When celebrating Valentine’s Day, we are commemorating the death of one of several early Christian martyrs. The bloody history was associated with romance in the 14th century, around 1500 years after they were killed. Cherubs, hearts and chocolates have supplanted the men who were persecuted for their beliefs. It has become a day to recognize and celebrate love which is a better way to spend the day, in my opinion. But how to include our pet loves in the festivities?
There are lots of heart-themed dog treats and cat toys for sale this time of year. You can add a personal touch by making your own. Dr. V at Pawcurious has several dog treat recipes that look fantastic: the puppy cuppy and the Bronut are my favorite. For your feline Valentine, you can make some toys to enjoy. These two look very simple, and should take no time at all! Mine love the catnip socks. Going for a long walk or getting some extra cuddle time are other good ways to show your best friends how much you love them on this special day, and all through the year.
There are also hazards to keep an eye out for. Chocolate and other sweets, especially those containing xylitol, can make your pet extremely sick and in some cases it can be fatal. Please keep these human-only treats out of their reach. That goes for cocktails too – a definite pet no-no. A candlelit dinner is romantic, but be sure your pet can’t get near the candles. It could burn him, or even start a fire if he knocks one over. If you’re giving someone a wrapped gift, be sure to keep the wrapping away from your dog or cat. The crinkly paper and trailing ribbon can be enticing for them to play with or munch on, but it can result in an intestinal blockage.
Flowers can also be a problem. We have a no-bouquet rule in our house. It’s sweet when my husband wants to send me flowers and I appreciate the sentiment, but I don’t like cleaning up the flowery cat puke that we end up with all over the house. Many flowers are also poisonous to pets, especially lilies, so be careful to only include non-toxic blooms when sending a floral arrangement.
One last thing to keep in mind: pets as gifts. Many shelters around the country have reported the usual spike in post-Christmas pet returns. Please don’t get a pet as a gift unless you’re sure that the recipient is ready for a lifelong commitment. (To the pet, Romeo.)
With all that said, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and spread the love to everyone on two legs and four!