Paws, purrs and play time: Make the most of National Love Your Pet Day

Julia Fechter


For some people, February 20 may just seem like a regular Tuesday. For others, though, today is National Love Your Pet Day.

This holiday joins several other pet-friendly occasions such as Walking the Dog Day and International Pet Biscuit Appreciation Day, which are later this week on Feb. 22 and 23, respectively.

These tips illustrate different ways you can show you pet some more love not only today and this week, but also throughout the rest of the year.

Note: This post is geared toward dog and cat owners.

Take a walk!


The Huffington Post and both said that letting your dogs or cats outside of their usual confinements can help them release excess energy, which in turn can help decrease any anxieties they may have.

For cats, a “walk” may be more doable as monitored outside time in the backyard. However, if your cat does like to walk on a leash, Huffington Post also gives guidelines on how to do that.

Plan your pet’s exercise just as you would plan your workout time. Leave at least 30 minutes to

allow enough time for a walk, though your animal’s individual needs for exertion may vary depending on weight, age and/or breed. Make sure to give them water to drink after the walk!

Pet them.


Often, there is nothing like a good scratch behind the ears or strokes along the back to show your pet affection. After all, you are one of their favorite humans!

The biggest factor when petting dogs, cats or other pets in general is that slower is better. You do not want your pet to think that you are hitting it. Also, this should go without saying, but be sure to watch your pet’s body language when petting it, as some pets can become defensive and bite or scratch when you are making them feel uncomfortable.

Play time!


One of the other ways you can be more interactive with your pet is to play with them! Some dogs can just be entertained if you run or race with them around an open green space. Other dogs like to chew and play fetch with some type of toy, like a tennis ball or frisbee (yep, there are specific dog frisbees). Take  the time to figure out what your dog likes and what is practical for you (as some dogs can be fairly destructive when they get their teeth on a toy).

As for cats, some of the better options include toys that have textures which mimic the appearance of small prey like mice. Just like with dogs, you should avoid toys with parts that can be swallowed or easily torn up. In addition to toys, your cat may also enjoy a lofty perch, or even a simple box.

Treat them.


Special snacks can prove desirable for both owner and pet. When pets smell and see the tasty morsel you have chosen for them, you can use the treats to reinforce a calm mood-i.e. when your pet has behaved well after a bath or between meals.

If you would like to give your pet or pets a store-bought snack, then make sure the snack package has on it one or both of the Veterinary Oral Health Council and Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) stickers.

“People food”, pet-safe snacks include broccoli, baby carrots, bananas (sliced into smaller pieces) and small bits of meat or cheese. Say no to things like chocolate, grapes (which can be fatally toxic to dogs and cats) and onions. Also, bones and antlers could prove problematic for a furry friend due to their tendency to splinter as they are chewed.

Cats, in particular, favor a kind of plant called nepetalactone, known by its cultural moniker, catnip. You can use the herb in a wet or dried form to rub on your cat’s scratching post or lightly sprinkle some catnip bits on the cat’s bed.

However you decide to spend time with your pet this week, make sure to let the Reflector know by tagging us @Reflector on Twitter!