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There is a spot in each and every dog guardian’s heart which holds a forever place for their pups both young and old, and those who are since gone. To find the spot, take your hand, place it over your heart, then point anywhere in that area … you’ve found it! Some dog lovers even keep their hearts open to dogs that are not their own and help in any ways they can — working with homeless dogs, shelter pets, the injured, dogs helplessly living in horrid puppy mill conditions, and canines protecting and serving in law enforcement or the military.

Every year on August 26, we celebrate National Dog Day to honor all dogs from all walks of life, without prejudice of breed. It’s a great time to encourage others to adopt instead of buying dogs, to consider volunteering once a week at a nearby animal shelter, to take action against issues such as puppy mills, and to also show the dogs in your life how much you love them. Here are eight ways to celebrate dogs on National Dog Day — and any day!

1. Host a Doggie Dental Health Party

Everybody loves a good party, and dogs are not so different from us when it comes to fun, food and friends. Invite friends to come over with their dogs and ask everyone to bring healthy treats and awesome toys to share with the group. After an afternoon of fun, teach your friends about the importance of doggie dental hygiene and how to naturally improve dog dental health. Click here for helpful tips and information to share!

 8 Ways to Celebrate Dogs on National Dog Day — and Any Day!

2. Go to the Beach

In the water, out of the water or simply running like the wind through the squishy wet sand, a day at the beach is a fantastic way to reward your dog for being so cool! Weather permitting, take them in the water for a swim, or if it is cold, take a walk, run or have a picnic on the dry sand. Dig a hole or build a sandcastle together!

 8 Ways to Celebrate Dogs on National Dog Day — and Any Day!Wikimedia Commons

3. Take a Day Hike

Taking a hike with your dog is fun and healthy for the both of you. Don’t have a dog to hike with? Are you missing your buddy who has passed away? Want to include a shelter or foster dog? Contact a local animal shelter or rescue to see if there is a dog who would enjoy going along on your hiking adventure. Or, check with busy, sick or elderly neighbors with dogs to offer to take their dogs on your hike.

 8 Ways to Celebrate Dogs on National Dog Day — and Any Day!Wikimedia Commons

4. Have a Day and Just Relax

Maybe your dog is always on the go, constantly exerting energy, is elderly or sick, or lately seems to be a bit stressed. Instead of physical activity, plan a day of relaxation and just chill with your doggie pal over a movie marathon or go out back and invite them up onto the hammock or chair with you for cuddles and pet-pets.

 8 Ways to Celebrate Dogs on National Dog Day — and Any Day!

5. Gift New Dog Toys

Even though you clean and help your dog take care of their toys, there will come a time when some toys just need to be thrown away. If your dog does not do well with sudden change, like a favorite toy disappearing, gift them the new toy and don’t toss the old destroyed one until they start paying more attention to the new one.

 8 Ways to Celebrate Dogs on National Dog Day — and Any Day!Sendai Blog/Wikimedia Commons

6. Take a Trip to the Local Shelter — Adopt a Dog or Donate Funds

Have you been thinking about adding a new furry friend to your family? Adopt and save a life! There are too many shelters across America overcrowded with perfectly adoptable dogs just waiting for their forever homes. When you have done your homework and are ready to adopt, visit a local shelter for meet-and-greets! Cannot adopt at this time? Donating even $5 to an animal shelter will help, or donate needed pet supplies by first finding out what shelters are in need of.

 8 Ways to Celebrate Dogs on National Dog Day — and Any Day!Wikimedia Commons

7. Get Familiarized With Puppy Mills

Dogs in puppy mill situations live in deplorable conditions where they are unloved and forced to constantly breed. Learn about what you can do to stand up to puppy mill cruelty by getting every state to ban the sale of puppy mill-bred dogs and puppies in pet stores and privately party. To get you started, here are 5 Things YOU Can Do to Help Stop Puppy Mills.

Inside a Puppy MillEvery Dog Lover Should Read This! Inside Look Into the Dark Walls of a Puppy Mill

8. Show the World You Love Your Dog by Participating in the #IMAGREENMONSTER Campaign

Let everyone in the world know you’re a Green Monster, that you love your dog to pieces with #IMAGREENMONSTER on Twitter! Go ahead. You know you want to unleash your green monster with One Green Planet!

Image source: Keith Kissel/Flickr