Pet Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day celebrates the love we share with those closest to our heart. And who better to appreciate than our beloved animals! So, in this season of hugs and kisses, it’s a great time for a quick inventory to ensure your cats and dogs are displaying happy, loving behavior. We’ll also share an idea or two on expressing love for them in the best possible way.
Cat Body Language
Cats have a wide range of emotions just like us humans. The key to a loving and trusting relationship with your favorite feline is to recognize when they feel happy, sad, afraid, relieved or frustrated, and then respond appropriately. The same applies to affection. While some cats enjoy long, intense snuggles, many prefer short, frequent pets. Many cats will become disgruntled with long pets so remember to read what they want, even if it is just a quick head rub on their way passing through. Also, many older cats suffer, sometimes silently, from painful conditions such as arthritis. As such, they may not like being pet on their back as vigorously as they once did. If your once loving kitty is suddenly aloof or giving an occasional “swat”, don’t automatically dismiss it. (See cat body language graphic below).
Want to send a big “I love you” to your cat on Valentine’s Day? Consider a fun food puzzle so your kitties can have fun foraging for their meals. Or perhaps a nice new perch where they can feel like royalty upon their high throne! To encourage use of a new perch or scratching post, try a pheromone spray like the ones through Feliway. And don’t forgot the three ESSENTIAL resources for your cats that include fresh water, a good diet and an easily accessible clean litter box.
Cat note of caution: while some flowers are gifts, others can be toxic to cats…we’re looking at you, lilies!! See full list of toxic plants to cats below.
Dog Body Language
The language of canines is often a bit more familiar to us. Wiggling dogs are quick to put a smile on any a face. BUT, don’t be fooled by a wagging tail. While a wagging tail can certainly be a sign of a happy dog, it simply means that a dog is excited and stimulated. A dog that is wagging his tail but giving signals that are NOT positive should be approached with caution.
Besides showering your four-legged friend with love and affection, consider celebrating your appreciation with homemade dog treats (recipes abound, so pick one that appeals to you and your pooch and make sure to get it approved by your veterinarian before making). Then, enjoy a nice walk together in the outdoors or some snuggle time in the evening. Perhaps end the night with a small plate of fresh fruit for dessert. Did we say fruit?? You betcha…just make sure NO grapes – they can be toxic!
Dog note of caution: while we all LOVE chocolate on Valentine’s Day, it is highly toxic to dogs. It’s always smart to keep the ASPCA Poison Control number on hand in case of an emergency (888) 426-4435
Here’s wishing you and your beloved animals the most beautiful Valentine’s Day! Remember, your pet is your biggest supporter and number one fan, and a special and safe Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to show you care.
– Dr. Emily Andersen, DVM, CVA, CVFT
(A young Dr. Emily and her family’s rescued German Shepherd, Jack.)
For more information:
Toxic Plants for Cats: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list
Fruits For Dogs: https://www.avondaleanimal.com/blog/safe-fruits-vegetables-pet.html
Chocolate Toxicity: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952115
ASPCA Poison Control: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control