Dreading Valentine’s Day? Why not skip the stressful dinner reservations and overpriced flowers, and make time for the one that always gives you unconditional love: your dog. Here are 10 ideas for fun dates to go on with your dog, on Valentine’s Day or any time of the year.
1. Have a Picnic
Walks and snacks are likely two of your dog’s favorite things, so why not combine them into a fun Valentine’s Day picnic outing? Grab a blanket and pack your basket full of dog-friendly treats, such as apples and peanut butter, carrots or pineapple slices. Don’t forget a Frisbee for some post-picnic play time! And if weather isn’t favorable, rain check the trip until spring.
2. Check Out a Dog-Friendly Café
Need a java fix? Bring Fido with you! Many coffee shops offer outdoor seating, so you can sip on a latte with your pup by your side, while other cafés that don’t serve food may even allow your pet inside.
3. Treat yourselves
Enjoy a little Valentine’s Day guilty pleasure. Several chains, such as Shake Shack and Starbucks, have special doggy-only treats on their menu, such as Puccinis and Puppacinos (respectively). These offerings can vary by location, so check with your local store beforehand!
4. Take a hike
Burn off those Puppacinos with a trek through the woods. Put on some comfy athletic shoes for yourself, and make sure to bring plenty of water for you and your pup.
5. Splurge on a shopping trip
Why should we be the only ones to enjoy retail therapy? Rather than just going to the pet-supply store when you’re out of the essentials, go on a fun trip with your dog and let him pick out a nice new treat or toy for himself!
6. Take in a movie
If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor movie theater in your area, and the weather permits it, bring your dog along for a film under the stars! Drive-in not an option? Netflix is better with doggy cuddles, anyway. May we suggest “Lady and the Tramp”?
7. Make some new friends
If your dog is social with other dogs, take her to the dog park to let out some energy and make some new canine companions. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a dog-loving match to celebrate Valentine’s Day with!
8. Have a beach day
Enjoying long walks on the beach may be a cliché, but it’s one that your dog would love to live out. Here are some of the top dog-friendly beaches in the U.S. Just don’t forget to check local rules and regulations about dogs on the beach, keeping in mind that these often vary between peak season and off-season times.
9. Check out a concert
Headed to see some outdoor music al fresco, or perhaps even some Shakespeare in the park? Your dog might just love the performance, too! This is great during Valentine’s Day or any other day!
10. Have a fancy dinner at home
If you can’t make reservations at the hot new restaurant in town, have a cozy night in with your best pal. Skip the bag or can of food for the night, and cook something dog-friendly from scratch. There’s now even beer and wine for dogs! Of course, be mindful of any allergies or food sensitivities your dog may have, and keep portions appropriate for your pup’s size.
Dr. Melinda J. Mayfield-Davis, DVM, WCHP-AH, brings over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She is the Technical Services Veterinarian with Innovacyn, Inc., parent company of Vetericyn Animal Wellness. She received her DVM from Oklahoma State University and now resides in Southeast Kansas with her husband, two children, four dogs, and six horses. Prior to working with Innovacyn, Dr. Mayfield owned and operated the Animal Care Center in Columbus, KS.