Valentine’s Day is one of those crazy made-up celebrations – some love it, some hate it. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. But it’s February, and in the northern hemisphere, we need something special this time of year.
Not all of us like to ski and even fewer ski with our dogs, so let’s have some dog Valentine’s Day fun during record low temperatures.
Welcome to the dogtrotting.net guide to creating a Dog Valentine’s Day … no flowers necessary. First, we focus on treats then fun gifts and fundraisers:
1. Real Heart Dog Treats or Dehydrated Chicken Hearts
This one isn’t for everyone – in fact, I’m not even sure it’s for me. But I finally used my dehydrator, which I got specifically for the purpose of making dog treats. Why not stay on theme and start with hearts? Raw chicken hearts are usually reasonably cheap, and they require little prep before going into the dehydrator.
Here is how to dehydrate chicken hearts for you dog:
- Separate the dehydrator trays and line them with parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Cut off any fat from the hearts with a sharp knife.
- Wash your hands after touching raw chicken and before you touch anything else.
- Organize the hearts on evenly on the dehydrator trays so none are touching. (You want even air flow around each). Wash hands again.
- Set on highest temperature and dehydrate for at least 12 hours depending on the model of your dehydrator. Note: remove the parchment paper at the halfway mark.
- Store the dehydrated hearts in the a jar in the fridge – vacuum sealing is even better if you have that equipment. Note that even dehydrated, fat goes rancid easily. Chicken hearts contain fat.
2. Home baked Heart-shaped Dog Valentine’s Day Treats
Baking for my dog on Valentine’s Day is almost a tradition – there are many recipes I’ve experimented with posted on dogtrotting.net. (Maybe we’ll even compile a cookbook soon). But experimenting is touch and go, even if dogs aren’t too picky about the results.
This year I played it safe and bought a dog cookie mix – yes, there are such things. Most mixes involve adding liquid and even eggs, so the box or kit is not all you will need. However, the results are more likely to be successful than if I winged it on my own.
I cheated a bit and used Wisk & Wag dog treat mix and just added water and oil. . Give it a try. Then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter (and a bone-shaped one too), and volia … suddenly you’ve got Valentine’s Day themed assorted dog treats.
3. Heart Chews from Barkworthies
Of course, not all of us have the time for baking or dehydrating – but what’s a celebration without treats? Dogs love treats, so just buy ‘em a bag.
For my dog, everyday is treat day, but Love Bones from Barkworthies make Valentine’s Day special. These chews are heart-shaped with a dark centre, I know what we’re celebrating. Otherwise, my dog knows she’s getting a chew – a Barkworthies chew made from real chicken and all natural ingredients.
A good source of protein, Barkworthies Love Bones are long lasting chews that should keep my pup busy, at least long enough for me to clean up the kitchen after making her treats she likely ate too fast.
4. From the Heart Dog Bathrobe
A spa day for the dog sounds like fun for me – I love when the dog is clean and fragrant. But baths aren’t much fun for her, even if we are using some of our favourite bath products from Espree (affiliate link) and earthbath (affiliate link).
But my dog does love being wrapped in a plush or terry dog bath robe after her wet down. Until now, my current dog Victoria was using my previous dog’s blue bath robe. However, this Valentine’s Day I bought Victoria a robe of her own – primarily because I my white pup looks great in red and she’s even more adorable wrapped in hearts.
I found this plush red dog robe at PetSmart, but I understand the larger sizes sold out fast.
5. Picture Perfect Pet Photos
Pet photo opportunities and events are a great way for pet rescue organizations to fundraise – and great way for volunteers supporting these organizations to help. If you’re a great portrait photographer, maybe consider donating your time. If not, please support a pet portrait opportunity.
On February 11, I’ll be heading to Bring Your Dog Café in Hamilton, Ontario to get my precious pup immortalize among pink and red hearts. For $30 participants get three digital images from BowWowWow photography. (I’ll add these to the images of my pup with Santa and with pumpkins).
Visit the dogtrotting Dog Events page here for more pet photo events happening Valentine’s Day weekend.
6. Candles for Canines and Cats Fundraiser
This one isn’t specifically for my dog, but it is for the dogs … and cats and others. Many animal rescues and SPCAs across North America embark on seasonal fundraising activities (in addition to photos – see #5). One that caught my eye can be found on the Ontario SPCA online catalogue of gifts: Pawsitively Loved Candles.
The Ontario SPCA is selling scented soy candles in a 6 oz black tin created by Cheeky Candle Co. And what could be more Canadian than a crème brulee scent? (Ok, maybe maple, but these are close). Bring on the smell of caramelization for a good cause.
Also note that soy burns slower than paraffin wax (which is a petroleum oil product) and doesn’t emit black soot. Good quality – great cause.
What are you doing with your dog this Valentines Day? Let us know in the comments below.
I’m Sherri Telenko, a professional writer for 30 years and travel writer for the last 20. I’m a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America. I’ve lived with cats, dogs, horses and guinea pigs all my life, and I travel almost weekly with my canine companion, Victoria.