Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Your Pets

It’s Valentine’s Day again, and you’re busy finding presents for your lover, your kids, your neighbors, and colleagues. But during the Valentine’s Day rush, don’t forget the critters in your life who love you most: your pets! Here are a few fun and easy gift ideas for your most loyal and loving companions of all:
Contribution in your Pet’s Name

If you have a pet you want to honor or who recently passed away, contribute to your favorite animal shelter or animal rights organization in your pet’s name. You’ll often receive a personalized thank you letter, a photo, and a t-shirt from the company in thanks. and are just a few great animal organizations you can easily contribute to.

Toys For Pets

Little toys for pets are always fun to give and receive. Cats love catnip, dogs love squeaky toys and chew toys, and rats, mice, and hamsters all love chewable cardboard. Basically, give your pet a new favorite toy, and they’ll appreciate and love your Valentine’s Day gift.

Homemade Pet Treats

Homemade pet treats can be tricky to make, but your pet will absolutely love them. Treat recipes range from liver-flavored cat crunchies to dog-friendly carob-chip cookies. Check out recipes online for a huge variety of ideas.

Session of Pet Grooming

If your pet needs a bath and a nice brush-through, consider getting him or her a grooming session for Valentine’s Day. Petsmart has a great and affordable grooming service, as do many independent groomers and pet salons. Your pet may or may not like the actual bathing process, but they’ll be clean and smell great afterwards.

Quality Time With Your Pet

With our busy lives of work, e-mail, MySpace, school, hobbies, and whatever else we have to do, it can be easy to forget about our much-loved pets. This Valentine’s Day, simply giving your pet some quality time with you can me the greatest gift of all. Go to the park with your pet, play Frisbee, give your pet a belly-rub, and talk to your happy companion. Your pet will feel great and loved, and you won’t feel guilty for neglecting your animal friend during your busy Valentine’s Day.

Giving a gift to the family pet on Valentine’s Day is fun and your most loyal companion will love the attention. Whatever you end up giving to your pet for Valentine’s Day, remember to have fun and be kind on this international day of kindness and caring.

Be Sure To Play With Your Weasel

I recently saw a bumper sticker that read, “Real men play with their weasels.” A bit risque, but funny, and funny is how I’d describe owning a ferret.
Ferrets are highly intelligent animals, with a higher brain-to-body ratio than dogs and cats. This would imply that they’re smarter than dogs and cats. I’m not sure if they’re smarter, but they are definitely more mischievous and funny!

One of the best features of a ferret is also its worst trait: curiosity. That means that every bag and box entering the house will be examined and emptied, if possible. I’ve been told a bored ferret is a bad ferret. That means they will make their own fun. If that happens to be digging out all your plants, tipping over the pots and spreading dirt throughout your living room, so be it. So it behooves you to put a little thought into entertaining your ferret.

Of course, the best toy a ferret could ever have is you. They enjoy your attention, like to play chase games, and will often invite you to play by running across the room, leaping at you, and wrapping their front legs around your ankle. Sometimes this includes a playful nip or two. If you’d rather avoid the nips, pay attention when your ferret asks to play!

Good ferret toys include the usual bell balls, indestructible rubber balls with bells (must be tough enough that the ferret can’t rip a chunk out of it), polar fleece toys with bells, small stuffed animals, clear dryer tubes, cat fishing pole toy, grocery bags (paper and plastic, as long as they don’t try to eat it), and cardboard boxes. Another favorite with ferrets everywhere are plastic Easter eggs in which something jingly has been inserted and covered with a crocheted yarn cover. If you get one of these with some rice inside, don’t be alarmed if you hear the sound of a 10′ rattlesnake–it’s just your ferret “killing” the crocheted egg toy!

The dryer tube is fun for them to run through, and multiple ferrets will try to occupy the same space at the same time. The clear dryer tube is perfect because you get to see how they get past each other, double over on top of themselves, see whose mouth is bigger, and my favorite, running upside down. Once they’re bored with the tube just lying on the floor, you can tie it in a knot and voila! — a brand new toy. You can also wrap the tube around chairs, through cardboard boxes, around cat “tree” toys–the possibilities are limited only by your creativity.

