From cats to dogs, turtles and rabbits, humans have a long history of keeping animals as pets. And why shouldn’t we—research has shown that owning a pet can help with depression and wellbeing. It’s not just on a psychological level either; socializing even helps to strengthen our responses to disease and infection. Humans are a social species, it seems.
It’s also clear that we shower our pets with as much love as our human children. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to show how much you care, here are 7 ways you, as a pet lover, can reflect it:
1. Groom them
Grooming is more than just about making sure your pet looks pretty; it’s also about their wellbeing. A regular grooming session not only offers bonding time, but also the chance to check for cuts or grazes they might have picked up running around outside. Other things to look out for include any irregular bumps, ticks, fleas and the general condition of their fur. They’ll love you more for it in the long run.
2. Cuddle them
Like humans, animals appreciate touch. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. While most of us instinctively go to pat them on the head, this is a sign of dominance and can appear intimidating. Instead, it’s better to scratch them behind the ears or under the chin. Even better, cats or dogs love being scratched on their belly.
3. Wear your love—literally
While your pets may not get as much out of this as you do, it’s still a nice gesture to show how much you love your pet. Paw print jewelry, such as paw print earrings or a paw print necklace, can be a sweet and simple way to demonstrate your affection.
Jewelry for pet lovers can also go beyond a mere style statement. Some pendants come with charming quotes dedicated to the idea of man’s best friend. Or, if you’ve lost a pet recently, it can be nice to have a memorial charm. It’s also a great idea for gifts if you have friends or family who are dog or cat lovers.
4. Talk to them
A great way to make a meaningful connection with your pets is to speak with them. Science has shown that animals do recognize human words, although it appears to vary from species to species how much they understand. It can also help with the pet’s sense of identity.
5. Play with them
Playing with our pets can be a way to form a bond and strengthen our relationship with them. Play also allows animals to develop both physically and mentally, by allowing them to exercise their bodies and minds, and can help them form social skills. Whether you throw a toy or a stick around or simply just spend time with them, it’s a nice way to show you care.
6. Give them treats
Pets, like humans, love a good treat, and feeding them allows us to become closer. It’s important not to go overboard though—just like maybe feeding yourself 20 donuts a day might not be the healthiest, feeding your pet too many treats can be poor for their wellbeing. Experts suggest that pets don’t mind what their treat is, as long as it’s there, so you can save on expensive store-bought treats and give them something simple, like popcorn or berries, instead. You’ll be showing them love in more ways than one.
7. Take them to a pet café
Pets like a treat-yourself experience as much as humans, so why not show them some love by taking them to a pet café, with gourmet treats for both humans and animals? Social pets like dogs especially love being around other dogs, and many locations have a special space for animals to play while their owners relax, so it’s a win-win.
Humans and animals have a very special bond that transcends cultures and goes back thousands of years. From wearing paw print charms to a cat necklace to simply spending time with them, one thing’s for certain: we can never show too much love for them.