“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” -John Grogan
In honor of “National Love Your Pet Day,” we want to share some helpful suggestions to enhance your human and animal bond with your pet. Pets are an incredible gift to us; they truly love us more than they love themselves. As owners, we need to figure out the preferred way our pets want to receive love. Every pet’s definition of affection is different, so this blog hopes to provide you with some tips to find out what makes your pet’s little heart tick with joy!
Dogs tend to be very expressive and will let you know their emotions with their body language. Take cues from their ear position, tail movement, and eyes to see if they are enjoying your affection. Be on the lookout for signs of stress and back off if your pet seems unsure of your touch or affection.
- Grooming – Keeping your dog’s ears clean, nails trimmed, teeth brushed, and fur clean and brushed show that you care about their health and well-being.
- Walking – Daily walks are a great way for you and your pup to get some exercise together, spend time outside, and build trust. Go at your own pace and take time to let your pooch sniff.
- Hiking – Hiking is a fun way to exercise outdoors together in nature and increase the intensity for active breeds who need to blow off more steam. Check out some trails in your local area and have fun exploring together! Be sure to keep them on a leash around new areas and be mindful of leash laws at new parks. Additionally, it is always encouraged to keep your dog leashed when in a public park. Even if your pet is non-reactive and allowed off-leash at other locations, you still never know what type of dog you’ll come across. If you were to potentially walk near an animal-reactive dog, the situation could escalate quickly. It’s best to play it safe, be considerate of others, and keep your dog leashed.
- Playing – Whether it’s fetch, frisbee, or find it – make sure you provide plenty of time to play with your dog. Check out our Pinterest Page for some great resources and playtime ideas!
- Training – In order to reinforce basic obedience, you can use fun tricks, games, and exciting challenges to help train your pup. If you’re interested in learning some new training techniques, we recommend the book “101 Tricks For Your Dog” by Kyria Sundance for some easy-to-learn fun!
- Petting – When sitting on the floor, the couch, or the bed – pet your dog with lots of ear scratches and belly rubs to communicate that this is their 1-on-1 time to be loved. Spending daily quality time with your pup is a great way to build confidence and trust with your furry friend.
- Dog Sports – These are a great way to exercise your pup, teach them something new, and maybe even compete in something together! Reach out to our office for recommendations on resources for agility, flyball, earth dog trials, and even search and rescue training!
Cats can be a little more selective with their preferred ways to show affection, and they will certainly let you know if you have crossed their boundaries. Be sure to tune in to what makes your feline friend purr with joy!
- Cuddle – Some felines like to snuggle up in a warm lap, and others want to watch from afar; either way, let cats cuddle with you on their own terms.
- Space –Designate a cat zone in your home to create a safe space for your cat to escape. Fill it with their favorite toys, their meal area, a high place to get away, a cozy bed, and a scratching post.
- Treats/Food –You can make mealtime exciting with a food-dispensing toy to help your cat use their hunting instincts. However, overfeeding can easily occur with free-fed dry kibble and canned food, so make sure to keep their weight in check. Be sure to keep fresh water available all day. (ex. Use feline-friendly fountains.)
- Petting –Every cat has their zone of good touch and bad touch, so be sure to know what areas are safe to pet.
- Catnip –Spoil them with some catnip as a fun treat.
- Scratching Posts –Cats need an outlet to wear down their claws. By having a scratching post, you will not only save them from getting hooked in something and possibly injured but also protect your furniture and woodwork, as well!
- Sunny Napping Spots –Have blinds or curtains open during the day to create sunny places for your kitty to nap peacefully as they move around the house with the sun. Additionally, it’s a good idea to leave any travel crates/carriers easily accessible throughout your home for cats to explore and nap in when they want. If carriers are only pulled out prior to vet visits, your cat may automatically associate the carrier with stress. Instead, by allowing your cat to get comfortable with the carriers on a regular basis, they will be less likely to preemptively get nervous before appointments.
One of the best ways you can show your pets you care is to make sure they receive the routine veterinary care they need.
- Exams – Keep your pet up to date on wellness exams, annual vaccinations, and routine bloodwork. Please feel free to call our office if you ever have concerns regarding your pet’s appointments.
- Preventatives – Flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives should be given year-round to protect your pets from harmful pests and parasites. Ask us about which ones are best for your pet and we can help you order them with our online pharmacy to either pick up at our office or ship to your home.
- Dental Cleanings – Dental health affects more than just teeth and gums. Just like people, sometimes pets need professional dental cleanings to help scale off built-up tartar and clean under the gum line. Check out our pet dental care blog for more information about our dental services, tips for at-home care, and recommendations for dental care products.
- Fear Free – Visits to the vet don’t need to be scary! Our Fear Free Certified Practice has methods in place for every stage of our appointments to help keep pets calm and provide them quality care and love in a peaceful environment. Give our office a call to learn more about what we can do to make your pet’s visit stress-free!