Pets, you gotta love ‘em, right? When you want to show them just how much you love them, there are so many ways you can do it.
The first thing that comes to mind might be to give your pet a handful of treats, but there are so many creative ways to show your affection. Some pet experts even argue that treats should be reserved for training and rewarding good/desired behaviors, not for whenever you feel like giving one out. It has been shown that dogs actually form a weaker bond with people who just feed them as opposed to people that spend time exercising or playing with them.
So, the next time you want to show your pet how much you love them, you can try any one of these methods that are just as good – if not better – than treats.
Learn Their Language:
Every species of pet – from dogs to cats, bunnies to guinea pigs – have their own “language” and way of communicating between each other. The best way to make sure you’re telling your pet that you love them is by learning what is and isn’t affectionate behavior for them specifically. Dogs, for example, do not like to be hugged, according to the American Kennel Club. Although this is a natural sign of affection for humans, to dogs, putting your arms over top of them is an act of dominance, which they may find intimidating.
Most pets absolutely loved to be pet or stroked, not just dogs; cats, birds, rats, and other small mammals love being pet. Just make sure to learn what parts of the body they prefer to be pet. Rabbits, for instance, enjoy being pet on their cheeks and head but don’t always enjoy having their feet or bellies rubbed.
Play with Them:
Playing fetch with your dog or dangling a cat toy for your kitty is another excellent way to show them you love them. You’ll be spending time with them and having fun. Also, you’ll be keeping them mentally stimulated, which is a must for a happy pet.
Let Them into Your Space:
Letting your pet come into your personal space is a big sign that you love them; this signals your trust, affection, and love. A recent study of pet brains revealed that allowing your pet to sleep with you is the ultimate display of trust, love, and affection for your cat or dog. When a pet is sleeping, they are at their most vulnerable. “Sleeping with you demonstrates that you are part of their pack, and this allows them to connect with you.” For some people, that’s a deal-breaker, and for some pets that have dominance issues, this is not ideal. It that case, consider a quick snuggle on the couch or on the floor for a few minutes each day to show them your love.
Learn a New Trick Together:
Teaching your pet something fun using positive reinforcement techniques, like “take a bow,” “spin,” or “sit pretty,” can be rewarding for all. Go for tricks that will make you smile and laugh. Along with tasty treats, pets find your happy attention rewarding.
Groom Your Pet:
All animals love being groomed; they love the extra attention and the benefit of a clean body. Keeping your pet well-groomed will not only allow you to spend quality bonding time with them but will keep them looking and feeling great for days.
Keeping them Healthy:
Keeping your pet feeling healthy and strong is one of the best ways to show them you love them. All pets need annual “check-ups” with a veterinarian. Taking your furry (or non-furry) to a veterinarian is vital to maintaining good health. Animals cannot fully communicate how they are feeling or what may be happening to them; a trained veterinary professional can pick up subtle findings of disease. In almost all cases, when disease is caught early, it is more easily managed and more options for treatment exits. Your pet will thank you and know it is loved.
Although it’s sometimes hard for us to tell what our pets are thinking, they definitely do not have the same problem reading our emotions! If your love is true for your pets, they already know it just by reading your voice, body language, and actions. So just keep doing what you’re doing, and your pets will reward you by showing their affections in their own special ways.