10 Ways to Celebrate Your Pet

three pets, two dogs and a cat, wearing party hats, against a white backdrop

National Pet Month is almost over, but you can celebrate all year long!

We asked some of our friends in the veterinary and pet fields for their favorite ideas for celebrating that special bond.

1. Take Your Pet with You

“Celebrate by spending time with your pet,” says Kristen LevinWhe of Kristen Levine Pet Living. “They want to be with you more than anything else. Take your dog to the park, the beach, join an agility class together. Leash train your cat and go on walks together. Do something that benefits the health of you and your pet.”g

2. Donate to Shelters and Rescue Organizations

“Your local pet shelters always need help. Donate new toys, fresh kibble, new beds, or money!” recommends Andrea Barbosa of Norah by Earth. “Do you know how much joy one toy can bring to a cat or dog feeling abandoned, alone, and in need of a friend? You can even donate in your pet’s name.”

3. Bring Your Dog to Sunday Brunch

Smiling people and a dog sitting around a table for pet-friendly brunch.“Find a dog-friendly spot near you and it may become a new Sunday routine,” suggests Annie Faulk, owner of Havanese Lucky. Check first to make sure the places you bring your pets actually allow dogs.

4. Host a Backyard “Yappy” Hour

“Let’s all celebrate with our dogs and cocktails and call it Happy Yappy Hour. We do this in our backyard,” says Cherie Corso of New York. (No cocktails for those with tails, of course!) For cats, consider installing a catio so they can safely enjoy the outdoors with you.

5. Walk for a Cause

Take your dog on a walk! Ashley Jacobs, founder of Sitting for a Cause, recommends making your walk really count. “Download the WoofTrax and ResqWalk apps on your phone so that each time you take your dog for a walk, a donation is made to an animal shelter.”

6. Make Homemade Treats

Zully Hernandez of Zully’s World suggests making homemade treats for your dog or cat. Search online for pet-safe recipes and ask a veterinarian if there’s anything you should avoid.

7. Volunteer at Local Organizations

“Volunteer to bring your pet into a local senior center or nursing facility,” says Janie Smyser of K9 Granola Factory. “I have a family member who requires care in a skilled nursing facility and I visit weekly. I know how long and monotonous their days are, and have seen the joy on their faces when an animal is brought in for a visit. Pets give unconditional love — they do not judge anyone for who they are or what they have. Their love is simply given and abundantly received.”

8. Take a Hike

Sarah Hall Weaver, digital content strategist for Orvis, recommends exploring nature by taking a hike with your dog. The sights, sounds, and smells provide stimulating new experiences for your buddy. “Make sure your dog has identification, preferably multiple sources. A properly fitted personalized collar, identification and rabies hang tags, and a microchip all improve the chances of his safe return if you lose him on the hike.” Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping your pet.

9. Gather Together at the Dog Park

“We have a big celebration at the dog park,” says Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal. “Everyone brings dog-friendly treats, sometimes costumes, new toys, and anything else that keeps our fur babies happy.”

10. Remember to Enjoy the Little Moments

Person with thin dreadlocks kissing their pet cat on the top of its headAmber Roberts of Bennington, Vt., ends our list with great advice: “No matter how you choose to spoil your dog for National Pet Month, soak up all of the cuddles and pet kisses that you can! There’s little in life that’s better than the love of a furry friend.”