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How Aussies Celebrate their Pet's Milestones

In the lead up to Pet Appreciation Week (June 2-8), Pet Behaviourist Lara Shannon shares her tips on celebrating our pets.

In Australia, pets are cherished members of the family, celebrating their milestones has become a heart-warming trend. 

Recent findings by Petstock [1] reveal that two-thirds of pet owners actively commemorate significant occasions like birthdays, with a fifth of Australian pet owners likely to plan something for their pet in the next 12 months. 

Notably, Brisbane, Perth, and Tasmania lead the pack in celebrating Pet Birthdays and Gotcha Days, a celebration of the day the pet was adopted, showcasing the profound bond between pet parents and their furry companions.

Lara Shannon, Pet Behaviourist and Petstock Ambassador, emphasises the importance of integrating pets into special occasions. "Incorporating pets into our celebrations enriches the experience and strengthens the emotional connection we share with them," says Lara. 

"In my experience, pets keenly sense and understand our joy and excitement. Including them in our special occasions or acknowledging their achievements and milestones with treats or doing fun activities together is something, I believe, they enjoy and appreciate."

Birthdays and Gotcha Days: Feting Pet Milestones

Whether your pet revels in social gatherings or prefers quieter affairs, there are numerous ways to celebrate their milestones. 
For outgoing pets, hosting a birthday bash or Gotcha Day soirĂ©e can be a pet's dream. 

"Socially inclined pets thrive on attention. Ensure the party venue is pet-safe and stocked with essentials such as toys and treats," says Shannon.

"But be careful not to overwhelm them. Watch out for signs that your pet needs some down time."

For pets inclined towards quieter joys, Shannon says modest activities like an extended stroll or a specially prepared meal can be equally meaningful. "Mark the occasion with activities tailored to your pet's inclinations and temperament," advises Shannon. 

"Establishing traditions like capturing an annual photo or sharing a new toy can create enduring memories.”

Commending Pet Wins

Every milestone in a pet's journey warrants acknowledgement, whether it involves overcoming a fear, mastering a new trick, or adapting to a new routine. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in celebrating these achievements and encouraging further progress. Shannon underscores the importance of recognising and commemorating these triumphs to foster a strong bond between pets and their owners. 

Here are some effective ways to commend your pet's wins:

✔️ Celebrate Small Victories: Acknowledge even the smallest achievements to encourage progress.

✔️ Use Verbal Praise: Offer cheerful verbal praise to reinforce positive behaviour.

✔️ Reward with Treats: Use healthy pet treats as rewards for accomplishments, and remember some human treats can be toxic to pets. .

✔️ Engage in Playtime: Dedicate special play sessions to reward your pet and strengthen your bond.

✔️ Be Consistent: Establish clear expectations and consistently reward desired behaviours to reinforce good habits.

Bringing Pets Onboard for Personal Celebrations

Pets can play a special role in their owners' celebrations, adding warmth and happiness to any occasion. Whether it's a birthday, anniversary, or any significant achievement, including your furry friend can amplify the joyous atmosphere.

"Pets are not just companions; they're part of the family," emphasises Lara. Consider incorporating them into your festivities with pet-friendly treats, decorations, or even a special bandana or bow tie for the occasion.

Here are some tips from Lara when it comes to involving your pet in personal celebrations:

✔️ Know Your Pet’s Personality: Evaluate your pet’s temperament and choose activities that suit their comfort level.

✔️ Choose the Right Venue: Confirm that the venue allows pets and check their policies regarding animals, especially if food will be served.

✔️ Prepare Your Pet: Include your pet in rehearsals and familiarise them with the venue to minimise anxiety on the big day.

✔️ Inform Your Guests: Give guests advance notice if a pet will be present, considering allergies or phobias.

✔️ Assign a Pet Handler: If it's an event like your wedding, designate someone to care for your pet during the event, ensuring they are fed, hydrated, and comfortable.

As we celebrate our pets, we also celebrate the positive impact they have on our lives. Taking the time to honour these milestones is not just a celebration of our pets but also a recognition of the love and joy they bring into our lives every day. 

For more tips on pet celebrations and all things pet care, visit the Petstock website or chat with a friendly team member at your nearest store.

[1] Petstock research 2023

MEDIA RELEASE, 23rd May 2024

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