A new dog toy + lots of attention = best Valentine’s Day ever
Dogs love us unconditionally. One might say they even specialize in healing our hearts and keeping them healthy. That’s why we think Valentine’s Day should be an official dog appreciation day: an ode to our best friends and their unwavering loyalty. Who’s more deserving of a heart-shaped biscuit, a new dog toy, and a poem? No one more than your dog, we say! So we’ve listed ten great ways you can show your dog all the love on Valentine’s Day this year. Enjoy!
1. Play with them.
Toys are great but interaction is better. If they love fetch, get outside and get that puppy running! If they love tug-o-war, practice dropping it and trading for another toy or treat to make the game a wonderful learning opportunity. And if they’re just a good old fashioned attention hog, play a game like Hide N’ Seek or Find The Treat. Nothing strengthens our bonds with dogs more than play.
2. Talk to them.
With so many things competing for our focus these days, it’s important to set time aside for you and your dog to talk. That’s right, we said talk. Chatting with your dog isn’t crazy. Research shows that our dogs very much enjoy conversation, even if they don’t understand what we’re saying. So pour your heart out, share all your secrets, read them that poetry, or just tell them you love them. They appreciate your company and the sound of your voice.
3. Go for a walk.
Nothing says I love you more than a nice long stroll at the park or through the woods. Bring water, some treats, and potty bags.
4. Get them a new dog toy.
Whether your dog loves balls, chewing, or nuzzling a plushy, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to choose a dog toy that is safe for your dog to play with and always monitor them if they have destructive tendencies. (psst… the iFetch Frenzy provides hours of play for your clever pet and it’s $10 off now through Valentine’s Day with code FRENZY10. Yay.)
5. Teach them a new trick.
Quality time isn’t just cuddles and walks. Dogs old and young love to learn and interact with you. Tricks are extra special because, unlike obedience, there’s no pressure to take them seriously. They are 100% fun! Also, teaching your dog new things can help keep their mind sharp well into old age. A quick stroll through YouTube will turn up a ton of tricks that anyone can teach at home. Just be sure to use positive reward-based methods and pick a trick that comes naturally to your dog.
6. Set up a playdate.
Playdates with other social, well-mannered dogs are the best way to socialize your dog with others. Picking a dog that enjoys the same play style as yours and is roughly the same energy level helps ensure success. Not sure how your dog will do with another dog? Don’t rush it. Go for a walk together instead and, if it’s a match, let them play after they’ve gotten the initial excitement out of their system.
7. Have a spa day.
Being fresh and clean makes dogs feel good, hence the wonderful zoomies they get afterward. Trimming nails will keep your dog’s paws healthy and strong over time. Brushing teeth and cleaning their ears will prevent future infections. Grooming isn’t always our favorite chore, but this labor of love is well worth the effort and makes for a much nicer cuddling experience later on.
8. Consider adopting another dog.
Of course, this suggestion isn’t for everyone. But if your dog is lonely and you have room in your budget and home, a buddy to play with can be the best gift of all. One great way to go about finding the right match is consulting your local adoption counselor at the shelter. You may also consider fostering first; that way you give a dog who needs a home a nicer environment, and you can help them find a home if it isn’t a match. If your dog is picky about their friends, consider hiring a professional trainer to assist you in making a good match.
9. Commit to teaching them manners.
Naughty dog habits are often a cry for clarification. Make peace by teaching your dog obedience essentials like sit, down, stay, leave it, drop it, come, and go to bed. These simple cues can help resolve just about any behavior problem in a positive way. Don’t jump, do sit. Don’t counter surf, do leave it. Don’t pull toward other dogs, do sit and stay. You don’t even have to correct them, just tell them what to do instead. Your dog will adore you for being clear and concise about your desires, and their behavior will improve!
10. Make them some treats!
There are dog treat recipes all over the internet for every dog diet and preference, but we’ve shared one of our favorites below. These are breakable for training or can be eaten whole as a special treat. It’s super easy to make them into little heart shapes too!
Yummy GF Dog Treats
- 1 cup Oat or Rice Flour
- 1 ripe Banana, mashed
- 1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin (unsweet)
- ¼ cup Peanut Butter*, smooth (unsweetened)
- 1 tbsp Flax Flour or Ground Flax Seeds
- Mash peeled banana, pumpkin and peanut butter until smooth.
- Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time, mixing in slowly.
- Add Flax and fold until combined evenly.
- The dough should be a little sticky and firm, but banana sizes vary. Add a touch more banana or flour if needed.
- Knead with your hands into a ball of dough.
- Chill for 30 minutes to firm it up.
- Preheat your oven to 325 F.
- Flour your counter or parchment paper and roll the dough out to a little less than half inch thickness.
- Cut into whatever shapes you prefer. Small-to-medium biscuits cook best.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay out your biscuits.
- Poke a few holes in each biscuit with a toothpick to let moisture escape while baking.
- Bake 25-35 minutes.
- Remove and let cool.
- Enjoy a few with your dog.
- Store in air-tight container for up to 3 months in the freezer.
So whether you celebrate with a dog toy or tasty biscuits or just play time, all of us at iFetch wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with lots of wags and sloppy dog kisses! xoxo