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Since 2004, dog lovers have celebrated National Dog Day on August 26th, a recognition of all canines, no matter what their lineage. The founder, Colleen Paige, is a pet and family lifestyle expert and animal advocate who hoped to bring attention to the many ways dogs enrich our lives. Her main goal was to shed light on the number of dogs available for adoption from rescues and shelters. If you’re lucky enough to share your life with a furry canine companion, there are lots of ways you can celebrate the holiday. But if you haven’t yet connected with a special dog, National Dog Day is the perfect day to add one to your family.

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Post photos of your dog on social media

Share your amazing dog with the world on the social media platform of your choice. Write a few lines saying why your pet is so important to you. Tell the story of how you found your canine friend. Let everyone know the rewards of bringing a dog into your life. If you don’t have a pet for one reason or another, join in by posting a short story and photo of a dog that’s made an impact on your life.

social media canine friend Jamie Garbutt / Getty Images
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Buy your dog a special gift

Commemorate National Dog Day by treating your dog to a new chew toy, comfy bed, or personalized dog food bowl. Make your evening walks safer with a rechargeable LED dog collar. If the outside world has your pooch feeling anxious, get them a doggy anxiety jacket. It soothes the dog by applying gentle pressure, calming your pet without having to use sedatives or drugs. Or, pick up a special water bottle that’s also a dog bowl to take along on your excursions together. Squeeze the leakproof bottle to fill the attached water bowl on the top whenever your dog needs a drink.

chew toy gift terrier alexei_tm / Getty Images
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Pamper your pup with a spa day at home

To show your pup some extra TLC, why not treat them to a spa day in the comfort of their personal domain? Start the day with a good workout, either a walk around the block or an energetic game of fetch. It helps them burn off some energy before the grooming session. Bathe your canine with a good quality shampoo that conditions their skin. If they aren’t up for a bath, try a massage instead.

spa day puppies olgagorovenko / Getty Images
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Bake some homemade doggy treats

For fur baby owners who love to spend time in the kitchen, how about making some healthy, homemade goodies for your pet? There are tons of online recipes for a wide variety of delectables that don’t require tons of effort or time. Consider baking some peanut butter and bacon dog donuts or dog pretzel treats. Always research any ingredients you’re not sure are safe for dogs or check with your vet to be sure they’re canine-friendly.

homemade goodies pet dog ClarkandCompany / Getty Images

Create a photo book of you and your dog

Gather all those great photos and selfies with your pet and create a lasting memento of all the fun you’ve had together. A photo book celebrates the journey you’ve shared with your canine BFF. Find an array of easy and affordable printing options online or, if you’re more of a crafty DIYer, create your own using materials you find around your home. Putting your photos into a book is so much better than digging through a box every time you want to see them.

photo book journey selfies AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

Plan a backyard field day with your pet

Spend some much-needed outdoor time with your dog. Plan a field day, complete with a picnic and fun activities that your pet enjoys, like a wading pool, running through the sprinkler, a casual agility course, retrieval games, or sandbox digging. Summer temperatures can cause heat issues for your pet. Try setting up your playday for early morning or later in the evening when its cooler and make sure you provide plenty of drinking water. Look for recipes for picnic foods that both you and your precious canine can enjoy together.

field day backyard sprinkler Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images

Take a relaxing cruise in the car

No matter how hot it is outside, most dogs love riding in the car. If you have an AC in your car to keep your pooch comfortable, consider a relaxing drive around town; no destination required. Remember to keep your pup safe in the backseat during the ride and allow you to maintain control of the car. A safety harness or secured crate will prevent your pet from being thrown forward if you have to brake suddenly. A handful of states prohibit driving a car with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle.

A cute young puppy dog hangs her head out of the car window on a sunny summer evening, bright sun light shining from behind. Horizontal with copy space. RyanJLane / Getty Images

Adopt a dog from a rescue organization or shelter

One of the main goals of National Dog Day is to bring attention to the number of homeless dogs that need a loving family. If you have the time, means, and space, and you’ve been considering getting a pet, why not adopt one on National Dog Day? If you’re seeking a purebred dog, consider contacting a rescue organization for the breed. Check out local shelters, too. Your new best friend may be waiting for you.

Young woman in dog shelter. Group4 Studio / Getty Images

Donate to a local rescue organization or shelter

If your four-legged furball is the light of your life, consider a donation to a dog welfare organization. These organizations require funds for food, supplies, and other necessities to care for these homeless pets. Donate towels or toys. If you don’t have the funds, donate your time. There are dozens of opportunities, from dog walking to feeding, cleaning, or marketing assistance. Or, consider becoming a foster home for dogs who need some extra TLC before the shelter can place them with a forever home.

donate funds volunteer feeding Camille Tokerud / Getty Images

Send a special gift to a friend’s dog

For those who are currently unable to share their home with a pet, you can still celebrate the day. Send a gift to a friend or family member’s dog to recognize the happiness their beloved pet has brought into their life. Toys, blankets, doggy wearables, or a tracker that attaches to the dog’s collar are thoughtful gift ideas. The owner will appreciate your generous gesture as much as their dog will!

pet celebrate gift friend dog Capuski / Getty Images

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