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AFURS OF THE HEART; Pets and their People; Your amazing animals and wonderful wildlife; Animal Valentine tips of the.

Byline: Karen Rockett

LOVE is in the air this week - but we'd rather be cuddling our pets than our partners this Valentine's Day.

One in five people will also be buying soppy gifts to give to their cats and dogs on Friday, a study found.

Cat owners spend nearly four hours a week talking to their pets and squeeze in nine hours of cuddle time, the research by rover.com found.

So here are some ways to show your beloved how much you care.

1. Cuddles and tickles An extra walk and some bonus cuddle and play time costs nothing. And additional exercise and snuggles are a healthy, happy choice for you as well.

2. Love chew The way to a pet's heart is often through their stomach - but your Valentine's chocs are a no-no. Handily, pet bakeries are popping up across the country and online, serving up treats catered to their dietary restrictions. You can even whip up a batch from home.

Remember not to leave your own Valentine's gifts lying around. Not only is chocolate poisonous to pets but flowers can be too. Lilies in particular are very toxic to cats.

3. Good boy toys Pet shops welcome most animals so take Fido along to choose a new toy.

If they already have plenty to play with, consider donating bedding, food or cash to an animal shelter or rescue group in your pet's name.

4. Walkies date If your pooch enjoys playing with others, invite his doggy pals over or organise a group dog walk.

5. Spread kindness Valentine's Day can be a lonely time for animals. So share the love by visiting an animal shelter and donate your time and attention to rescued pets. You could even adopt a pet yourself or take yours on a visit to see someone who could do with some special cuddles.

6. Make a playlist Music streaming service Spotify launched a pet playlist last month, featuring anxiety-reducing songs to keep your dogs and cats calm.

The Pet Playlist cleverly allows owners to put together tracks based on their animal's personality type.

Spotify found that music can help relieve stress in pets, as well as boost happiness and make them feel less lonely when they are home alone.

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Author:Karen Rockett
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2020
Words:376
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