We, as humans, have lots of holidays. But did you know there were special days for our pets, too? Some of our holidays are serious and have significant meaning, and some are more greeting card days. The same is true in the pet world. So let’s take a fun look at a few of these holidays.

January was Walk Your Pet Month. This is an excellent way to start the new year. Many people make resolutions to get moving and lose weight. So it is great to do that with your pet since many pets are overweight but they can’t make a resolution to lose weight. January 14th was National Dress Up Your Pet Day (maybe my dogs intentionally hid this from me). There are many costumes and clothes items out there for dogs and cats. So once a year, it is a day of bonding with your pet and getting them all dressed up to go out on the town. This Day was established in 2009 by an animal behaviorist.

January 22nd was National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day. So cat owners were asked to pay special attention to their furry friends on that Day, try to understand cat language, and answer any pressing questions. What would your cat ask you? Why can’t I walk on the counter? Why do you get upset when I leave a hairball in the middle of the floor and you step on it?

Some of you may know February is Pet Dental Month. This month, many veterinarians are trying to raise awareness of the need for pet oral health care. But did you also see this month is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month? The Humane Society established this to help decrease the problem of stray animals. Many animals end up in shelters because of an unwanted litter of puppies or kittens. Spaying/neutering helps stem this overpopulation but also has other health benefits that many owners do not consider. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, spayed and neutered animals live longer by reducing the risk of certain cancers. Sterilization also decreases the desire to roam, reducing the risk of injury and illness.

Valentine’s Day was the 14th, and Love Your Pet Day was February 20th. So don’t forget to tell your furry friend how much you love him. But remember, no chocolates! Stick with pet-appropriate treats, toys, and cuddles.

In March, the Iditarod Race will start. This is a sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. A team of 16 dogs will cover this rough terrain in 9-15 days. Most of the route is through the harsh landscape. This race is the most popular sporting event in Alaska and is difficult for humans and dogs. There are checkpoints along the way to monitor the health of the dogs. March is also the month the Crufts dog show is held in Birmingham, England. This is the largest dog show in the world and spans four days.

March 3rd is If Pets Had Thumbs Day. What would your pet do with thumbs? This gets you thinking about all kinds of silly things your pet would do if he had thumbs like us– open the door, see what is in the refrigerator, and help himself to some snacks, hitchhike to his friend’s house.

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Along with that theme, April 12-18th is Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week. Many cases of abuse are going on in every community to animals. For some, it is simply a lack of education or understanding of what is required to care for an animal properly. The animal control officers are tasked with responding to complaints and educating people about proper animal care while protecting the welfare of the animals. This job can be challenging at times. Some people have animals but do not care about them and abuse them in many ways. If you take on caring for an animal, you must do so correctly. If you do not have the resources to feed, house, and give proper medical care to an animal, then you should not have one.

April 26th is National Kids and Pets Day. This Day was created in 2005 to help further the bond between children and pets. Animals can show lots of love to children, allowing them to become more confident and compassionate. This Day also focuses on responsibly teaching your children to care for their pets. Remember not to leave small children alone with any pet that could cause harm. Pets can bring great joy and fun into a household. And many out there need homes.

So have some fun celebrating some new holidays.