Showing your pet how much you love them is not as easy as it sounds. You give them medication and take them to the vet because you love them, but they probably don’t see it that way! February is known as the month of love, but it’s also National Responsible Pet Owners Month. While seemingly unrelated, the two are deeply intertwined because by being a responsible pet owner and taking care of their overall health, you’re showing them deep love – although, not in a way they can understand. That’s why we’re here to help you be an even more responsible pet owner by showing them love in their own language.
Loving Your Pet is a Part of Your Responsibility
As a pet owner, you know there’s a lot of responsibilities. It’s you they depend on for food, water, and shelter. It’s up to you to keep them from escaping, drinking that stagnant water, overexerting themselves after surgery or an injury, and making sure they’re up to date on their vaccinations. But it’s also your responsibility to make them feel loved, which contributes substantially to their mental and emotional well-being. Yet the ways we show love such as hugs and kisses don’t necessarily translate well to your pet. So, here’s some ways to communicate love in the language of cats and dogs.
- Make them feel like a part of the pack. How? Snuggle with them. As a pack animal, your dog understands affection in terms of close contact. It helps them feel cared for and secure.
- Look into their eyes. It may seem cheesy, but looking into your dog’s eyes while speaking softly and petting them are great ways to show them love. You can also raise an eyebrow, which to a dog, is just like saying “I love you.” This one should only be done with your own dog who trusts you. Direct eye contact with a strange dog could be seen as a challenge.
- Rub their ears. Rubbing their ears gently stimulates a release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone which generates a sense of happiness and well-being.
- Lean on them. Have you noticed your dog ever lean against your legs? They’re looking for affection! And you can do the same thing back to them.
- Make time for a good time. Taking your dog out to do some of their favorite things such as playing fetch, romping around the dog park, or going for a long walk is not only enjoyable for them, it helps them stay fit and active.
- Give them a massage. Petting them with one long stroke from nose to tail gives them a quick massage that feels good and helps lower their blood pressure.
- Pet them in all the right places. Your cat probably has their favorite place to be scratched (under the chin, on the cheek, and even the base of the tail), so appease them!
- Look into their eyes. Just like your dog, cats interpret eye contact as a sign of affection. Except instead of an eyebrow raise, a slow blink sends the message of love.
- Groom them. It may seem like they do a fine job of grooming themselves, but many could still use some assistance. Brushing them helps to remove dead skin and hair, and it’s better than having them lick it all up and develop a hairball!
- Play with them and stimulate their minds. Indoor cats can get pretty bored pretty quickly, so give them things to do! A cat tree at the window, a squeaky mouse toy, or even a simple box can help relieve their boredom and stimulate their natural instincts. You can also play with them using a cat wand or a laser pointer which helps them get exercise, stretch their minds, and develop a deeper bond with you!
Showing your pet you love them is part of your responsibility, just as much as it is to take care of their health. Implement some of these tips today and strengthen your relationship with your pet!