In our busy lives, it’s all too easy to overlook the little things our pets do for us every day that make us happier and healthier. Did you know that simply gazing into your beloved pet’s eyes boosts your mood, lowers your blood pressure and even reduces your levels of stress hormones? It’s true — your pet is good for you!
That’s why the American Veterinary Medical Association declared in 1981 that the first full week in June is Pet Appreciation Week, dedicated to focusing on our pets’ health, wellness and happiness. It’s your chance to slow down and think about what you can do to thank your best furiends for all the unconditional love they show you!
How to Show Your Pet Love for Pet Appreciation Week
Feed a Healthy Diet
Food is love — and that means one of the best ways to show your pets you appreciate them is to feed them the very best!
An excellent place to start is with low-carb, protein-rich freeze-dried treats and snacks. If you haven’t stepped up to the VE RAW BAR before, Pet Appreciation Week is the perfect time to try! These tasty and unique single ingredient snacks consist of individual animal parts that are naturally nutrient-rich. For example: Duck Hearts are high in heart-healthy taurine, Pig Ears and Pig Snouts are high in hydroxyproline and collagen for strong joints, and Salmon Skins are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids that boost the immune system.
One of the easiest ways to take your pet’s diet to the next level of wellness is to feed them the occasional tripe supplement. This slightly stinky superfood makes for a scrumptious surprise snack. Dogs and cats all go mad for tripe, and it’s outrageously good for them, too — bursting with probiotics and omega fatty acids. Basically, imagine if kale tasted like chocolate…that’s what tripe represents for your pets!
Or, to incorporate more raw goodness at mealtime, try sprinkling a freeze-dried topper onto your pet’s regular food. There are many health benefits to an added boost of natural protein, such as improved digestion and more muscle mass. Both dogs and cats love the taste of toppers.
Finally, to keep your pet in the very best shape and lower their risk of obesity and other health challenges, put them on the ultimate healthy diet: 100% raw! Pet Appreciation Week is the ideal time for you to take the plunge and transition to a fully raw diet.
Play Games and Exercise
Exercising your pet is the perfect way to improve their health, make them happy, and build your bond with your best pal at the same time!
There are many possible sports or canine competitions that you can participate in with your dog, from agility to barn hunt to dock diving. Most likely, you haven’t even heard of some of them! Why not look for a group in your area and try something new?
Or, you could always stick with the classics: a romp at the dog park or a rousing game of fetch in the backyard. Spice things up in a simple way by choosing somewhere new for your daily walk, or even finding a nature reserve to hike in. Remember that even a few additional walks per week helps your dog stay fit, reducing their risk of obesity (and the health problems that come with it).
Don’t forget that cats need exercise, too! Build in daily playtime for your kitty to give Whiskers the chance to run around, jump on surfaces, and climb on the furniture. Chasing games are fun and tiring for your cat, as well as fulfilling their ancestral need to hunt and “kill.” (That toy mouse won’t know what hit it!)
Prioritize Mental Enrichment and Training
Another way to show your pet you appreciate them is by feeding their hungry minds!
Vets and pet parents are realizing more and more that keeping your pet’s mind engaged is just as important as exercising their bodies. One excellent way to this is with mental enrichment toys, which are designed to challenge your pet to solve a puzzle to earn a tasty reward.
Vital Essentials food and treats are perfect for keeping your pet engaged in their enrichment toys. Try using your pal’s favorite treats as encouragement to solve puzzles, or filling a Kong, Toppl or similar toy with mini nibs.
Another creative option is to use Vital Essentials frozen patties to create a long-lasting “licking” toy. Thaw the patty slightly until you can fit it into the toy, then refreeze it. Once the toy-and-patty is solid, give it to your pup as an extra-special reward! Licking is a self-soothing behavior for dogs, so having something tasty to settle down with and lick for a while is relaxing for Fido. Plus, nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice-cold “pupsicle!”
Yet don’t feel like you need to splurge on expensive canine puzzles or enrichment toys if you don’t want to. The truth is, you can make simple and effective DIY enrichment games with nothing more than household items.
Finally, another great way to exercise your pet’s mind is through consistent training sessions. Regular training burns off your pet’s energy more than you might expect, as well as improving your pet’s impulse control, concentration, and their bond with you. As your pet learns that focusing on you brings rewards, they’ll eagerly look forward to pleasing you and learning new things!
There are many ways to celebrate Pet Appreciation Week with your best furiends. Feeding healthy snacks, playing active games and training new tricks are all excellent ways to show your pet how much you care.
But at the end of the day, all your precious pets really want…is bonding time with the person they love most in all the world. (Hint: That’s YOU!)
Looking for other times to celebrate your pet? Review our full calendar of pet holidays.