Since we’re in the midst of Pet Appreciation Week, I plan to turn my usual movie night into one that celebrates my faithful one-eyed black lab, Wrigley. If you have a four-legged family member and want to do something like this as well, here are some ideas.

The viewing space

Whether or not your pet is usually allowed in the area where you watch movies is going to determine the level of pet-proofing you have to do. Beyond that, the main goal is to make both you and your furry friend as comfortable as possible. You might want to move their bed in front of the screen, or even get them a new bed for the occasion! You could also spread a bunch of blankets out, picnic-style. I always stock up on those cheap fleece blankets that come rolled up — they always have them at my local drugstore — so I would definitely break a few of them out for this special evening.

Movie night with your pet is also a great excuse to buy them a few new toys and reveal them before the show starts. If your dog is like mine, he’ll appreciate having something to gnaw on while taking in the movie with you.

The treats

What you will or won’t give your pet as a treat is going to vary widely by owner. For example, we don’t give our dog “people food” (except for what he snatches FROM OUR DINNER PLATES behind our backs) because it can upset his stomach. But we will put cream cheese or peanut butter in a Kong toy, or give him various types of dog treats.

In addition to giving your pet something special to snack on before or during the movie, the absolute best thing you could do to treat them is do something out of the ordinary that you know they’ll love. For me that would involve sitting down on the floor with my dog and giving him belly rubs or behind-the-ear scratches for the entire length of the show, because normally I’d be up in a recliner while he’s down in his dog bed.

Smaller pets like hamsters or guinea pigs always seem to appreciate a little extra love as well. Those of you with kitties might have the type who actually love to be petted to the point that they can’t help but start purring. Other cats might not appreciate lovey-dovey stuff, but as their owner you’ll know how to make their time with you special.

The movie

Let’s be real: if your pet is being pampered and given treats, he or she probably isn’t going to care what’s on the screen as long as the lovin’ continues. But if you’d like to make the main attraction centered around humans and their animal companions just to complete the theme, here are some suggestions:

Here’s wishing all pets big and small a fantastic Pet Appreciation Week!

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