Last year for Valentine’s Day, twenty-seven percent of Americans said they would buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, according to the National Retail Federation. “[This is] the highest figure in the history of the survey and up from 17 percent in 2010 for a total $1.7 billion,” NRF said. That’s a lot of heart-shaped chew toys! After nearly a year of pandemic conditions impacting the economy, this year’s consumer spending for the holiday remains to be seen. But regardless of how you celebrate the season, there are plenty of ways to show your puppy some love that won’t throw off your budget.
Following the trend of giving an experience instead of merchandise can address cost considerations, as well as turning up the thoughtfulness-meter. Just like in our human relationships, often what our pets want most is our time and undivided attention. Here are five ideas to get you started:
- Make homemade dog treats. Spend some time in the kitchen baking up some dog-friendly cookies, chocolate-free pupcakes or no-bake treats. You’ll find plenty of recipes online, and your pup will be so excited to “help” with any spills and ensure you don’t have to deal with leftovers.
- Go on a picnic or patio date. For a dog-and-COVID-friendly outing, consider packing a picnic with your dog’s favorite foods to enjoy at a nearby park. Or look for local restaurants that allow dogs for patio dining. Some establishments offer special treats and fresh water bowls for your canine dining companions.
- Arrange a playdate. If your dog loves horsing around with other dogs, fill his happiness bucket to the brim with a pre-arranged playdate with friends. Or sign your pup up for a full day of fun at a local doggie daycare.
- Plan a photo shoot. Make memories and capture them at the same time with a Valentine’s photo shoot. You can hire a professional or arrange to meet up with a friend and trade off being in front of the camera. You can spend some extra time before the photos grooming your dog or bring your pup to our groomers here at Simonton Veterinary Clinic for a pampered pooch who is camera-ready. Bonus: Your pup will smell great and be ready for all those extra hugs!
- Schedule a movie night. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s than some canine-centered cinema? Grab your comfy PJs and some snacks for you and your pooch (same bowl not recommended). Whether you’re in the mood for a classic love story (perhaps Lady and the Tramp?) or a more recent comedy (like the live-action movie version of Scooby Doo), settle in for some quality time together.
However you decide to celebrate when February 14th rolls around, it’s the perfect season to honor the unconditional love our pets give us all year long.
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved” – George Sands