The “towel drag” game is fun for most ferrets, too. You merely place a towel on the floor, wait for a passenger, then drag them around the room (not too fast, now). You stop, they’ll jump off and do a little dance, then jump back on again. That’s your signal to get moving. They also like it when you dangle the towel and play like that. Only problem with that is sometimes they don’t want to stop playing. My ferrets steal my dish towels from the drying rack!

Making little “playhouses” out of cardboard boxes can be a lot of fun for both you and your ferret. They love running through the little rooms, peaking out “windows” and hiding in the least accessible spot in there. (Hint: make yourself some access doors.)

A favorite around here is when I tie a string to one of the bell balls and drag and dangle it. Ferrets will play for a long time with this toy as long as you’re on the other end. As soon as a human stops “powering” it, the game loses a lot of the fun. Some ferrets do get some mileage out of the toys on elastic cords, but they’re just not as much fun without a human behind it.

Let your ferret show you how he likes to play. I’m sure he can come up with a few more games you haven’t thought of. One warning, though: don’t let them climb up your pant leg! You’ll probably regret it.

Coping With The Loss Of A Pet

Recently, my family’s twenty-month-old cat, Deedee, passed away. We were all upset by her passing, my husband, myself, my two children, and even our other cat. Having never had pets before, I was unsure how to handle the loss and found myself struggling with my own emotions regarding the loss.

Don’t Feel Crazy

One of the biggest differences between grieving the loss of a fellow human, and grieving the loss of a pet, is that a pet’s death is often not recognized by others. Others fail to see how significant the loss is. You may feel intense feelings of sadness and grief as a reaction to your pets death. This is normal, and okay. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Do not feel as though you’re crazy for getting so upset over a pet.

Reflect On Your Pet’s Life

Reflecting may help you to process your pet’s death. You may even feel better writing out your reflections about your pet. Think about how your pet came into your life and the things the two of you did together. Was your pet present for any significant life events, such as marriage, graduation, the birth of a baby, the death of a family member? Think about the habits your pet had, such as sleeping at your feet, hiding from the vacuum, or attempting to chase the pointer across your computer screen. Remembering these things may help bring closure and reassure you that your pet did have a good life with you.

Remember Your Pet

Sometimes a pet owner will feel better by taking any photos they have of their pet and arranging them in an album or frame. Going through these photos may help bring closure to the grief, as well as ensure that your pet will not be forgotten.

Don’t Bottle Up Your Feelings

It can be easy to bottle up your feelings, especially if it seems as though no one around you understands. Don’t bottle up your feelings. If you feel like crying, then do so. If you feel like talking, then do so. Finding someone supportive, who cares about you, to talk about your feelings with may help the healing process.

Continue Your Normal Routine

It may seem easier, and even more appealing, to shut down and ignore the rest of the world, but it’s important to continue your normal routine while grieving. This is especially true if you have young children who may also be dealing with their own feelings of grief. Maintaining your normal activities may seem difficult at first, but will help you to continue on with your life.

Don’t Feel Guilty

Many pet owners wonder if there was something else they could have done to prevent their pet’s death. Other times, pet owners had their pets euthanized and feel guilty for doing so, even if they know it was in their pet’s best interest. Don’t beat yourself up feeling guilty for what you could have done. The past cannot be changed, and decisions made, were most likely the best possible option at the time they were made.

Give Yourself  Time To Heal

Many pet owners who have lost a pet make the mistake of getting a new pet too soon. Grief is a natural process and one that needs to be experienced in order to move on. Getting a new pet too soon, can hinder the process of grieving, and it may be more difficult on the pet owner to form a bond with the new pet. Give yourself time to grieve and don’t consider a new pet until you’ve had time to cope with the loss of your previous pet.

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