Valentine’s Day for Your Pets


How do you tell your pets “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day? Of course, you can buy a special treat (naturally, not chocolate). If you have a pet lizard, maybe Valentine’s is the day for fattening but yummy mealworms. Ferrets might enjoy extra playtime and the same is true for Labrador Retrievers or your kitty cat might enjoy catnip.

Of course, our pets don’t care how much money you spend. Oprah’s dogs love and adore her as much as a dog living with a homeless guy . Their definition of wealth is very different than ours (perhaps that is something to learn from?)

In my opinion, all pets do require what animal welfare experts refer to as The Five Freedoms. These were originally defined by the UK’s Farm Animal Welfare Council in the 1960s, and subsequently updated. They are now understood to apply to the welfare of all animals, not just livestock.

The Five Freedoms are:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst, by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom from discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease, by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to express normal behavior, by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and appropriate company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress, ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.

And if I may add a number six to the list – it’s using the Fear Free approach, doing all we can to minimize chronic fear, anxiety and stress. Sure some stress is “normal,” but not every day. I absolutely endorse visiting Fear Free certified veterinary professionals; Fear Free dog trainers, Fear Free groomers and even shelter employees and volunteers can partake in the free Fear Free shelter program.

Most of all, what your pets desire is your love. And among dogs and cats – even ferrets and parrots, pet rats and lots of other species – you will receive that love right back ten-fold. The human-animal bond is a magnificent thing to behold and can be incredibly powerful. Consider doing something special for whatever pet(s) may be in your life on Valentine’s Day