You’ve probably noticed all the red hearts, cupids and candy adorning the aisles of your local stores. The Christmas decorations come down and the Valentine’s Day hearts and cupids go up.
The history of St. Valentine's’ Day is a bit muddled. There appears to be several “Valentines” recognized by the Catholic church dating back to 270 A.D. The most recent was canonized by the church in 1988.
There are also several legends as to how Valentine’s Day came to symbolize love. One is a story of a temple priest who helped Christian couples marry when marriage was outlawed by Emperor Claudius II because he believed single men made better soldiers. Another tale claims Valentine was imprisoned and fell in love with his jailer's daughter, sending her love notes signed “Your Valentine”.
However it came about, it’s an annual holiday celebrated in most countries around the world. And it’s big business too. Even though only roughly 55% of the population in the US celebrate the holiday, Valentine’s Day spending was $18.2 billion in 2017 and is expected to hit $19.6 billion this year with the average consumer spending $143.56 on holiday merchandise and services.
Cards, candy and flowers are the top gifts with roughly 250 million roses estimated being offered to Valentines according the Society of American Florists.
If you’re wondering whether you should get your pet a Valentine, you are in good company. Valentine’s spending on pets is expected to jump 27 percent this year, to $751 million, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That same survey by NRF showed almost 20% of respondents were buying their pet a Valentine’s gift.
But, candy, flowers and a card may not make an impression on Buddy and Sparkles. Something in the food or toy family might be a better way to their heart.
Here’s a few ideas for heart winning pet gifts:
- Candlelight dinner: fix up a bowl of your pet’s favorite foods and top it off with a special dollop of ice cream, making sure it contains no chocolate or splenda (in the case of lower calorie ice cream). Sit together and eat by candlelight.
- Moonlight walk: dogs are always up for a walk, day or night, so get the leash and take a stroll together.
- Cuddle up and watch a movie together: we recommend Lady & the Tramp or the Incredible Journey. Here’s a list of top dog and cat films to inspire you.
- New outfit: get your dog or cat a fancy new collar with a matching lead.
- Spa Day: take your pet to the spa for a bath, mani-pedi, massage and pampering.
- Treats: skip the chocolates as they can be dangerous for your pets, but visit your local pet store for some yummy holiday themed treats or better yet, make some homemade treats with your pet. Easy DIY Dog Treats.
- Toys & games: you can never go wrong with a new squeaky plush toy for your dog or feather wand for your cat.
- Learn about other suitable food choices for your pet using the Petnet.io food recommendation tool. This tool can help you find more compatible pet foods based on your bets breed and known food allergies.
- Donate to your local shelter or pet rescue: you can score some points with your pet by helping other pets in need.
Whatever you do to celebrate the day, even if it’s just some extra snuggles or belly rubs, remember and appreciate the unconditional love your pet gives you every day. It’s like everyday is Valentine’s Day to them.