9 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your pet

From going for a ride to dancing like no one is watching, here are ideas for celebrating Valentine's Day with the four-legged love of your life.
By Michelle Sathe and Nicole Hamilton

Whether you’re in a relationship or happily single, one thing is certain for all of us this year: Valentine’s Day is going to look a little different, and more of us than ever are gearing up to celebrate it alone. But don’t let flying solo put a damper on Cupid’s day. Instead, celebrate it with pets. They’re the real masters of unconditional love, after all.

If you have pets at home, there are plenty of fun things you can do to show them your love on Valentine’s Day. And if you don’t have a pet, it’s an easy fix. Just sign up to foster or volunteer at your local shelter. Some shelters even have programs that let you take a dog out for the day.

Here are nine ways to spend Valentine’s Day with a pet.

1. Indulge in a 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.

2. Go for a picnic (weather permitting).

Orange tabby cat in a harness outside on a blanket with a woman

Take your leashed and harnessed travel-friendly dog or cat down to the local park and bring a picnic stocked with treats for both of you. Too cold to picnic where you live? Bundle up and take your dog for a long walk. And if you live near a Starbucks, stop in afterwards for a warm beverage (for you) and a Puppuccino for your pup.

3. Take a spin.

Dog with mouth open happy on a car ride from the back seat looking out the front

Who doesn’t need to get out of the house these days? If those four walls are closing in on you, leash up your dog (or your harness-loving cat) and go for a drive to somewhere beautiful. A change of scenery always does a world of good.

4. Wine and craft night

Pull out your art supplies and pour a glass of vino to unleash your inner Picasso. Pets can have unexpected talents, too, and the video above can help get them started on a masterpiece. Prefer not to paint? Make your pet a flower crown.

Siamese mix longhair cat with blue eyes wearing a red flower crown

[Pet portraits draw laughs, raise dollars for pets]

5 Project Runway: Pet Edition

Pit-bull-type dog wearing a hot dog costume

If you’re good with a needle and thread, how about creating something spectacular for your fashion-forward pooch? Dogs who love clothes will especially enjoy wearing something made just for them by their favorite person. Capture the fun on social media to make your friends smile, too (and for added fun, tag Tim Gunn).

6. Throw a dance party.

Nothing gets the heart pumping and endorphins flowing like a good boogie. Select your favorite tunes (“Atomic Dog” and anything by Cat Stevens highly recommended) and invite your dog or cat to join in while you groove. And don’t worry if your dance moves are less than smooth. Your dance partner won’t mind at all.

7. Bake some sweet treats.

Plate containing Bestie Bars dog treats in the shape of bones

Make yourself something to satisfy that sweet tooth and a healthy something extra for your pooch, too, using special recipes just for them. Another idea: Bake some cookies or cupcakes for the hardworking staffers at your local shelter and show them some love.

[Three recipes for healthy dog treats]

8. Curl up for a pet-themed movie marathon.

Smiling woman sitting on a couch surrounded by three dogs

We love a good sappy rom-com as much as anyone, but this Valentine’s Day choose a movie with a pet theme or one that features a pet stealing every scene (think Bradley Cooper’s dog Charlie in A Star is Born). You could also visit YouTube and put on a video made just for cats. They’re relaxing for humans, too.

9. Do some yoga.

Two women lying on their mats doing yoga playing with a tabby kitten

Who doesn’t need a little Zen right about now? Check out YouTube for yoga classes, roll out the mat and do downward dog with the real yoga master in the house — your pet. Remember to look before you step back, though. Pets love to lie on the mat (especially when you’re on it).

Adopt true love

Here’s a surefire way to have a valentine this year: Adopt a pet. There are dogs and cats of all ages, sizes and personalities just waiting at your local shelter to hear that wonderful question: “Will you be mine?”

Adopt a pet near you

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Photos by Lori Fusaro, Diane Barber, Molly Wald, Sarah Ause Kichas, Robert Stoetzel, Christina Pristera and Christina Lynn

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