dog-massages

Valentine's Day is approaching, and it's time to plan a special day for you and your dog! Show your love with these 7 great ideas:

1. Take your dog on a nice, long walk. Dogs love to get out and get some exercise, as it drains their excess energy, relieves tension, and releases stress. Aim to take your canine friend out for at least an hour a day. You can break this up into two 30-minute walks, or three 20-minute walks.

2. Take a trip to the dog park. For many people, Valentine's day means meeting friends and having a good time. Schedule a trip to the dog park and let him meet and play with the other dogs there. Who knows – you might meet someone special there, too!

3. Give your dog a nice, relaxing massage. Dogs are all about energy, and few things strike their internal balance better than a nice, relaxing massage. Any dog can benefit from a good massage every now and then, and Valentine's Day is a great time for one.

Just a few tips – smaller dogs will appreciate neck massages, since they need to crane their necks a lot to look up to people and other dogs. If your dog is in its senior years, or if it's unusually tense, a New Age treatment session (Reiki or acupuncture) may help relieve its aches and pains.

4. Introduce new food to your dog's meal rotation. Is chicken a perennial part of your dog's diet? Maybe it will appreciate something special for Valentine's Day, such as sweet potato or pumpkin. Older dogs will also benefit from the addition of fruit and vegetables, as these foods contain age- and disease-fighting antioxidants and fiber.

HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO DOG TREATS

5. Give your dog a nice, warm bath. This can be a challenge, but when you approach bathing your dog calmly, it can actually be a sign of affection. Make sure the water is lukewarm, and that the shampoo you use is mild. Wash your dog from the shoulder down, leaving the face for last, and then towel-dry or use a blow dryer. Finish by brushing your dog's fur and giving him a relaxing massage.

6. Hug, don't kiss. Just a reminder: While it's good to give your dog affection (especially after exercise), it's best to avoid kissing your canine friend. Studies are showing that kissing your dog can transmit diseases. Give your dog a hug or two every now and then – they're completely fine with it.

7.  Take a trip to the pet store. Valentine's Day is also a day to shop and buy yourself something nice. Why not take your dog with you? Take your dog to its favorite pet store and let it sniff around. If it shows a liking to a particular item, such as a toy, consider getting it as a gift!

If you're considering giving your dog a playmate or companion, do consider looking into the animal rescue centers around your town. Find a dog who has around the same energy level as your canine friend, and consider spaying/neutering it before bringing them home.