It’s a fact: happy dogs live longer, healthier lives. As a responsible dog mom or dad, you’re already feeding the right food, providing necessary veterinary care, and giving your dog everything he needs to thrive.
Here are 52 fun and easy ways to make your dog’s tail wag with joy in celebration of National Dog Day!
1. Surprise her with a brand new dog toy!
2. Go for a long walk together along a new path you’ve never taken before.
3. Teach him a new trick. And reward him when he accomplishes it!
5. Give him a gentle, full-body massage.
6. Get down on all fours and play wrestle with her.
7. Stuff a Dog toy with peanut butter, freeze it, and offer it as a special treat.
8. Sing a song to him. Change the lyrics so his/her name is part of the song.
9. Share your bed.
10. Find a dog-friendly restaurant and take your dog on a dinner date.
11. Hide in another room and ask your dog to come find you. Make a big deal out of it when she does!
12. Make your own healthy treats at home. Your dog will love smelling them baking.
13. Plan a play-date with your dog’s best four-legged friends.
14. Brush him.
15. Play some upbeat music and dance together.
16. Go for a swim! If you don’t have access to a pool, lake, or beach, set up a kiddie pool in the backyard.17. Share an ice cream cone! (Or, use frozen yogurt as a healthier alternative!) Just make sure you don’t use ice cream or yogurt labeled “sugar-free” as they typically contain sugar substitutes that are very dangerous for dogs.
18. Ear noogies.
19. Take him for a ride in the car.
20. Take a trip to the park.
21. Go for a bike ride together.
22. Plan a fun photo shoot and take pictures together.
23. Take the cap off of an empty water bottle and offer the bottle to your dog. Many dogs love the crinkly sound and chew-ability of plastic bottles. (Make sure they’re BPA free!) To make it extra fun, drop some small, bite-sized treats inside!
24. Go shopping at your favorite dog-friendly store.
25. Hide meaty treats around the house and let your dog find and enjoy them.
26. Unzip your dog’s bed and stuff a few articles of your used clothing inside. He’ll be comforted by your scent when he lays down.
27. Play Frisbee!
28. Build a sandbox in the backyard. Bury some of your dog’s favorite toys or treats and allow her to dig them up.
29. Give your dog a bath using gentle, skin-soothing oatmeal shampoo.
30. Build a backyard agility course Run the course with your dog.
31. Cuddle up and watch a movie together. Find a movie with dogs, cats, and other animal actors to catch your dog’s attention. Even if she doesn’t watch, she’ll enjoy the quiet time by your side.
32. Go outside and look for lizards together.
33. Go for a jog together. A jog is an entirely different experience for your dog than a walk.
34. Take a road trip together! Spend the night in a dog-friendly hotel.
35. Enroll your pup in an obedience class with other dogs and humans. Training is excellent for bonding and building confidence.
36. Belly rubs!
37. Take a nap together.
38. Find a dog-friendly state park and go hiking together.
39. Using a rope toy, play a structured game of tug-o-war.
40. Turn three small, opaque plastic cups upside down. Hide your dog’s favorite treat underneath one of the cups. Shuffle the cups around and ask your dog to find it.
41. Create a special area in your home especially for your dog. Include a favorite dog bed, blanket, and toys.
42. Put your dog’s brilliant brain and amazing nose to work with a puzzle toy.
43. Swap his regular water bowl for a fountain that filters, cools, and aerates the water. Dogs prefer cool, fresh, moving water to water that’s been sitting still in a bowl.
44. Fulfill your dog’s prey drive with a backyard lure course.
45. Go camping together
46. Play fetch. If your dog isn’t a natural at the game, teach him how to do it by rewarding him each time he brings the object back to you.
47. Give new life to favorite old toys by adding new stuffing and squeakers.
48. Build a fort in your livingroom using furniture and sofa cushions. Get down and play in it with your dog.
49. Sew a quilt for your dog using scraps of fabric from your old, used clothing.
50. Talk to your dog. While she can’t answer you, she’ll love hearing the sound of your voice.
51. Fuzzy new tennis balls!
52. Tell your dog you love him. He’ll understand.