National Love Your Pet Day – show your dog the love without spending a penny!

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It’s National Love Your Pet Day on the 20th of February and the perfect occasion to show our dogs just how much they mean to us. Yes they chew on your shoes, ruin your flower beds, they believe you are sharing THEIR bed and let’s not get started on those muddy paws they walk all round the house. The companionship and laughter they bring to our lives though mean they’re always forgiven because we simply love them to pieces!

Over the last decade the share of UK households owning a dog jumped from 23% to 33% and there are now 12.5 million dogs living amongst us in our homes. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report 2021surveyed 4,579 pet owners of which 1,950 own a dog. When asked if their pet makes them happy, a whopping 96% of dog owners said yes (not like we ever needed a survey to tell us this)!

Over a quarter of pet owners admit they like to pamper their dogs, pampered pooches just took on a whole new meaning! The UK spends £10 billion a year on their dogs averaging £2,136 annually or £178 a month depending on how you want to look at it. Just WOW, it really is a dogs life!

With this in mind we must all be a little lighter in our back pocket so this National Love Your Pet Day why not give your dog the gift of time together instead of reaching for your credit card?!

Here’s our round up off 10 things you can do to show your dog you love them without the need to spend money (unless you really, really want to of course!):

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  1. Go on an adventure 

No dog, anywhere, ever, passed on the chance to go on a walk! When fitting the care of your dog in around work and other commitments  it can sometimes be easy to just whizz round the block or go to the same old place you’re familiar that’s not too far to travel. So, why not look at some new walks local to you? Maybe the beach, some woodland or a new park? Pack a bag with a tasty lunch for you both and head out on a nice big adventure! You could play frisbee, ball, or just let your dog take in some new smells. Fun fact, did you know a dogs smell is 10,000 to 100,000 better than a humans? A chance to sniff fulfils a major part of their sensory needs and is just as good as physical and mental exercise as well as playtime! Who knew?

  1. Spoil them with treats

Why not make an extra effort to give your dog something they will really enjoy? A nice piece of meat, some baked treats or some frozen goodies they can lick and chew away on? All dogs love a tasty snack just as much as we do so when you do it with a bit of love thrown in, you are on to a winner! Maybe prepare some cheese, chicken, ham or liver instead of the same old kibble and shop bought treats. What about some new recipes to freeze in their kong? Or some tasty biscuits to snack on! There are so many great, home cooked treats you can whip up with items you probably already have in the cupboard. We like these recipes from Bishopston Dog Walking Services  that include everything from Doughnuts and Jelly Babies through to Calming Biscuits! Just be sure whatever you make up works for your dog’s diet and is safe for them to enjoy.

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  1. Play games together 

There are heaps of games and activities for all breeds, ages and personality of dog! Games for stimulation and scent work are good as dogs are smart and like to use their senses, so something like hide and seek is easy to set up and fun. ‘Find it’ or teaching your dog the name of their toys can also provide hours of fun and you can build on it. Some dogs like the simple life so maybe just throw yourself into a good round of tug or fetch. With a little bit of effort and research you can have an action packed time without having to spend a penny or leave the house. The internet is full of games and ideas, here are a few from Puppy Leaks to get you started

  1. Take off those accessories 

Is there any better feeling after a long day than taking off your bra or belt? When your dog is at home and there is no threat to them bolting out the door how about taking off your dog’s collar and letting them relax without constraint? It’s the little things in life!

  1. Have a pamper session

Keeping your dog clean is good for their health and of course their hygiene. The frequency of bathing your dog varies from breed to breed and whilst some could not cope without a regular visit to the groomers (yes, we are looking at all you Poodle owners out there!), others just need a quick scrub down and the dog takes care of the rest. Done right though, don’t underestimate the power of a nice pamper session! You can put your dog in the bath, maybe buy a Mud Daddy or just get some nice warm water and dog shampoo of which there are heaps of options! What about a nail trim or rubbing some paw balm into their pads?! Just a nice good brush could be the answer as it can prevent matting, reduce shedding and help them relax. A little bit of TLC can go a long way!

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  1. Go viral with a new trick

When you first get your dog it’s all roses. Within weeks you’re considering opening up your own doggy training school as your dog impresses with sit, down, stay etc. All of this over time though can get forgotten as life takes over and normal routine resumes. Going back to basics and general obedience is needed and simple commands can often do with a brush up all whilst promoting mental stimulation. Maybe your dog is a complete superstar and the best trained at the park so instead, what about getting something worthy of TikTok in place?! There are always new trends and tricks popping up that can be a little more challenging and help you strengthen your bond together.

  1. Get together with friends!

A puppy play date? Yes please! How about getting your dog’s mates together for a meet up? Nothing beats a quick catch up with your besties.

 

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  1. Set up an Instagram profile for your dog

If you haven’t already, why not consider an Instagram profile to show off your good boy or good girl? Not only is this a great way to store all of your favourite photographs in one place without clogging up your own personal account but you can also socialise, enter competitions and stay on top of the news! Having an account for your dog can be so much fun and who knows, you could be ‘spotted’ or gain the coveted status of a pet influencer! If you do decide to set up an account be sure to give us a follow @dogholidaysuk - we would love to meet you and say hi!

  1. Go somewhere new 

Ok, so we said our recommendations don’t require you to spend money and you are thinking hang on, you are now recommending the pub and restaurants? But, if you are going anyway, a bowl of tap water for the dog to enjoy while he or she joins you isn’t spending extra money is it?Why not pop to the local and show off your pooch or maybe find somewhere dog friendly this weekend for Sunday lunch? There are also heaps of shops that you can now visit with your dog (did you see the big announcement from Wilko last week?!) so check out where you can visit local to you and go out and about for a few hours!

  1. Breakfast in bed or dinner with the humans

Instead of kibble, why not surprise your dog with a couple of sausages for breakfast! Or while you are cooking Sunday lunch make up a little extra for your dog to enjoy with you. Again, do a quick bit of research but you will be surprised at how much we eat that your dog can enjoy too! No need to indulge them every day but if National Love Your Pet Day isn’t a special occasion, what is?!

Sian Humphreys
Author: Sian Humphreys

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