It’s almost time to celebrate National Pets Day (April 11)!

April 20 to April 26 is National Pet ID Week. If you haven’t microchipped your dog, this is a good time to reconsider. Most vets can insert the microchip that will assure you of being reunited with your pet should you ever be separated. For more information on this form of pet ID visit the ASPCA website.

On Monday, April 22, the world will celebrate the 43rd Earth Day. On this day, dedicated to the incredible living planet that we inhabit, people all over the world will step forward to perform “acts of green,” to learn about and protect our precious environment. Communities across the country will host clean-up days along roads, in the woods, around lakes, and along waterways. It’s a great outdoor activity to enjoy with your dog. Some people have even been known to let their dog contribute by carrying refuse in doggy saddlebags. Be sure to check with the event sponsor to make sure it’s a dog-safe and dog-friendly event. Take water and be sure to clean up after your dog.

April 26th marks National Kids and Pets Day, which reminds us of the special bond that is formed between children and their pets. It was started in 2005, by Colleen Paige, to celebrate that bond and to raise awareness of the plight of animals in shelters who are awaiting homes. “The responsibility that a child can learn from caring for a pet is vital in their social development,” says Ms. Paige “Children that grow up with pets tend to be extremely nurturing and compassionate, making dedicated and loving parents and pet owners themselves.” If your family is ready to care for a pet, consider adopting one from a shelter. If that’s not possible, volunteer with your child to visit animals in shelters to give them some special attention or take them for a walk.

World Veterinary Day is celebrated on April 26. Each year the World Veterinary Association and the Organization for Animal Health choose a theme for this day to focus worldwide awareness on a specific topic. This year’s theme is “Vaccination: To Prevent and Protect.” This is a good time to discuss a vaccination protocol with your veterinarian and to check to see if your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Though rabies vaccinations are mandated in every state, that is not the only disease that your dog can be protected against. Veterinarians in some areas might recommend protecting against Lyme disease and recent outbreaks of distemper in Texas, Massachusetts, and Tennessee are a strong incentive to have your dog vaccinated against that deadly disease.

And it doesn’t stop there! If you live in the United Kingdom, the entire month of April is designated National Pet Month!  No matter where you are or what time of year, there is always a good reason to give your pet lots of love and attention  – no special pet day designation required .