National Pet Day isn’t just a day to celebrate your own pet. It’s actually a day meant to raise awareness about animals in shelters that are waiting for their forever home. Bringing attention to this day helps spread the word about dogs, cats, and small animals that need to be adopted.

There are a few ways you (and your pet) can participate.

1. Adopt a Pet
Sadly, there are plenty of pets that need a forever home. If owning a pet is the right decision for you and your family, consider checking for your fur baby at your local animal shelter or adoption agency.

2. Donate to Shelters
National Pet Day seems to perfectly align with the start of spring cleaning. Instead of tossing out the items your dog or cat may have grown out of, consider donating them if they are in good condition. Shelters are in need of clean blankets, toys, harnesses and pee pads. Unopened treats and food might also be accepted as donations.

3. Volunteer Your Time
Helping out at a local shelter goes a long way. You can choose how many hours per month to commit to and can do anything from walking dogs to cleaning out cages to organizing fundraisers. Every little bit helps and it is a great way to spend time with more loving animals.

4. Share on Social Media
Spend the day with your pet and make sure to snap a few pictures! Post them on your social media with the hashtag #NationalPetDay to help spread awareness. You get to show off your pet while participating in a great cause.

5. Spoil Your Own Pet
It’s time to show your fur baby just how much you really love them. Take them on an isolated hiking trail, give them lots of belly rubs, and splurge on some decadent treats. You know best what your baby loves!

Pets are a hugely important part of our lives so celebrate National Pet Day by spoiling your own pets with love or welcoming a new family member into your home. If owning a pet is right for you, make sure to adopt not shop.