It may not be an official holiday, but pet-lovers all over the US celebrate National Pet Day today, on February 20. Although it’s a day to celebrate our love for all our cherished pets, we all know that dogs are the indisputable favorite (Sorry, cat lovers! But this is a statistical fact.)
Americans say they’re grateful for their dogs for different reasons. Most say it’s because their pups are a source of unconditional love and comfort. Others say their pets are the reason why they look forward to going home every day. Additionally, many believe their dogs make them better human beings.
Take the time to reflect on the reasons why you’re grateful to have your beloved dog in your life. Then, make the most of this holiday and show them just how much their presence means to you.
Need ideas? Here are 10 things you can do with your dog today!
If you’re like any other pet parent, your phone’s probably already filled to the brim with dog photos. But there’s really nothing like a photo shoot to commemorate your time with your precious pup.
Build a makeshift studio in your home, or head out to a picturesque location. Either way, you can have tons of fun playing dress-up with your most fashionable dog clothes and collecting ‘gram-worthy shots. Your pet will also love the extra attention.
A shopping spree can easily turn your pooch into the most dapper dog in town. Browse through the latest trends in dog fashion and pick up some new pieces that will make your pup stand out.
A new harness or collar might be useful, especially if you enjoy going out for walks. Having a good piece of luxury dog jewelry, however, is all the rage amongst fashion-forward pawrents. Imagine walking your dog with a gold leash and collar. Talk about a bold fashion statement!
3) Binge-watch some dog movies.A Frenchie enjoying movie night with his human. (Source)
Is your dog a certified couch potato? Whether they’re in it for the show or just some extra snuggle time, a movie night could be a nice, quiet way to spend some time with your pup. Dress them in a warm dog hoodie and grab a blanket for yourself so you can both stay nice and toasty as you marathon through popular dog movies.
Not sure what to watch? Some of your best options for binge-worthy dog movies are Marley & Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. But be ready to shed some tears, as these movies will tug at your heartstrings and definitely make you hold your pup extra close tonight.
4) Bake some pet-safe treats.A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enjoying a homemade dog treat. (Source)
Pet shops will give you plenty of treat options in various forms and flavors. But nothing will beat the goodies you can make at home. Make healthier and safer treats using what you know to be your best bud’s favorite ingredients.
What makes this even better is that the entire process of making dog treats will fill your home with a scrumptious aroma that will surely stimulate your pup’s senses. Make sure you keep them from overindulging by giving them small portions at a time.
5) Learn massage therapy for dogs.A Shiba Inu relishing the touch of her human. (Source)
If your dog loves being doted on and fussed over, pampering them with a massage can be an excellent way to express your love. There are several canine massage therapy techniques that can be beneficial to your pup.
Among the best techniques you can learn is the backstroke, where you apply long, gentle pressure along either side of the spine. This is especially useful for dogs with anxiety issues. The best part is that taking the time to massage your dog also has positive effects on your mood and stress levels.
6) Take a long walk.Two women happily taking a long walk with their dogs. (Source)
Strap in your comfiest dog harness and take a long walk. You can hit all your favorite pet-friendly spots with your furry companion, grab a snack, and encourage them to meet new friends.
Or, you can find a new place to explore—perhaps a new hiking path or a nearby beach. Either way, the physical exercise and various sights and smells should be very stimulating for your excitable pup.
7) Arrange a play date.A Corgi and a Terrier on a playing chase. (Source)
Dogs will always be devoted to their humans. But being around other dogs is the best way for them to practice being dogs. No matter how much fun you might be, a canine companion will bring out a whole other level of playfulness and excitement.
Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day with your other dog-loving friends and give your pets the chance to romp around and enjoy each other’s company. Better yet, join in and toss some toys for the dogs to chase after.
8) Introduce a new game.A dog learning a new obstacle course. (Source)
Teaching your pup new things is a great way to stimulate their mind. This is critical to having a happy and well-rounded dog. Although tricks can be mentally stimulating, games can make training time extra enjoyable.
Engaging in challenges like navigating a makeshift obstacle course or fetching specific items can be a great way to improve your communication. Games will give you more ways to interact and, ultimately, strengthen your bond.
9) Sign up for a Rally class.A Border Collie breezing through weave poles. (Source)
Rally is one of the canine sports that any dog can participate in and even excel in. Although it is a dog sport, it is one that requires close coordination with their human partners. Basically, it involves navigating a course made up of several signs. Every sign contains instructions for a command that your dog needs to follow (ex., sit, stay, down, spin, etc.).
The decision to engage in Rally is a commitment to training your dog to follow certain commands with accuracy and enthusiasm. Although it will be challenging, there’s usually a nearby class you can join for support and networking.
10) Apply to be a foster.Giving love to a needy shelter dog will help them find a forever home sooner. (Source)
The ultimate way to show your love for pets is to welcome a needy one into your home. According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter US shelters every year. Although shelters do their best to look after every animal that goes into their care, nothing beats the safety and attention a pet can get in a home. Contact your local shelter and volunteer to foster animals in their care.
Fostering will not only give your own pup a chance to make new friends. It will also give you the deeply meaningful and gratifying opportunity to help turn a miserable life into a wonderful one. Who knows? You might even end up with a more permanent addition to your family.
Your affection for your dog shines through everything you do with them and for them. In truth, they don’t need much to know that you love them. Apart from meeting their basic needs for their physical and mental health, all they need is a little bit of your time and as much undivided attention as you can spare.
Happy National Love Your Pet Day!