Do you have a dog, cat, or other animal sharing your home with you? If you do, congratulations! You are a very special person with a very important job, which is a much appreciated pet guardian. Like many American households, you may share your life with several animals that depend on you for mostly everything. But you don’t mind and your pets show you how much they care in the ways that they can.

Appreciate your pets and let them know you care each and every day. From unconditional love and numerous health benefits like lowering blood pressure, helping with depression, and soothing stress, companion pets give so much to their pet parents and they never ask for anything in return. So, show your appreciation as much as you can, especially on specific pet holidays like National Pet Day. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Extra belly rubs

Who doesn’t love a good belly rub? Just about any animal likes to have their tummy rubbed, but if not, offer head and back scratches instead. Do this several times throughout the day while saying “you’re so cute,” “who’s a good boy?” and “gimme that tummy!” Saying such things are optional, though encouraged.

2. Give special, healthy, homemade treats

Nothing says “I love you” more than a big bag of yummy store-bought or homemade goodies. Treats should be healthy, as to not ruin a diet plan, and safe for your pets to eat. Play games involving treats with dogs, cats, pigs, and horses or tie crunchy treats to the inside of housing units first thing in the morning for birds, rabbits, and other small critters to enjoy.

3. Go on an outdoor adventure

Take more active dogs on a rugged hike or choose a trail that leads to a lake for swim time. Find dog-friendly hiking areas all over the world at Older or less active dogs will find a trip to the park fun or take an extra long stroll around the neighborhood with the whole family. On a farm? Spend time running around and playing with your awesome farm animals. Let animals out to roam a little farther, for a little longer. Supervise to make sure everyone is safe and having a good time!

4. Donate money or supplies to an animal shelter or rescue

County animal shelters and non-profit rescues are mostly always in need of all kinds of animal necessities. Donate things like food, treats, blankets, toys, training pee pads, or contribute funding in your pet’s name. This is a great way to celebrate your and someone’s future pet children!

5. Have a photo shoot

Step 1: Use your camera to take glamorous or funny photos of your pets. Step 2: Photoshop funny outfits, mustaches, or thought bubbles onto pet pics. Step 3: Post funny photos to your social media pages and boast about how fantabulous your pets are.

If you don’t have a pet of your own, celebrate with some shelter animals!

6. Find a fun way to help your local animal shelter

Of course you can be a petless animal lover! Take a gander here for fun ways you can help out at your local animal shelter for a day or more.

7. Become a caregiver to neighborhood feral cats

There’s a huge homeless cat population all over the Unites States, including feral cats. It’s a simple act of kindness to leave out food and water for feral cats, so is creating a safe shelter during bad weather. Or, get involved in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), a humane method to alter and vaccinate feral cats to help control the street animal population. The cats are then returned back to the location where they were picked-up.

Share with us how you celebrate special occasions, or any day, with your pets!

Image source: Jennifer Williams / Flickr