10 Easy And Rewarding Ways To Celebrate National Pet Day

National Pet Day, observed every year on April 11, may seem like any other day of the year to those with their own furry, feathered, scaled or sleeker skinned companions, but there’s more to this holiday than just showing your own animal love.

This day was officially named in 2006 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert, Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Paige. As a pet owner and advocate for the compassionate care of animals, Paige has pointed out a number of ways that people can help pets at home, in shelters, and around the world.

“I believe all animals are sentient beings that deserve our love and compassion…even not-so-cuddly animals like reptiles and rats,” she said. “No animal should ever have to suffer, especially at the hand of humans. MILLIONS of unwanted animals perish every day, due to just that….being ‘unwanted.'”

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What do you have planned for National Pet Day, April 11?

It’s sound logic, and a good reason to raise awareness of pets around the world. To help you celebrate, we’ve gathered a few of Paige’s prompts and added some others that just might make the animals in your community much happier.

Here are 10 ways you can make National Pet Day one to remember this year, and every other:

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10. Donate supplies to a local shelter

Animal shelters are always in need of supplies like blankets, toys, and food. Always.

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Show shelter pets some love on National Pet Day!

9. Host a National Pet Day party

Invite local pets over for a fun day in the sun. Set out toys, food, and water, mark off digging stations, and hand prizes out to the most impressive pets in your neighborhood.

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Cats and dogs make great pets, but so do snakes, birds, lizards, opossums, spiders…the list goes on.

8. Help the pets in your community who need it most

If there are elderly or physically disabled people in your neighborhood, help them out by taking their pets for a walk, or making a visit to the pet store for the food and supplies they need. A little help goes a long way to making both human and animal friends!

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Senior pets need love and attention, too!

7. Organize a neighborhood dog day at the nearest park

Nothing is more disappointing than visiting the dog park and realizing you’re the only one there. If you keep in touch with your neighbors on social media, set up a special event to meet at your nearest pet park and let your animals run wild!

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Curb cat scratch fever with a cardboard craft!

6. Make cardboard cat toys out of boxes headed for the trash

Sometimes, the best toys are those you can make on your own.

A block of cardboard scraps glued together in fun shapes can make for purrfect cat scratch posts. Or, fold the cardboard up into a tube, seal one end with duct tape, pour in some of your dog’s favorite crunchy treats, then seal the other end. Your dog will enjoy the rattling sound as it tries to crack open the cardboard contraption.

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Did you say treats?

5. Make some nutritious treats for your neighborhood animals

Going door to door and asking for treats works so well on Halloween, conversely, handing them out door to door should be more than welcome every other day of the year. If you know your pet friendly neighbors, bake them some treats with protein and fiber and bag them up to share!

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Puppy mills are a dirty word around these parts.

4. Raise awareness of the problem puppy mills present

It’s no wonder pet shop sales are being banned in states around the country. Many of the animals that wind up in these stores come from unscrupulous breeders who force female animals into a life of constant breeding until they eventually die. Meanwhile, their puppies are taken away and sold to the highest bidder.

Want to stop this from happening? Organize protest, circulate flyers, post on social media. Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Puppy mills have got to go.

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Show off your pet on April 11 with the #NationalPetDay hashtag!

3. Throw out the Hashtag

One of the easiest ways to raise awareness of pets is by simply posting a picture of your own. Use the hashtag #NationalPetDay and let the world know just how much you love your companion animal.

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Volunteer at a shelter and help pets in need.

2. Volunteer to help at your local shelter

Oftentimes, even more than supplies, shelter workers just need a few extra helping hands. Volunteer at your local animal shelter and you could find yourself in one of the most rewarding positions around: official pet cuddler. If you can take the animals for walks and help them get exercise, that’s an added bonus.

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Do you have room for a little more love in your life?

1. Adopt a shelter pet

We know, it’s a big commitment to make. And, owning a pet isn’t for everyone. But, if you have the room, if you have the means, and if you have the heart for a little more unconditional love in your life, it’s the one decision you will never regret.

Adopting a shelter pet, rather than purchasing one from a store, or online, helps relieve overcrowded shelters, and more importantly, brings love and comfort to animals who may have never felt it before. To those who choose to celebrate National Pet Day in this way, we salute you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Happy National Pet Day!

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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