Valentine’s Day is hard enough for singles, but with COVID-19 and quarantining, finding a date for the big day isn’t just difficult, it’s downright dangerous.
However, if you have a pet at home, all is not lost. Your dog or cat isn’t just content to spend this holiday with you—they just happen to be some of the best companions around for a celebration of any kind, including Valentine’s Day. They’re also happy to do free or low-cost activities (unlike a high-maintenance human date).
“Valentine’s Day is all about love, and the best way to show our cats love is by helping them feel like the wild cat they were born to be. Get out a wand toy and help them hunt and catch the dangling prey on the end. Your cat will love you forever for that,” said Samantha Bell, cat expert for Best Friends Animal Society. “After feeling satisfied with themselves from the hunt they’ll be ready for cuddle-time.”
Dogs bring something a little different to the table, according to Marissa Sunny, CPDT-KA and senior dog lifesaving specialist at Best Friends Animal Society.
“Dogs are the best dates ever. There is no need to get all dressed up because they love you unconditionally and are the best cuddlers,” she said. “Just keep in mind your dog’s energy and tolerance level for certain activities. Ask yourself, ‘What would my dog’s perfect date be?’” With that in mind, Best Friends offers the 14 best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your pet:
- Karaoke: Too shy to sing for your human friends? Here’s a chance to be a pop star with a built-in devoted audience! Bonus: no Simon Cowell-like critique!
- Remote roulette: If you can’t figure out what to watch from the thousands of options, but the remote under your pet’s paws and watch whatever comes up.
- Spa day: A relaxing bath, blow-dry, and mani/Pedi sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Recreate that experience for yourself and then do the same for your dog with some leisurely grooming time. Since most cats don’t like water, try a gentle brushing session instead.
- Picnic: Take your leashed and harnessed travel-friendly dog or cat down to the local park, lake, or beach for a little fresh air and an alfresco meal with healthy treats for both of you.
- Scenic ride: If those four walls are closing in on you, leash up your dog or crate your travel-friendly cat for a drive to somewhere beautiful. A change of scenery will do everyone good. Don’t forget to post a selfie to share with your nature-deprived friends!
- Wine with art: Pull out your art supplies and pour a glass of vino to unleash your inner Picasso. Pets can have unexpected talents, too—just check out this video to get them started on a masterpiece.
- Pet Project Runway: If you’re good with a needle and thread, how about creating something spectacular for your fashion-forward pooch? Dogs who love clothes will really enjoy wearing something made just for them by their favorite person. Capture the fun on social to make your friends smile, too – and for added fun, tag Tim Gunn.
- Dance party: Nothing gets the heart pumping and endorphins flowing like a good boogie. Select your favorite tunes and invite your dog or cat to join in the festivities.
- Concert for two: Whether you’re a beginner or advanced musician, there won’t be any traditional opportunities to play with other people for a while. So why not take out that instrument and play a ditty for your pet? (You can also Google your favorite band to see if there are any new concerts online to watch together).
- Baking treats: Don’t fret over missed chocolates. Make yourself something to satisfy that sweet tooth and a healthy something extra for your pooch, too, with special recipes just for them.
- Pet-themed movie marathon: Instead of watching sappy human love stories, reimagine Valentine’s Day pet-flix for a night of binge-watching that both of you can relate to.
- Yoga class: Who doesn’t need a little Zen right about now? Check out YouTube for yoga classes, lay out your mat, and do some downward dog with your dog or cat.
- Make a playlist: From “What’s New Pussycat?” to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” there are dozens of songs to create a fun soundtrack to share with your pet. Bring it along on your next drive together to really set the tone!
- Read a good book: The perfect (or purrfect) introvert experience that can be easily shared on a couch or a bed with lots of pillows, blankets, and your four-legged buddy by your side. Top picks: “Total Cat Mojo” and “The Art of the Racing in the Rain.”
Of course, if you don’t already have a pet, now is a great time to adopt. There are dogs and cats of all ages, sizes, and personalities just waiting for Cupid to connect them with the perfect adopter. One way to start your adventure is with www.bestfriends.org and find a shelter or rescue near you. Thanks to them we also got this awesome editorial story!