With all the different holidays and special days that occurs during the year, it is only fitting that we have a week devoted to pets that most consider as best friends and family. The relationship we have with our pets has a significant positive impact on our lives, and we like to take this time to cherish and celebrate them for bringing us so much happiness.

National Pet Week is an annual event that promotes responsible pet ownership, celebrates the human-animal bond, and promotes public awareness of veterinary medicine. The event was jointly founded in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Auxiliary to the AVMA and is now widely celebrated throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

In honor of National Pet Week, here are some fun suggestions to express your appreciation to your pets:

Exercise
Take your dog to the local dog park. They can get their exercise, make some doggy friends, and a great way for you to bond. For cats, let them go outside or get them involved in an activity that gets them moving.
Massage
Little pats on the head just wonít cut for this week. Give them a serious tummy rub or massage.
Check-Up
Whenís the last time you took your pet to the vet for a check-up? If itís been awhile, make an appointment this week. Preventive care is less stressful and costly than fixing a big problem.
Treats and Toys
Your furry friend probably has a favorite treat or toy, but that may be due to a lack of options to choose from. Surprise them with something new, they will thank you for it.
Volunteer
We are all extremely busy and giving up some of our precious time for volunteer work doesnít seem to be a priority. However, consider volunteering at your local humane shelter and help out animals that are less fortunate than your pets. Many of them have been mistreated, ignored, and abused, and even just a little time with an animal lover could go a long way in their rehabilitation or adoption.
Some other helpful tips to remember:
  • Wash hands thoroughly after playing with or handling your pet. Also wash hands after cleaning the cage or aquarium. Many pets, such as dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, and birds may carry zoonotic diseases. Be sure to wash your hands before handling food or eating. By keeping your pet healthy, you keep yourself and your family healthy.
  • Avoid ticks on dogs and cats. Your pets may carry fleas and ticks that can spread diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever to people.
  • Practice good hygiene around your pet. Pick up dog feces and dispose of properly. Keep young children away from areas that may contain dog or cat feces to prevent the spread of roundworms and hookworms. Change the cat litter box daily. Cover sand boxes so cats donít use them as a litter box. Cats can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease that can cause birth defects. Make sure to wash your hands after cleaning up after your pet and before eating or preparing food. If you are pregnant, have someone else clean the litter box.
  • Prevent rabies. Rabies is a deadly disease that can make both you and your pet sick. Get your pets vaccinated for rabies. Make sure your pet gets and wears an ID tag with its name and your phone number.
  • Spray and neuter. Spaying or neutering your pet can prevent aggression or behavioral problems and extend its life.