Your pet is your devoted companion who is always there to listen after a bad day, and celebrate with you on good days. They ask little in return, other than a full food bowl and a warm spot on the couch. Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, why not focus on your pet, and shower them with some extra love? Our Bayside Animal Hospital Team shares five ways you can show your pet how much they mean to you. 

#1: Learn to speak your pet’s love language

Your pet speaks a totally different language, and you sometimes find it difficult to interpret what they are saying. Messages like, “I want one of the treats you keep stashed in the cupboard,” and “I need to go out,” are easy to decipher, but pets show love in ways that can be foreign to us. For instance, large dogs tend to show their affection by leaning on people they like. If your Great Dane or Lab graces you with a slow lean, lean back, to reciprocate their display of affection. Your cat’s relaxed gaze indicates they are comfortable in your presence, and you should consider yourself lucky if they pair it with a slow blink, which conveys love. The next time you catch your cat’s eye, watch for a slow blink, and return the gesture to say, “I love you, too.”

#2: Put your pet’s safety first

Left to their own devices, your pet would likely get themselves in a heap of trouble by eating dangerous foods, wandering away, or chewing on electrical cords. Your pet relies on you to keep them safe, so pet-proof your home to ensure their safety, despite their tendency to seek out mischief. Items to keep out of your pet’s reach include:

Also, microchip your pet to ensure a happy reunion should they accidentally slip through an open door or gate while you are distracted.

#3: Learn your pet’s play preferences

Put yourself in your pet’s paws, think about how they like to play, and then devise play sessions around their preferences. Does your cat chase bugs across the floor or reign over family activities from a high perch? Does your dog prefer endless games of fetch or solving a food puzzle? Tap into your pet’s play preferences to provide activities they will enjoy, rather than games that seem fun to you. If your pooch uses your living room for parkour practice, build them an obstacle course, and encourage them to speed through tunnels and over teeter-totters and beat their best time. Your cat who constantly knocks your jewelry box off the dresser as they leap onto the window sill will appreciate a window hammock where they can watch the birds at the feeder outside. 

#4: Make a bucket list for your pet

What activity would make your pet most happy? A trip to the lake? A car ride to see their favorite two- or four-legged playmate? Rolling around with a catnip-filled toy? There is no need to wait for the end to make your pet a bucket list. In fact, your pet will enjoy their favorite activities more while they are young and healthy enough to fully participate. Make a list of the activities your pet enjoys most, and plan to cross off one each month. Your pet will appreciate the individual attention, and your bond will grow stronger with each adventure.

#5: Schedule a wellness visit for your pet

A trip to Bayside Animal Hospital may not sound like your pet’s idea of a loving gesture, but a healthy pet is the best way to show your love. Routine physical exams can detect health problems at the first sign, while vaccines and parasite prevention can protect your pet from dangerous diseases. During your pet’s visit, we will discuss additional ways to ensure a long, healthy life, including dental health and weight management. Keeping dental disease at bay with toothbrushing and routine professional cleanings can prevent body-wide effects, such as kidney and heart disease, that can steal precious time with your pet. And, active pets in ideal body condition outlive overweight pets by about two years, so keeping your pet at a healthy weight will ensure they stay by your side longer. All in all, regular wellness visits can add years to your pet’s life—what better gift is there?

The Bayside Animal Hospital team also wants to shower your pet with love. Schedule a wellness visit so we can show you and your pet how much we appreciate you being part of our family.