National Love Your Pet Day

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For devoted pet parents, February 20th, National Love Your Pet Day, is the real Valentine’s Day of the year. Every year pet parents nationwide celebrate the special bond we share with our furry, feathered, finned, shelled and scaly friends.

Just How Many Pet Lovers Are There?

Here in the United States, the National Pet Owners Survey estimates that a whopping 65 percent of us, or nearly 80 million people, cohabitate with one or more pets.  More than half of us have a dog. Nearly that many have cats. And just over 32 percent happily share their space with fish, birds, reptiles, small mammals and horses.  Planning to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day!  If yes, you will be in some wonderful company. The following are some special ideas you might want to consider as you are celebrating your life with your pet.

Bring Your Pet to Work – For Real!

In 2017, February 20th falls on a Monday. For many of you, that means you will be headed to work as usual. But perhaps you are lucky and your employer loves pets too.  According to NPR, at least seven percent of employers now permit pets (and not just dogs and cats) in the workplace. The reason for this is simple: studies show including non-human co-workers lowers employee stress, boosts longevity, overall morale and improves productivity. And these results are not just for the pet owners! Non-pet owning employees experience these results too, just by encountering co-workers’ pets during the workday!  If your employer has’t opted in to the pet-friendly movement, perhaps National Love Your Pet Day is ideal reason to propose the idea!

Be Sure Your Precious Pet is Healthy

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) lists both National Love Your Pet Day and Responsible Pet Owners Month as major holidays for the month of February.  This is a great reminder to ensure your pet is scheduled for their annual wellness checkup. Make sure they are current on any vaccinations, teeth cleanings, nail clippings or other maintenance tasks.  With pets, often a little preventative care goes a long way to spotting brewing issues early.

Pet Therapy is the Best Therapy

Did you know that pet owners who are heart attack survivors have a longer life expectancy than survivors without pets?  In fact, people-pet interactions are so beneficial the National Institutes of Health (NIH) even co-funded an ongoing study to research how pets can help children over developmental hurdles.  As a pet parent, of course, you already know this! Of course pets are the best therapy! They are unconditionally loving, excellent listeners, always eager to see you and oh so forgiving.  Children, teens, adults and seniors can all benefit from interactions with animals of all species. But there are many people who can’t enjoy a connection with pets due to personal circumstances.  Some of the common obstacles are stays in the hospital, allergies in a spouse or family member, a ban on pets in some assisted living or rehabilitative centers.

For these people, seeing your pet’s cheery face might be the biggest treat they get all year. And lest you assume only dogs can offer therapy to patients and people, Fox News recently reported on how even unusual animals such as fish, snakes and rats can make wonderful therapy pets in the right settings.  What better way to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day, than to share your love of animals with others?

Of course, your pet loves you just the way you are and always wants to be with you doing whatever you are doing. So there is no need to plan any special celebration on National Love Your Pet Day – your love and your bond is all the celebration you need!

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