Valentine’s Day is the time when we give gifts to those we love. And according to surveys, people really love their pets.
A 2011 Harris poll found that 90 percent of pet owners see their dogs and cats as members of the family. Eighty percent of respondents to a PoochPerks.com poll said they prefer the company of their dog to that of other people.
Meanwhile, an American Animal Hospital Association sampling found that 40 percent of married female dog owners say they get more emotional support from their pet than from their family members.
All these findings make one thing perfectly clear: Your four-legged loved one deserves a little recognition on Feb. 14. So, we’ve rounded up the seven of the best Valentine’s gift ideas for your pooch.
Best of all, these gifts don’t cost much — you may even save enough to buy a Valentine’s card for your spouse. But only if he or she takes the dog for a walk first, of course!
1. Tag your pet
Show your canine companion just how much you value their safety this Valentine’s Day with a new, personalized ID tag. Love Your Pets offers eye-catching, aluminum dog tags in a choice of six fun shapes and eight colors for under $4. The tags even come with a lifetime guarantee.
Looking for a gift with a little more sparkle? Check out these blinged-out Swarovski crystal dog tags, which sell for less than $8.
2. Bake your heart out for that chowhound
It’s long been said that the way to the heart is through the stomach. So what better way to demonstrate your love for your furry Valentine than by baking up a batch of homemade dog biscuits?
These healthy Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats contain just three economical ingredients you might already have on hand — oatmeal, peanut butter and banana.
Some people worry that peanut butter is not safe for dogs, but Preventive Vet says it’s fine as long as you don’t give your dog too much. Also, avoid the handful of peanut butter products that contain the sweetener xylitol — it is potentially deadly for dogs.
Does your chow hound have a more refined palate? This sophisticated Tomato Herb dog treat recipe is guaranteed to wow your discerning doggie.
3. Make that boy (or girl) a toy
What do dogs love most? Well, yes, we hope it’s their owners, too. But toys are a close second.
There is no need to spend a fortune on fancy store-bought toys that they’ll tear to shreds within a few weeks. Instead, make your very own heartfelt Valentine’s Day gift from repurposed materials that you can find around the house.
This DIY T-Shirt Toy from barkpost.com, for instance, requires only a pair of scissors and two “gently used” T-shirts — preferably ones that smell like you! Look for red or pink ones to keep in theme with the holiday.
4. Schedule a dog’s day out
Spend some quality time on the town with your canine is one of the best Valentine’s gifts of all. Aside from a little gas money, this gift won’t cost you a penny.
Whether it’s a long, relaxing drive (providing your pup enjoys car rides), a trip to the local dog park (don’t forget to bring the ball!) or a jog around the neighborhood, give your dog the attention and affection they deserve on Valentine’s Day.
To find a nearby dog park, use this locator from DogPark.com.
5. Pamper your pooch
Want to show your beloved pup that they’re top dog on Valentine’s Day? Give them a taste of the good life with a day of at-home pampering. Bathe, dry and brush your dog’s coat.
Follow it up with a relaxing massage.While this may sound like the ultimate canine luxury, it can have practical benefits as well. For example, if thunder and lightning spook Spot, learning the right massage technique can help relax your best friend in his time of need. As Modern Dog reports:
Massage therapists use a stroke similar to petting to relax the nervous system. Lightly rest the flat palm of your hand on top of your dog’s head or neck. Make long, sweeping passes along the length of the spine and down the tail. Repeat this several times slowly.
6. Dress up your dog
Planning to take a Valentine’s Day stroll around town with Fido or Fifi? Be sure to dress them up for the occasion. Pampered Paw Gifts sells doggie bow ties — complete with hearts or kissable lips — for just under $10 each. When we last looked, the site was offering a “Sweetheart Sale” discount that dropped the price to $5.
7. Feed your best friend with love
A heart-themed bowl offers the perfect way to say “I love you” to your dog this Valentine’s Day. Use it as a water or dinner bowl, and you’ll have a visual reminder of your love 365 days of the year. Best of all, when we last checked this bowl from Loving Pets was less than $5 on Amazon.
Do you have any great Valentine’s gift ideas for your dog? Share them in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.