Happy dog in woman's lap

As you brine the turkey, cheer for your favorite football team or, better yet, watch The National Dog Show this Thanksgiving, take some time to be thankful for your pet. After all, your cat or dog is a member of your family and deserves to be appreciated for all the love and companionship he offers you.

Here are some of the many reasons to be thankful for cats and dogs, not only on Thanksgiving but every day of the year.

Pets Are the Best Snuggle Buddies

Cuddling with cats and dogs is truly the best. You can cozy up on the couch or in your bed, and your furry friend won’t care that you’re binge-watching Scandal again. Your animal just wants to snuggle. And, best of all, in the colder months, your cat or dog is like a heater with four legs.

They’re Always Happy to See You

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been gone for five minutes or five hours, cats and (especially) dogs, greet you like you’re an A-list celebrity on the red carpet when you come home. And after a long day at the office, nothing beats a “welcome home” tail wag or meow.

They’re Good for Your Health

This is something to truly be thankful for: Cats and dogs can improve your health. Studies have shown that pets provide numerous health benefits for humans. Walking a dog for just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for heart disease, relieve stress and more. And you can break a sweat by playing games like fetch and chase with your cat. Plus, owning a pet can help you build better relationships.

Dog playing with tug toy

Pets Know How to Have Fun

Dogs and cats like to have fun just as much as we humans do. And there are so many fun games you can play with them. It just takes a little creativity. Bring out your inner child and play hide-and-seek with your animal. Cats tend to be really good at it. Or, instead of fetch, lead your dog in a game of soccer or chase.

They Make You Laugh

There’s a reason cats and dogs are the stars of so many viral videos: They’re funny. Some dogs make the craziest sounds just to get a belly rub. And some cats can be entertained for hours with a simple piece of paper. Pets don’t even have to try to be funny, they just are. Think about it: How many times have you laughed out loud this week because of your animal’s silly antics?

They Comfort You When You’re Down

Maybe you had a stressful day at work or something is upsetting you, somehow cats and dogs just know when you’re feeling blue. You can cry your eyes out and your pet won’t mind. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.

Kitten in man's lap

Pets Don’t Ask for Much

Dogs and cats don’t care that “everyone” has the new iPhone and will never demand cars for their 16th birthdays. Most pets are happy to have food, water, shelter and a family who loves them. And, yes, they sometimes demand to be petted or beg for treats, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not much to ask for, right? And if you say "no," your pet won’t sulk in her room and say you’re the worst parent ever.

You’ll Never Feel Alone

Whether you live alone, your spouse is on a business trip or your kids are away at college, when you have a dog or cat, you don’t feel so lonely when loved ones aren’t around. Really, who else will follow you from room to room as you go about your day? Doing the dishes? There’s Sophie sitting patiently by the dishwasher to “help.” Taking a shower? There’s Tiger pawing at the door. While your animal’s constant presence may be a little annoying at times, be grateful that you have a loyal and devoted companion by your side.

A Pet’s Love Is Unconditional

Pets don’t care what you look like, what you do for a living, that you bite your nails or clean only when company’s coming over. They don’t judge your fashion choices or hairstyle. It makes no difference to them that you have no idea how to brine a turkey or make perfect homemade mashed potatoes. Pets just love you. It’s as simple as that.