People often forget to schedule self-care, and the same goes for their pets. Many of your favorite pastimes—exercise, aromatherapy and a massage—can relax dogs and cats, too! It’s important to plan regular spa days for your fur baby to look after their health and show how much you care.
Here are a few spa day ideas to help your pet find their zen.
Blow off steam with play time
Your pet will be excited to spend quality time with you—maybe a little too excited! When you walk into the room, energetic pets can hardly sit still long enough to receive a friendly head scratch. Kick off your spa day with some play time to burn through all that energy. Your pet will be much more inclined to lay down and relax after an intense workout.
A spa day is the perfect time to do activities your pet enjoys the most. Dogs love a rousing game of keep away with their favorite chew toys. Better yet, surprise them with a brand-new toy! Let your pup run around at the park, or explore a new nature trail together. The activity itself doesn’t really matter as long as they get to do it with you.
Kitties can get in on the fun, too! All your kitty needs is 15 minutes of play time in the living room. Cats go nuts for catnip-scented mice, teaser wands and kicker toys. Catnip has the added benefit of calming stress and anxiety in cats, which helps set the right mood for a relaxing spa day.
Make their coat soft and shiny
Once your pet is tuckered out, brush their coat to remove dead hair and restore its luscious shine. Grooming evenly distributes natural oils to rehydrate dry hair and skin. Brushes also detangle and remove loose strands to prevent hairballs and painful mats in the coat. Plus, it’s a calming activity that establishes trust and strengthens the bond you two share.
Heal dry, flaky skin by rubbing in a pet-friendly lotion or oil. Ask your vet to recommend products that are best for your cat or dog. Don’t apply moisturizers designed for humans because they might contain ingredients or artificial fragrances that irritate your pet’s skin. Use products that are nontoxic in case your pet licks the treated area.
Ease soreness with a massage
Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy a good massage! They’re a great way to reduce your pet’s anxiety, bond with them and express your love. Massages ease chronic pain by stimulating blood flow to sore muscles and joints. Increased circulation carries more oxygen throughout the body, which can help them recover from injury. Senior pets benefit from massage therapy because it loosens stiff joints, leading to greater flexibility and range of motion.
Slowly introduce pets to massage therapy. Start by scratching under the chin or behind the ears. If they’re still relaxed, gently massage down the back of their neck with your thumb and index finger. Cats, in particular, love firm pressure at the base of the tail. Once your pet is comfortable with massages, experiment with other areas like the shoulders, hips and thighs. Apply gentle pressure in circular motions to relax the muscles.
Not all pets are into massages, especially cats. Respect your pet’s boundaries and never force something they don’t want to do. Keep this in mind if your fur baby had traumatic experiences with humans in the past. Monitor their reaction to massages and stop right away if they show signs of discomfort or pain.
Diffuse lavender for stress relief (dogs only!)
Essential oils are a big part of many people’s self-care routine. Unfortunately, a lot of essential oils are toxic to cats and dogs. Oils that get ingested, inhaled or applied topically can produce symptoms that range from mildly irritating to deadly. Cats are extra sensitive, so it’s best to avoid essential oils with them altogether. Try alternative means of aromatherapy, such as pheromone plugins or sprays.
There’s one exception—lavender is safe for dogs in small amounts. Much like with humans, lavender can relieve stress and help your dog sleep better at night. Set the tone for your dog’s spa day by adding a few drops of lavender oil to a diffuser. Remember, this is only safe for pet parents who don’t have cats in the house!
Your pet deserves nothing less than the best. A spa day will make them feel loved, and they’ll grow more comfortable in your home. All the activities discussed here provide immediate health benefits for your pet’s body and spirit. It’s the perfect excuse to unwind with your fur baby!