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The essentials

  • It is possible to have a safe and fun Valentine’s Day — …and you can do it all on a budget, too! It just comes down to making safer swaps for your canine (or feline!) companion. 
  • Stay away from dyes and fake flavors — Even if they’re marketed as “pet-safe,” they aren’t the best for your dog or cat.
  • Celebrate the love any way you want — Whether you’re buying toys, cards, or giving your pets an extra special treat, there’s no wrong way to celebrate.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re in search of the perfect gift for the love(s) of your life, we’ve got you covered! 

There are plenty of fun (and safe) ways to celebrate with your furry friends. In fact, many pet parents do. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) in 2023, 32% of consumers said they’d buy a Valentine’s Day gift for their furry loved ones — up from 27% in 2020. 

Gift block be gone, it’s time to put together a fantastic holiday for your best friend. Here’s what you need to know about throwing a Valentine’s Day to remember for your pets.

It’s important to stay safe when you celebrate. For a list of things to avoid, scroll down to the bottom of this article. It’s a quick guide to keep you and your furry friend as safe and as healthy as possible.

10 Valentine’s Day gift ideas for dogs or cats

10 Valentine’s Day gift ideas for dogs or cats

Show your fur babies some extra love this Valentine’s Day with one of our favorite gifts below.

1. Donate to an animal shelter in your pet’s name

One way you can celebrate your pet this holiday is by donating to your local animal shelter in honor of your pet. This is certainly a great way to spread love to the whole pet community!

2. Fun toys and yummy treats

What pet doesn’t love playing with a new toy or enjoying a yummy treat? Here are our pet owners’ favorite picks for dogs and cats that give mental stimulation and hours of play. 

For dogs: 

  • Chewy Valentine’s goody box. A great all-in-one option to show your pup all the love.
  • A Valentine’s Day-themed plush toy. What’s better than a holiday-themed reason to give a new toy? We love these red heart and champagne bottle plushies.
  • Milk-Bone Mini’s Valentine’s Day dog treats. Spoil your pup with all the “words of love” engraved on these adorable treats.
  • Claudia’s Canine Cuisine dog cookies. These dog cookies are cute, festive, and delicious! We think these deserve an Instagram-worthy picture with your pup.
  • Natural Dog Company products for an at-home spa day. Pamper your pooch with a little extra TLC! Our team recommends their moisturizing Paw Soother and soothing Sensitive Skin Shampoo.

For cats:

  • Chewy Valentine’s goody box. An all-in-one goody box that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day spoiling.
  • Valentine hearts teaser and plush cat toy with catnip. What cat can resist this playful teaser toy?
  • This Lepawit indoor kit. This is the perfect bundle for the holiday. The kit contains a variety of Valentine’s Day.
  • Valentine’s Day-themed mice toy with catnip. These red and white mice are a holiday-themed fan-favorite for any kitty!
  • Temptations cat treats. These shrimp-flavored treats are delicious, healthy, and a great way to show love to your pet.

🚨Too many treats can lead to GI upset, so it’s best to give them in moderation. Treats generally shouldn’t compose more than 10% of the pet’s daily calories, per our veterinary experts. 

3. A name tag for their collar

Looking for a thoughtful and practical gift for your dog or cat? Opt for a new personalized name tag for their collar! By purchasing a new tag, you can make sure that your contact information is updated and their name is legible. It’s the ideal way to avoid confusion if they ever get out and about. 

Chewy has a lot of great options, like this colorful silicone dog or cat tag. However, this can’t really be a placement for a microchip — as tags and collars can be taken off or destroyed over time. 

4. A comfy bed

Is your pet’s bed looking worn out? Treat them to a new bed! It’s a surefire way to keep them comfortable and cozy all night long. Here are our favorite chew-proof dog beds for canines of all sizes. 

For cats, this plush round bed will make them want to curl up and snooze. The best part? They’re all machine washable! (Additionally, you could always book a specialty pet massage for your furry friend!) 

