VIDEO: Dogs Trust canine TLC tips for ‘Love your Pet Day’

Dogs Trust is calling on owners here to show their four-legged friends some extra love this Love Your Pet Day (February 20).

Meg - a collie cross - one of the dogs at Dogs Trust Ballymena rehoming centre

The dog welfare charity polled 2,000 dog owners and 76% of people in Northern Ireland said they wish their dog could talk, especially as 64% of owners say their dog surprises them at least once a week.

Among the top questions owners in the area said they would most want to ask their dogs if they could talk were “are you happy” (68%), “how could I make your life happier” (56%), “do you understand me when I talk to you” (46%), “what do you dream about” (43%) and “do you love me” (36%)?

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Dogs Trust has these top tips to show your pet pooches just how “paw-some”:

1. Have a treasure hunt – hide some of your dog’s favourite treats in different rooms around the house and see how quickly they manage to locate them.

2. Play their favourite game – Catch? Fetch? Tug of war? Show them some love by spending time playing their favourite game with them.

3. Make them their very own Snuffle Mat! - A snuffle mat is an enrichment toy that encourages your dog to sniff and search out hidden treats amongst the mat.

4.Build them a Doggy Den - has your dog’s bed been looking pretty well lived in recently? Create your furry friend a cosy, comfortable place to sleep.

5.Teach them some new tricks! With our easy to follow Dog School videos or enrolling them in some classes.

6.Take your dog out on an adventure to their favourite walking location. Allow them to have a run around and really stretch their legs!

7.Teach your dog to treat bob! – Keep your dog entertained with these easy to make toys by following these simple instructions.

8.Give them a squeaky-clean smile - Dental hygiene is important for dogs. Head to our advice page to follow our helpful guide on how to brush their teeth.

9.Buy your dog a new collar – Your dog wears their collar 24/7, so why not make sure it’s nice, comfortable ‘fetch’ing?!

10. Make them a delicious treat! There are plenty of recipes for treats which can be eaten at all times of the year on our website, including dog friendly pancakes and mince pies!

Conor O’Kane, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust in Northern Ireland, said: “Dogs are such wonderful characters and play such a big part in our lives, and what’s clear from these statistics is that we want nothing more than to make our dogs’ lives even happier.

“Of course, every day should be love your pet day and there’s lots of different ways you can show your pet pooch just how much you love them from building them a doggy den to playing their favourite game. This Love Your Pet Day why not show some extra love to our rescue dogs as well and make some of their wishes come true by donating toys and treats to your local rehoming centre.”

The charity also asked owners in Northern Ireland what they loved most about their dogs. How affectionate they are (68%), how much of a good companion they are (64%) and how much happier they make our own lives (57%) were among some of the main reasons why we can’t live without our four-legged friends.