Love your pet day is not just once a year, it’s every day. Nevertheless, who can resist a little bit of added festivity with the official Love Your Pet Day this 20 Feb!
To celebrate, we’ve done our homework on the top 10 ways your pet wishes you loved them. We couldn’t find a pet translator device, but we’ve done the next best thing. We’ve completed a survey with pet parents, taken expert advice from vets, and talked to animal specialists!
We’ve compiled all our findings in one place – right here. Find out how to love your pet with these 10 top results…
1. Sleep with them in your bed
It’s a rare fur kid that doesn’t love to snuggle their pet parent in the dark of night… Our animal insiders tell us that this is one of the key ways your pet wishes you showed you loved them. If you’re not already, that is.
Pet fur and midnight paws to the head aside, there are many positives to this for us humans. Pets have the magical and medical ability to spike our happy hormones and reduce our heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol! They’re like miracle drugs.
Many of us only have time to spend with our pets on weekends and evenings. So why not capitalise on the remaining time when we’re asleep to be close to our pets. Our survey shows a whopping 73% of pet parents already benefit from this. Clearly, they know what princess Jasmine knows – keep your tiger close.
Find out why you should be sleeping with your dog (or cat) in your bed.
2. Spay and neuter your pets
You may not know it, but spaying and neutering pets can significantly improve their quality of life. Desexing your cat before their first heat can reduce their chance of mammary/breast cancer by seven-fold. Mammary cancer can affect male and female cats and dogs but it’s most prevalent in females, and it’s often malignant.
Desexing your dog has similar benefits.
For example, the risk of testicular cancer for male cats and dogs is entirely removed if they’re neutered.
There are lots of other dangers with not de-sexing too, like accidents that happen to pets who are out roaming looking for a ‘friend’.
Pets get very vocal (aka loud) when they’re on heat. Then they’ll spray random parts of your house (not the litterbox) to send pheromone signals to would-be-mates.
In New Zealand, many unwanted animals are euthanised every week because shelters are overpopulated. Then in summer there’s a further increase in unwanted pets.
And sadly, many of them are the offspring of indiscriminate breeding.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t let your meow or woof have kittens or puppies. But if you are going to, make sure it’s a well-informed decision rather than an educated (or not) guess.
3. Love your pet with routine pet care
Routine pet care is like a beauty regime – it’s a handful of actions that follow a routine and result in a better quality of life. You may think, “cats in the bag, I’ve definitely got these basics covered.” But in the daily life of a busy professional/grocery-shopping/parent/chef, these basics can sometimes fly out the window.
Needless to say, a quick recap won’t do us any harm:
- Flea and tick prevention – ticks and fleas bite humans too, so it’s beneficial to you and your fur kid to use a treatment. Chat to your vet about choosing a product and maintenance plan
- Dental care – dog (and cat) breath can sometimes lead to tooth rot. Regular brushing and a healthy diet are important in prevention (plus it’s cheaper than fixing the problem once it develops)
- Vaccinations – baby pets need basic protection from viruses and other illnesses. Once they’re older, they need booster vaccinations according to your vet’s recommendation
- Worming – generally once every three months will rid your pet of icky-crawly intestinal parasites
- Grooming – lots of cats/dogs need their nails trimmed and their fur brushed on a regular basis. Dogs need to be bathed regularly but don’t give your cat a bath
See – it really does sound like a beauty regime. Because, when it comes to pets, beauty is really another way of saying healthy 😊.
If you’re a new pet parent, you may want more than just a recap. You’ll be on your way to success with these 5 routine pet care focuses for your new puppy or kitten.
4. Pamper your cat to show pet love
Cats live to be pampered. They may seem independent, but at heart they’re really aching to also be called our best friends. Not only is pampering a way to bond with your feline, it also keeps them happy (reads healthy).
Our top 10 ways to pamper your cat (dog people don’t go, the next one’s for you) include sharing your space, grooming regularly, special treats, giving them a high safe perch area, kitty playdates, cat massages and more.
