Birthdays and Christmas have been staple holidays for pet owners looking to spoil their animals for quite some time now. But a lesser-known chance to shower some extra affection on our furry friends is coming up: Valentine’s Day.

The popularity of Valentine’s Day for pets

According to a recent Finder online survey of 2,398 U.S. adults, Valentine’s Day spending for pets will reach US$751.3 million in 2020, up 16% from 2019’s US$647.9 million. Some 27.6 million households (roughly 11% of all American households) will give gifts to their dogs, while 17.1 million households (6.7% of all U.S. homes) will buy gifts for their cats.

Interestingly, men are planning on spending more on their pets than women: according to Finder’s research, men are planning on spending an average of US$23.93 on Valentine’s gifts for their dogs and US$19.04 on their cats; women plan to spend US$13.88 on their dogs and US$13.92 on their cats’ Valentine’s Day presents. And while Generation X is planning on spending the most on their pets during the heart-ful holiday (an average of US$20.85 on their dogs and US$21.44 on their cats), millennials aren’t far behind (US$17.25 on their dogs, US$18.31 on their cats).

Pampered pets and special occasions

It really isn’t difficult to imagine that any holiday can be seen as an opportunity to give pets a little extra love. A simple Google search for “holiday pet products” returns page after page of well-researched “top 10” lists, holiday guides, and specialty/seasonal food, treats, toys and clothes. A 2019 infographic compiled by Advantage Solutions on “The humanization of pets” revealed that 44% of pet owners buy presents for their pets on special occasions and 28% throw birthday parties for their dogs. (I myself am not above admitting that my dog and two cats have their own stockings at Christmas and get special meals on their birthdays.)

Those in the pet business are well versed in taking advantage of those numbers. Sojos, for example, offers Holiday Feast treats for dogs in Turkey & Cranberry flavor. Merrick offers seasonal wet food formulas such as Christmas Day Dinner with chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and peas in gravy. Petco.com has a “Holiday Hub” with specific links to their Valentine’s Day, birthday, Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah and wedding shops. It’s clearly good business to have something for pet owners to consider when their holiday of choice comes around.

Briefly: What to get your dog for Valentine’s Day, according to the AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has provided a list of the best gifts to get that special four-legged someone in your life this coming Valentine’s Day:

  • A squeaky plush or other dog toy in a Valentine’s Day theme
  • A Valentine’s Day heart collar
  • A Valentine’s Day dog sweater
  • Heart-shaped dog treats

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