5. Food and water bowls

These raised food and water bowls for cats are cute and simple. They’re made from pet-safe materials and are whisker-friendly! For your dog, this adjustable, elevated dog bowl set will make mealtime a breeze — and it’s elegant for you, the pet parent, to look at. 

🚨It’s best to shop for ceramic or stainless steel options, as plastic can lead to allergic reactions or acne in some pets. 

6. A fresh new look

Get into the festive mood and dress your pal up in a festive collar or bandana. This one is easy! Find a Valentine’s Day-inspired collar and throw it on. You can also opt for a cute heart-printed sweater. Have a pet that’s not too fond of clothing? Consider buying a holiday-themed one to make them feel extra spoiled.

🚨Collars should generally be “breakaway style” for your pet’s health. You don’t want them getting tangled up and hurt if they get caught on something. 

7. Quality 1:1 time

Sometimes the best gift we can give is some extra time and attention. Take your dog out for a long walk on their favorite trail or treat them to a game of fetch. For cats, play with their favorite toy inside and give them lots of cuddles.

8. Pet-safe chocolate — Yes, it exists!

Chocolate seems to be the most popular gift on Valentine’s Day. While we don’t want to exclude our furry valentines from celebrating with us, chocolate is NOT safe for them. The good news is there’s a pet-safe alternative to chocolate — it’s called carob.

Carob is a natural plant that has a flavor like chocolate, though it’s sweeter than cocoa. It’s full of nutrients (including calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins) and even provides protein and fiber. It doesn’t contain caffeine, theobromine, phenylethylamine, or other toxins to pets that are found in chocolate. People who have sensitivities or allergies to chocolate also eat carob as an alternative.

Pick up some carob-flavored dog biscuits for your pup to enjoy. But, make sure your dog doesn’t eat a large number of carob treats as this can lead to an upset stomach.

9. Pet wine and champagne — Bottoms up!

It’s not drinking alone if your pet is home, right? Better yet, get your fur friends a drink of their own this Valentine’s Day. For our feline friends, the Apollo Peak Cat Wine is a 100% organic liquid catnip designed to entice even the classiest of cats into playtime. For our dog moms and dog dads out there, give the dog wine a try.

While pups may not react to this dog wine as cats do to theirs (dogs don’t exactly have an equivalent to catnip), most pups will exhibit a relaxed state of behavior. And who can beat the incredibly named bottles? Our personal favorites are the ZinfinTAIL and PURRsecco.

10. DIY baked goods 

We enjoy home-baked goods, so why wouldn’t our pets? We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite pet-safe recipes online for you to try this Valentine’s Day.

  • Peanut butter cookies. These simple (yet tasty) peanut butter treats are a fan favorite (according to our in-house panel of pup-taste testers).
  • Pumpkin ginger dog biscuits. Bake up a batch of these yummy treats to get your pumpkin-lovin’ dog’s tail wagging. The pumpkin in these treats can also help ease upset tummies.
  • Carob Valentine’s Day conversation hearts. These doggie treats are made with carob, a pet-friendly alternative to chocolate.

Time to get your bake on!

Valentine’s Day hazards to keep away from your pets

With so much love in the air, it’s also really important to be mindful of safety. A lot of the commercialized Valentine’s items can be very toxic for animals. Here are some common holiday-themed items to keep out of reach from your pets. 

  • Boxes of chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats because they’re unable to properly digest it. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous to pets because it contains the most theobromine, a toxin found in chocolate.
  • Xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener commonly found in things like candies, chewing gum, toothpaste, and even some peanut butter brands. While we don’t condone spoiling your pet with human candies, we do recommend reading the label on anything kept around the house that your pets can accidentally get into. Animals that consume xylitol can experience severe drops in blood sugar, which can lead to seizures and liver failure.
  • Roses. They’re beautiful, yes, but they can cause upset tummies and even bowel obstruction if ingested. 
  • Lilies. They’re commonly sold in Valentine’s Day bouquets, but lilies are extremely toxic to cats — the Stargazer lily, Tiger lily, and Asiatic lilies are the most dangerous.  Even ingesting a petal, leaf, pollen, or water that held a lily can lead to fatal kidney failure. 
  • Wine or other alcohol. Nothing goes better with a good meal than a glass of wine, but problems can occur when a glass is left out for a pet to lap up. All it takes is one to three grapes to cause a problem for some dogs, so there’s no need to risk it by giving them human wine. Plus, alcohol alone is unsafe for them.
  • Candles. Be careful of lighting candles around your dog or cat. They could accidentally stick a paw in the wax or knock it over, and no one wants to spend Valentine’s Day at the vet’s office or with the fire department!
  • Bags and wrapping. Gift wraps and trimmings can be very pretty, but they can also be a big temptation for curious dogs and cats who want to use them as a new toy. If swallowed, gift wrap and trimmings have the potential to become lodged in a pet’s intestinal tract, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal blockages that call for surgical removal.