5. Train your puppy to show you love them
Puppies love training time. It means dedicated one-on-one time with their human. Basic puppy training tips like sit, stay and come are top of the list. These commands are also used as the foundations for more complex instructions. In other words, they’re like the A, B, C’s – of puppy training. Once puppy learns them it’s a hop and a skip to writing prose, aka doing more advanced commands.
Toilet training your puppy is another basic your puppy needs for everyday life. Once pooch identifies his spot, he’ll do his duties in the same place every day. Help him find the right spot early on. Give him a guiding paw toward the garden or similar place of poop for a happy (read: hygienic) household.
Once you’ve got the basics down you can move onto these 5 easy dog training tricks, like give me five (or paw).
6. Avoid toxic things
Most sweet tooth-ers with a furry family member know chocolate isn’t good for dogs or cats. No Easter eggs for them over the next few weeks, please – despite the begging.
But did you know that some low-calorie, wholesome foods – like onions – can be toxic for pets too? You’ve just managed to get your human child to eat avocado, garlic, and corn? Be sure to keep these same foods off your fur kid’s menu too.
So many dietary requirements under one roof! But not to worry. We’ve made a list of things that can poison your pet from foods to plants, so you don’t have to.
Also, be mindful that certain times of the year – like Christmas – introduce a new set of inedible foods (and baubles) to the mix. Be sure to find out which Christmas dangers for pets you need to be aware of well in advance.
7. Be mindful of your pet’s and their vet’s mental health
Something which pet parents are becoming more mindful of is anxiety in pets. Lots of pets experience separation anxiety as lockdowns ease (bit of a revolving door, isn’t it) and mum and dad go back to the office.
Separation anxiety in pets affects both dogs and cats. Unchecked, it can lead to pet behavioural problems like spraying, eating your sofa or running away. Each of which could lead to a serious accident and visits to the vet.
This way your visits can just be for routine check-ups rather than fixing problems. And did you know this is also good for your vet? Because pet health affects vet mental health.
Vets face severe burnout and face higher suicide rates than people in other professions. They’re under enormous stress. They work long hours, perform serious operations, and often have to euthanise pets. Vets also face the sadness of having to turn away pet parents who can’t afford treatments because they don’t have pet insurance.
Giving your pet a healthy lifestyle also helps your vet. They can support your pet’s wellbeing through routine check-ups rather than fixing something once it becomes a problem.
8. Take pets on holidays
According to our research, 64% of Kiwis see their fur kid as part of the family and 26% take them on holiday. Many of the best outdoorsy holiday destinations are pet-friendly. Think of places like ranches, camping spots, guest houses and farms. So why not love your pet by taking them travelling.
Bringing your pet with you will give you that uber sense of home away from home. You’ll bond and get to see the world through their eyes. You’ll need these tips for travelling with pets and be sure to book ahead and make sure your accommodation is fur baby friendly. If you’ve decided on a road trip, check out these simple ways to pet proof your car like a pro.
9. Get a pet friend for your fur kid
Two is better than one – and this is often true of pets and people (and chocolate and coffee). Our cats and dogs love us unconditionally, but let’s face it, we’re not furry and we only have two legs.
According to our recent Love Your Pet Day research, 18% of pet parents have shown their pet love by getting them a pet friend. If your pet has a pet pal, they won’t get separation anxiety when you’re at work. And they probably won’t have pent up zoomies to unleash on you when you arrive home.
10. Get pet insurance to show your pet love
Pet insurance is a way of caring about your pet now and into the future. Pets have double the amount of feet we do; they’re double as fast and they’re double as likely to get hurt.
With pet insurance, you can really focus on your pet’s love without worrying about what might happen. Because if it does happen, you’ll be able to get them the medical attention they deserve. Pet insurance can also cover the basics like vaccinations, medication, vet visits, microchipping, desexing and lots more.