How to Show Your Dog Some Love on Valentine’s Day

Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like we deserve dogs’ unconditional love. They truly are our best friends, always happy to see us and entertain us with their antics. And even though many of us have some pretty spoiled pups, it still feels like we could be doing more. So on this Valentine’s Day, here are eight ways to bond with your dog and show them some extra love.

1. Take a leisurely walk

What dog doesn’t love a nice stroll around the neighborhood? Depending on their overall health, age, breed and size, dogs need roughly 30 minutes to two hours of exercise every day, according to PetMD. This, of course, helps to keep them physically fit. And it relieves stress and boredom by engaging their minds, as well. So this Valentine’s Day, show your dog some love by going on an extra special walk. Try taking a different route, so they can experience new sights and smells. Or play matchmaker, and go on a walk with one of their doggie friends. Allow them to get out their mental and physical energy to their heart’s content, and they’ll love you for it.

2. Picnic in a dog-friendly park

A couple has a picnic with their dog.Credit: jacoblund/Getty Images

If you’re lucky enough to have nice weather on Valentine’s Day, get outside for a puppy picnic. Pack some dog-appropriate snacks — such as apple slices, carrots, plain popcorn or even strawberries (sans the chocolate coating) — and head to your favorite dog-friendly park. As much as your dog probably would love to wolf down their treats, turn the outing into a game. Bring puzzle toys to stuff with treats, and give your dog some mental stimulation. Or work on a few obedience commands, using your healthy snacks as rewards. Just remember that treats should only constitute about 10 percent of your dog’s diet, according to PetMD, so don’t go overboard. If you want, you can bring a portion of their daily food to use as treats instead.

3. Have some quality conversation

Every relationship needs good communication. And according to researchers from the University of York, communicating with your dog using “dog speak” — talking in a higher pitch with emotional emphasis and dog-related words (such as “good dog” or “walk”) — can actually strengthen your bond. The adult dogs in the study heard speakers who used both normal voice registers and higher pitches, with and without dog-related vocabulary. And the dogs ended up wanting to spend more time with the people who used “dog speak.” So if you truly want to bond on Valentine’s Day, have an animated chat with your dog, throwing in some of the words they know.

4. Offer a doggie massage

Some dogs might not love being surprised with a Valentine’s Day spa date — complete with a bath and nail trim. But most dogs probably wouldn’t turn up their noses at a massage courtesy of their humans. Carve out some time to give your dog your undivided attention and spoil them with petting — and possibly some brushing if that relaxes them, as well. “Slow petting, similar to gentle massage or light scratching, can calm a dog down,” VetStreet says. Plus, you might receive some benefits, too. According to Cleveland Clinic, petting a dog can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

5. Teach them a new trick

A dog gives a woman two high-fives.Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images

Practicing training commands with your dog is an essential part of your relationship. It helps to build their confidence and stimulate their minds, and it establishes a level of understanding and trust between the two of you. Plus, when you keep a training session fun and full of praise, most dogs see it as a great game, rather than work. So this Valentine’s Day, pick a trick to work on with your dog. According to Best Friends Animal Society, one useful command you might want your dog to know is “go to your place,” in which they settle on a particular spot where they can be safe and comfortable. Your dog might not learn this cue in one day, but they’ll the love the positive reinforcement coming from you while they practice.

6. Skip the candy and flowers

There are several Valentine’s Day traditions your dog definitely wouldn’t love — especially the emphasis on flowers and candy. So if you’ll be taking part in these human indulgences, keep anything dangerous far away from your pup. Know which plants are toxic to dogs and any other animals you might have in your house before you bring in floral arrangements. And don’t let any harmful foods — such as chocolate or candy sweetened with xylitol — near your dog’s mouth. Plus, keep cocktails, candles and any other potentially hazardous celebratory items out of reach. That way, you can spoil your dog with a healthy treat or new toy, rather than an emergency vet visit.

7. Learn to restart your dog’s heart

There are certain first-aid tips ideal for anyone with an animal to know. And one skill that just might save your dog’s life one day is CPR. With all the emphasis on hearts for Valentine’s Day, use it as a reminder to find pet CPR and first-aid classes near you. Your veterinarian should be able to give you some recommendations. Plus, while you’re at it, make sure you’re up to date on your regular vet checkups and medical care. Your dog might not necessarily feel the love at the vet, but they will appreciate every day they get to be their happy, healthy selves.

8. Go cuddle some shelter pups

A dog is in a kennel in an animal shelter.Credit: DanBrandenburg/Getty Images

If you don’t have your own dog — or just have a lot of canine love to share — consider heading to your local animal shelter to lend a helping hand. Roughly 3.3 million dogs (and 3.2 million cats) enter animal shelters in the United States every year, according to the ASPCA. And shelters need all the help they can get in caring for these animals. Call your shelter on Valentine’s Day, and ask what donations it needs. Sign up to volunteer as a dog walker, foster or any other way you feel you can help. And discourage people in your life from impulsively giving animals as gifts for holidays. Instead, suggest they sponsor a shelter animal until they’re ready for their own.

Main image credit: Kosamtu/Getty Images

52 comments

David C
David C11 hours ago

thanks

SEND
David C
David C11 hours ago

thanks

SEND
David C
David C11 hours ago

woof

SEND
David C
David C11 hours ago

woof

SEND
danii p
danii p14 hours ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
danii p
danii p14 hours ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
danii p
danii p14 hours ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
maria r
maria reis15 hours ago

Thanks.

SEND
Maria Papastamatiou

Thanks for posting. Will try to apply on a daily basis.

SEND
Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill1 days ago

thanks

SEND