National Pet Week is celebrated annually during the first full week of May. It was first started by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1981 to say thanks to the pets that fill our lives with love, happiness, and companionship. Another goal for National Pet Week is to encourage responsible pet ownership. There are plenty of ways to show your gratitude to your pets while also making sure that you are being the best pet parent you can be. Here are seven ways you can say thanks to dogs during National Pet Week while being a responsible pet owner and further enriching dogs’ lives.
1. Think About Your Dog’s Food
Many dog owners settle for the same kibble day after day for years. Not only does this seem boring for our dogs, it may also not be the best choice for their health or well-being. National Pet Week is as good a time as any to start thinking about your dog’s nutritional needs. Consult your veterinarian, talk to a professional nutritionist, and do your own research. There are many kinds of food and supplements that can give your dog a major health boost, improve their energy levels, and provide them with some desperately needed dietary variety.
Dogs’ have need that change from puppyhood to adulthood and senior years when it comes to food, and you should address these needs accordingly. Your vet should give you advice on altering portion sizes and nutritional requirements as your dog ages. Try making your dog’s food, yourself, instead of relying on pre-made, store-bought kibble. You’d be surprised by how affordable it is, how fun and easy it can be to make, and how much your dog will appreciate the extra effort. Here are a few resources you may find helpful:
2. Get Active With Your Pup
National Pet Week can be a great time to form some good new habits. If you’ve been slacking on the physical exercise lately, your pup may be feeling the effects. Walking and physical exercise is incredibly important for dogs of all ages, and even though exercise needs may change as dogs get older, it’s still important to get moving. Walks can also reduce the effects of arthritis in older dogs if they are done properly and in moderation.
Try getting outside a bit more with your dog, and don’t just go for a walk in your usual location. Go for a hike, find a new walking trail, and see some new things. This will provide your dog with some new places to sniff and explore, which will give them a bit of mental stimulation, too. Exercise can fight off boredom and help your dog be better behaved throughout the day. If you have a dog that is properly socialized, a walk or a trip to the dog park can be a great way for them to find some canine companionship, too.
3. Plan Your Yearly Vet Visits
Regular vet visits are important for making sure that your dog is in good health and getting the medical care they need. If you’re not sure when their last vet visit was or when you should be planning your dog’s next check-up, National Pet Week is as good a time as any to reach out to your veterinarian and find out when you should be planning to bring your pup in. Your dog may not thank you at first, as very few actually enjoy their vet visits, but they will be healthier in the long run.
4. Put Your Emergency Kit Together
Do you have a doggy first-aid kit put together? How about an emergency pack, just in case you need to care for your pup in a disaster? You should always hope for the best and prepare for the worst because it’s better to have this stuff ready and not need it than to need it and not have it. Make sure you know the basics of dog first-aid so you can help your pup if something goes wrong. Have an emergency preparedness kit ready to go if the worst happens. If you already have these kits ready to go, National Pet Week may be a good time to look them over and replace anything that needs replacing. Here are some resources you may find helpful:
If you’d like to help other pets in need find forever homes, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter. Animal shelters are typically not run for profit, so they rely on volunteers to help out and care for dogs and other pets in the facility. Don’t just show up. Call ahead and ask about volunteer opportunities. Even if there aren’t any positions currently available, you can always host a fundraising event through your club, team, group, or community that can help shelters get what they need. If you want to know more about how to volunteer at an animal shelter, click here.
6. Foster Or Adopt
Of course, one of the best ways to thank dogs during National Pet Week is to take one home and into your care. Adopting and fostering don’t just help the dog that you take home. They also help free up resources at animal shelters so that other dogs and animals can get the attention and supplies that they need while they wait to find forever homes of their own. If you aren’t ready to jump into the lifelong commitment of adopting, fostering is a great way to test the waters and see if you’re able to handle the responsibility that comes with pet ownership. Animal shelters often reimburse foster pet parents for certain expenses and take care of any medical needs. You’d help a dog learn socialization skills that can help them get adopted, too. Consider opening your home to a dog in need, even if it’s only for a short time.
7. Spoil Your Dog
Your dog showers you with love all year long, and chances are good that you return that affection in full, but why not take National Pet Week as an opportunity to go above and beyond? Get some new toys. Replace old leashes. Look for a new dog bed. This is an especially good time of year to spend some cash on your dog, as many people are getting their tax refunds. If you need some ideas about what to buy for your pooch, check out these resources:
What other ways can you say thanks to dogs during National Pet Week? Let us know in the comments below!