Paws and consider how much dogs help us on International Dog Day, August 26

A helping paw: Dogs help humans in many ways, even if it just companionship.
A helping paw: Dogs help humans in many ways, even if it just companionship.

International Dog Day was established to encourage us to recognise the number of dogs that are waiting in shelters for new homes and also acknowledge the furry friends that help us in so many ways: guide dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs and especially your four-legged friend who is thrilled to see you every time you come home.

PETstock provided suggestions about ways you can help repay some of what dogs give to us this August 26.

Adopt

If you've been considering getting a furry friend of your own, why not consider adoption.

Rescue pets are filled with unlimited love, affection and gratitude for their new homes and are eager to become part of a loving pack.

Plus, rescue groups will give you an overview of the animal's behaviour and personality, so you know exactly what you're going to get and find a pet suited to your lifestyle.

Adopting a dog is a big responsibility though. Cute puppies grow up and your dog will be with you for around 13 years so make sure you have the right house, the right lifestyle and importantly, you have the funds to be a responsible pet owner, including paying for nutritious food, regular vet check-ups and routine care, toys and other enrichment, puppy school (if you want to get a puppy), and pet insurance to help pay for any unexpected costs.

Foster

Circumstances not quite right to take on the responsibility of owning a dog? There are plenty of dogs in desperate need of foster carers.

Rather than remaining in shelters, foster care provides a loving home environment for rescue pets while they wait for their forever home. It's an incredibly rewarding experience and the perfect way to help if you can't take on a full-time pet.

Volunteer

Unable to have a pet in the house? Get your fix of doggy cuddles and playtime by volunteering at your local shelter. Rescue groups are often small, grassroots organisations that depend on the generosity of volunteers.

Rescue groups are in desperate need of volunteers to help clean, feed, exercise and socialise with the animals.

Donate

PETstock's charity foundation PETstock Assist has donated more than $2 million to charities who are making a difference to the lives of pets and families.

The charity work includes supporting rescue groups, fundraising for Guide Dogs Australia, organising national food drives, providing discounted vet care and in-store adoption drives.

Many animal rescue organisations, such as the RSPCA, receive very little funding from the government, so your donations really do make a difference to the welfare of dogs.