way you both get a treat!

Eggs Believe or not, many pets LOVE eggs. And the more basic the better! The seasonings and spices we use to flavor our foods are not always great for our pets, so if you want to treat your pet to a nice egg scramble it’s best to leave out the extras

Frozen Fruit & Veggies Yup, you read that right. Frozen fruits and vegetables help satisfy the desire to chew plus it’s a low calorie, high nutrition treat. However, not all fruit and vegetables are safe so be sure you do your research first and speak with your vet. Some safe options include green peas, carrots, broccoli, green beans and mangos to name a few.

Bone Stock Just like we enjoy adding sauces to our meals for some added flavor, your pet will love it too! Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend time scouring the internet for the perfect pet friendly recipe and then spend hours in the kitchen. There are lots of bone stock options available that are made specifically for your pet. These can be added to their usual food, or you can freeze it in a cube tray and serve as a flavor-packed frozen treat.

Homemade Meal This option may not be for everyone, and it’s advisable to speak with your vet first, but if you’re up to it there are many pet friendly recipes you can try. Pets can benefit greatly from fresh and whole foods, as whole foods are packed with vital nutrients and minerals. If you’ve ever been curious about fresh and whole food options for your pet, one of the companies I highly trust is Just Food For Dogs.

purebred dog running before hikers in woods
Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

2. Visit A New Spot

Eh, eh… My Pet Spot…visit a new “Spot”…nudge, nudge <insert giant nerdy grin with glasses here> Alright, alright moving on

We wake up in a zombie-like fashion, roll out of bed (this might be more literal for some of us), grab the closest thing that resembles clothing, then we take our obligatory stroll around the neighborhood or to the nearest grassy spot. We get home from a long, grueling day of work—many times so exhausted that we find ourselves no longer capable of uttering actual human words, but have regressed to only grunting noises—and who is there to greet us but our always loving pet, happy and bouncing around to see us. Because what have they been doing all day? F****ing NOTHING. All day. Nothing. Oh, to trade lives for a day. So you change, and again go on your obligatory stroll. If this seems somewhat lack-luster and boring to you, chances are your pet could use a change of scenery too.

Break the monotony and try someplace new! There are great parks for people with pets and families to try out, but one of my favorite places are wilderness preserves. These are small preserved areas that offer a space for local wildlife that are tucked within larger cities. It will feel like you have left the city, minus the drive. Visit your city’s local webpage to discover new places to visit.

grey kitten on floor
Photo by Marko Blazevic on Pexels.com

3. Practice Learning A New Trick

Stop it! No, Rex is not going to learn to do a back-flip off your shoulders in a day, or even a weekend. Let’s try something a little bit…um…slower paced

Even though it’s really cool (like reeeaaalllly cool) to see animals doing things like walking across a tight-rope, riding a unicycle, or performing parkour most pets are not going to learn these things because most owners do not have the time it takes to teach these amazing feats of athleticism. However, most of us DO have the time to work on smaller achievements.

How about teaching to shake or high-five?

Does your dog lose it’s ever loving mind whenever the doorbell rings? Try recording the sound of your doorbell to replay it for your dog, then reward them for being calm.

Even cats can respond to training! Don’t like it when Mr. Socks tries walking all over the counter when you’re trying to prepare dinner? Try using clicker training to teach that they will get rewarded for not walking on the counter.

These are just some ideas. There are endless training guides and resources out there to help you teach, and reinforce, positive behaviors in your pet.

black and white border collie puppy playing with toy figurine and stuffed toy on brown concrete floor
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

4. Replace Worn Out or Chewed Up Toys

This one is pretty self-explanatory but worth listing because even though we know that our dog’s favorite bone is nothing more than a nub, or that our cat’s favorite catnip mouse is nothing more than shredded rags and a tail, we don’t always prioritize replacing toys like we should. Let’s face it, most us have a lot on our plate, maybe even too much sometimes, but it’s one day (or weekend) and we all know a little extra online shopping or trip to the pet store won’t kill us (well…fingers crossed).

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched pets “unboxing” gifts, but it is truly one of the cutest f****ng things I have ever seen! Doesn’t it look like fun? Don’t you want your pet to be happy like the one in the video? Don’t be a monster. Buy your pet a box of toys.

satisfied man with dog on carpet in modern room
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

5. Make Extra Time

Out of everything on this list, this one is my favorite. It’s so simple, but the one thing your pet wants the most is time with you. Cue “Aaaaaawe” sound. I know. It sounds corny but it’s true.

We chose our pets because we wanted someone other than ourselves to come home to, we wanted a buddy, a companion and friend. Well our buddy loves spending time with us. For some, it’s literally what they seem to live for.

Have you ever stepped outside for a moment, maybe to check the mail, only to come back to wagging tails and slobbery kisses, or the most extreme head-bonks (for my cat peeps), as though you were gone for ages? Sometimes the best thing we can do for our pets is to spend a little extra time with them. Whether that be on a walk, chasing a feather on a string, or watching a movie while sharing an ice cream cone. Your pet just wants YOU.

woman touching cat with nose
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com

Final Thoughts

Showing our pets we care is important, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Please be sure to talk to your vet before making any changes to your pet’s food, or introducing new foods into your pet’s current diet.