Giving Back to and with Pets

In the US, National Pet Month is celebrated in May. And what better way to show your love for your pet and all animals than by giving back to the pet community or giving back to other charities with your pet by your side. Whether you choose to participate in a dog-friendly charity walk or foster a pet in need, ‘giving back’ with and for pets is a thoughtful gesture that makes a difference in the lives of both humans and animals.

Here are four ways that you or you and your pet can give back:

Become a foster parent for a pet in need. There are many reasons why pets need foster parents, from being too young yet to be adopted into a permanent home to being a shelter animal that is nursing a litter and needing extra TLC away from the shelter. Some shelters will even provide you with guidance and supplies like food and will possibly pay for any pet medical expenses while you’re fostering a pet.

Become a registered therapy animal team (you and your pet). Did you know that you and your pet could volunteer at hospitals, therapy centers, and more if you become a registered therapy animal team? One place to get started is at Pet Partners. Pet Partners’ mission is to improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. And Pet Partners do not limit their therapy animal work to just dogs and cats. Other species eligible for evaluation (for therapy animal work) include equines, rabbits, guinea pigs, llamas and alpacas, birds, pigs, and rats.

Make animal toys and beds. Invite your DIY-friends over and create some simple cat and dog beds or toys for animal shelters. Animals often keep their toys once they get adopted. Just like many children have their favorite comforting toy, so too do cats and dogs. Here are 12 Easy DIY Pet Toys to Donate to Your Local Shelter along with tips before you get started (from Moomah the Magazine and Tracey Stewart).

Participate in a pet-friendly race or event near you. Does your dog love to run (or walk)? If your answer is yes, why not run or walk for fun and for good causes? There are many pet-friendly races that benefit both people and pets. It’s good for your soul and for the soul of your pet. One place to search for pet-friendly races and events near you is at

Want to surprise your devoted dog with tasty homemade treats? Here are 12 Recipes for Homemade Dog Treats from Brit + Co. Your dog will be doing tricks for these treats!

Note: Before making homemade treats for your dog, make sure to read through this list of People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets from ASPCA. Some ingredients, like xylitol, might be used in foods like peanut butter. You may also want to check with your dog’s veterinarian once you decide on the treats that you would like to prepare for your dog.