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How to Make National Pet Day Special for Your Pets

April 11th is National Pet Day, but at my house, it's "pet day" all the time. I suspect that's the case with anyone reading this post, and nobody really needs a holiday to make their pets feel special.

Having a holiday--or HOWL-iday, as my Magical-Dawg prefers--is a great reason to seek out fun ways to honor the furred, feathered and finned creatures that share our lives (and sometimes our pillows). Here are my top 5 ways to celebrate your cats and dogs on National Pet Day (or any day).

Fun for Dogs (with Input from Magical-Dawg)

dog parks

  1. dog-friendly activitiesGo for a Car Ride. Magic adores his car--yes, it belongs to him--and especially enjoys the window whiffs. Think about it. At home, the dog has pretty much the same scents day after day, but that breeze coming through the cracked car window offers a glimpse into scented worlds beyond.
  2. Stop at Drive-Through Windows. Magic loves running errands with me because often he gets treats out of the deal. A deposit at the bank always garners Magic a withdrawal in the form of a dog biscuit. The same goes for the coffee shop drive through service, where he gets a "puppy latte" (whip cream sample).
  3. Visit the Store. Dogs can now visit some pet products stores and pick out their own toys and treats. That doubles up the fun, not only with a car ride and possible drive through, but shopping fun as well.
  4. Create a Treasure Hunt. For homebody dogs that aren't thrilled with car rides, spice up the back yard with puzzle toys hidden here and there. Show the dog the first one (complete with pungent yummies inside) and then let him sniff out the prizes.
  5. Spend Extra Time. Most dogs will be happiest just spending some extra one-on-one time with their most favorite person in the world.

Fun for Cats (with recommendations from Seren-Kitty and Karma-Kat)

cat-friendly activities

  1. fun ideas for catsOffer a Warm Spot. This sunny time of year is perfect (purr-fect?) for sun worshiping cats. Add a comfy pillow or blanket on the window ledge, or position a box in a sunny spot for a feline snooze.
  2. Gift with Catnip. About 2/3rds of all cats enjoy the occasional catnip binge. Get fresh greens if you can for an extra special treat.
  3. Move Your Cat. While dogs enjoy gnawing quietly on chewies, cats prefer motion to get into the act. Interactive toys that move, like fishing pole lures, are a favorite.
  4. Offer Cheap Thrills. Cats don't care how much you spend. In fact, they perversely seem to prefer what I call "cheap thrills" and ignore the high dollar fun and target the empty paper bag or box. Turn your empty bathtub into a kitty playground by tossing in a Ping Pong ball.
  5. Share Your Lap. As with the dogs, probably the best gift you can give for National Pet Day is extra one-on-one time. For my Karma-Kat and Seren-Kitty, that means lap time. Put away the laptop, put up your feet, and make a special spot just for the felines to snuggle.

When our dogs and cats have given us so much over their lifetimes, why not turn one day into a special time for them? Think about your pets' most favorite thing in the world. Magic loves Frisbee-Fetch, Karma adores feather-chase, and Seren just wants a gentle massage.

My day is all planned, so what about yours?

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