Your Pet, Your Valentine

As Valentines Day rapidly approaches, you may be searching for that perfect someone to be your Valentine. If you have a pet, look no further than your four-legged companion. This day can be stressful and sometimes cliche. All of the flowers, stuffed teddy bears, boxes of chocolate or even trying to make last minute dinner reservations. Why not mix things up a bit this year? Here are some ways to make Valentines Day with your pet the best Valentines Day ever.

Watch A Movie Together

If your ritual on Valentine’s Day is to stay home in your pajamas and watch The Notebook while crying about how romance is dead, why not do it with your dog? Your dog is likely the best snuggle buddy you have. Grab some popcorn, order some take out, find your favorite movie and curl up on the couch with Fido. You don't even have to get them a gift. Your dog provides unconditional love at all times and would love nothing more than to just spend some time with you.

Have A Photo Shoot

Statistics show that people value photos of their pets being recognized over photos of themselves. I'd be willing to bet that if you opened your photos on your phone right now you’ve got a million photos of you and your dog, but do you have any themed photo shoots? Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take a series of photos that show the world that you and your pup are meant for each other.

To make your photo session extra cute, look at engagement photos for inspiration … use props like a chalk board that shows your dog’s adoption date, dress up in matching red outfits and amp up the lovey-dovey level with kissy pics. Then show all of your social media buddies that you and your dog will be together fur-ever. They say a picture is worth a thousand words...what do you want your picture to say?

Share The Love

There are tons of pets waiting for their forever Valentines in shelters across the country, and you can make their wait a little easier by donating to your local shelter. Most shelters can use old blankets and towels, dog beds, paper towels, cleaning supplies, unopened bags of food, peanut butter and hard rubber treat dispensing toys. You can always donate two of the most important resources that every shelter appreciates: a financial contribution or your time.

I don't know a shelter who wouldn't love to have extra help. Many are run strongly based on volunteers so they are always looking for a helping hand. Rolling up your sleeves and helping pets in need can be very rewarding. Your dog probably wouldn’t mind sharing you for a few hours per week with the dogs at the shelter that could use a little TLC.

To spread the love in a less formal way, consider taking your well-mannered pooch to say hello an elderly neighbor who doesn’t get many visitors. Spending time with a new wiggly, tail-wagging friend is sweeter than a candy conversation heart. I guarantee you will put a smile on their face.

Do Something They Love To Do

If your dog's version of the perfect day involves running laps at the dog park, take him! If he loves going on long walks more than anything else, lace up your shoes and get going. Maybe he loves hanging his head out of the window on a car ride. Gas up the tank and hit the road. Let him feel the wind in his ears! Your cat would leap for joy if you joined in on their playtime.

Whatever you do, remember it's all about them. Try not to think about work, or the never ending "to do" list. Just relax and help your pup have the best day ever.

Things To Avoid

  • Chocolate: The higher the cocoa content, the higher the risk. Baker's or dark chocolate contains a high level of cocoa, whereas the content in milk chocolate is much lower. It only takes a small amount, even where the cocoa content is lower, to cause a toxic reaction. A 3 ounce chunk of dark chocolate is enough to be fatal to a dog weighing 25 pounds.

  • Yeast Dough: With all the baking that happens around Valentines Day, this is a common presenting toxicity we see in the clinic. Once ingested, the uncooked dough for breads, rolls, and other baked goods can literally rise in a dog's stomach and result in a blockage that could require surgery to treat. A secondary toxicity can occur as well. After the yeast rises, the alcohol produced during fermentation can cause alcohol poisoning.

  • Lillies: Lilies are extremely toxic to cats and cause acute kidney failure within a day or two of exposure. If untreated, the exposure will likely result in death. The ingestion of just one or two leaves or petals can cause sudden kidney failure. Even ingesting small amounts of pollen from a cat’s fur is considered poisonous. Thankfully, these plants don’t cause serious harm in dogs – only in cats. When ingested by dogs, they will usually result only in mild gastrointestinal upset.

  • Roses: Roses are arguably the most popular flower on Valentines Day. Although roses do not often cause serious poisoning beyond gastrointestinal upset, there is risk for trauma to the mouth and paws from the thorns. If a large amount is ingested, a bowel obstruction may result.

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