Watch for signs of potential poisoning

Pet parents should watch for any signs of poisoning in their fur babies. These can include:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Shakes and chills
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Fever
  • Labored breathing
  • Lack of coordination, weakness, or difficulty standing
  • Confusion

🚨 If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic or poisonous substance, call ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

How do pets say ‘I love you’?

Pets communicate often, telling us their moods, their state of health, and their experiences. You may be surprised to learn this, but many pets can even say ‘I love you,’ often choosing to do so in unique ways. Here are a few signs to watch for that could indicate that your pet feels loved and cared for. 

Body language 

Dogs and cats have some similarities in this method of saying ‘I love you,’ often using head butts, tail posture, and flicking to convey their excitement at seeing you. Both dogs and cats might also lick to show affection, although this is more commonly seen in dogs than in cats. 

Feel like you’re being watched? You probably are! Both dogs and cats stay engaged with you when they feel close and happy, often training (or “gazing”) their eyes on you to see what your next move will be. You can determine if this behavior is done out of love or concern depending on their other body language.

For example: Hunched back? They’re probably feeling threatened. Coupled with head butts and purring or happy yips? They’re probably feeling pretty loved. 

Through action 

Dogs and cats are pretty different in this regard. Cats are fans of passive action that shows affection and are often caught kneading on the soft spots of their owners to show closeness. They might even gift you something for Valentine’s Day — although it’s more likely to be a mouse or a bird than a Louis Vuitton bag. 

Dogs might be more outright, licking you excitedly and inviting you to play. They might do this by leaving a ball at your feet or directing you to their favorite playtime toys. 

Valentine’s Day is one of the most loving holidays of the year. We’re so excited that you want to extend those good vibes to your pet, and are here to help you do so safely. Focus on creating experiences and memories using pet-safe items — whether that looks like a fresh new scarf for your pet pal or a tasty, pet-safe treat. We bet there will be a few kisses or headbutts in your future! 

Also, remember to steer clear of fake dyes, flavors, xylitol, chocolate, or alcohol, as these can be quite harmful to your pet. Be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of unintentional ingestion or poisoning for extra peace of mind.

Frequently asked questions

How can I show that I love my dog? 

Our pets are very in tune with our emotions — so even the little things (like speaking kindly to your pet (praising them with an uplifting tone), and petting them) can make a world of difference. Your pet will feel the love, and will likely give you some sweet kisses in return! 

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your pet? 

There are many different ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your pet. Many owners choose to invest in a new toy or pet-safe treat for them, or they may choose to dress them up in cut ethemed outfits. There’s no wrong way to celebrate, so long as your pet is kept safe. 

Can pets be your Valentine? 

Pets can absolutely be your Valentine! Many pet parents celebrate, putting their pets at the forefront. They’re our fur babies, after all! 

Do pets know we love them? 

Our pets know we love them by our actions. Chances are, if you’re on this blog post, you care enough about your pet to honor them with the holiday — which is so sweet and kind! Looking to give a little extra love? You can always pause for a second and go give them some cuddles, praising them for being so awesome. 

Is it okay to kiss your pet? 

Many pet parents kiss their pets on the head. While this is relatively safe, our veterinary experts recommend steering clear of the mouth area — especially if your pet is on a raw food diet. This is an easy way to transmit pathogens to you, which can make you sick.