Also known as National Dog Day, this annual holiday on the pet calendar involves spoiling our dogs with affection, but it also comes with a serious message. Like National Rescue Dog Day, this day dedicated entirely to dogs looks to bring attention to the plight of animals around the globe and encourages adoption.
With millions of dogs winding up in shelters across the country each year, choosing to adopt rather than shop has never been more important. If you’ve been considering welcoming a new pup into your home, read our guide on how to adopt a dog before you do so. It has everything you need to know to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
And if you’re not ready to commit to being a pet parent just yet, no problem. You’ll find plenty of ways to show your devotion to these adorable floofs and woofs across the Internet on the day in our ways to celebrate the International Dog Day section.
What is International Dog Day
International Dog Day was founded in 2004 by pet & family lifestyle experts, animal rescue advocates, conservationists, dog trainer, and author Colleen Paige, who you might recognize as having set up other pet holidays, like National Kitten Day and even National Wildlife Day! In 2013, it was even officially adopted into New York State Legislation.
National Dog Day celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and pure, and its mission is two-fold. Firstly, the day highlights the number of dogs looking to be rescued each year. The event strongly discourages buying dogs from pet stores supplied by puppy mills, backyard breeders, the Internet, or newspaper ads. Rather, International Dog Day is all about adoption first from local shelters or adoption drives from large chain pet stores.
Paige herself adopted her first dog, “Sheltie,” from the local animal shelter when she was ten – on the exact date International Dog Day occurs!
Alongside raising awareness, National Dog Day celebrates how special dogs are to us and our everyday lives, from family dogs to canines who put their lives on the line as service or protection dogs.
How can you celebrate International Dog Day and beyond?
If you’ve been considering introducing a new dog to your home, then adopting is a great way to find a hound in need. You can search for an available pet using the Shelter Pet Project (which opens in a new tab) or check your local shelter or pure rescue breed organization’s website to find your lifelong friend.
Be sure to consider the long-term commitment of adding a new member to your family. Adopting a dog means preparing and doing your research in advance, including considering any financial obligations. You’ll want to ensure you have all the essentials your new dog would need to hand in before they move in.
- Help out a shelter
If you’re not looking to adopt but love dogs, why not consider volunteering at your local shelter? This can include basic support like cleaning their kennels, but some shelters also look for dog walkers to help keep their pooches active.
There are a few additional ways you can help a shelter. In addition to financial donations, some shelters have a wish list where you can donate pet supplies such as towels, toys, and treats.
As International Dog Day strongly discourages buying dogs from pet stores supplied by puppy mills or backyard breeders, some dog lovers look for opportunities to petition or organize peaceful demonstrations that support the ban of puppy mills and gas chambers in their state.
- Get snap happy
In addition to spending the day taking photos of your pooch and putting them on social media, you could opt to enter a photo contest with your canine companion.
Some dog owners turn to professionals and use National Dog Day as the perfect excuse to get a pet portrait commissioned or have fun with your dog and owner photoshoot.
- Have a National Dog Day party
Any excuse for a party? Some dog owners celebrate National Dog Day similarly to their actual birthdays. This means hats, decorations, guests. and the full works. They do not forget a glorious DIY dog cake, of course.
- Spoil your dog
If you already have a special furbaby in your life, International Dog Day is a great excuse to spoil them. Our guide to the best puppy toys is a great reference point for knowing what to buy for younger canines, while if you have an older companion, nip over to our best dog toys for toys to suit every stage of life. You could even bake them up special homemade dog treats in your kitchen. Outside the home, it’s a great excuse to visit a doggy play resort or hang down the beach.
For furkids who love the pampered life, you could give them a special doggy massage or a good brush down. Although it’s about spending quality time with your pooch, maybe you could teach them a new trick.
- Send a dog-related gift.
While National Dog Day is generally all about spoiling pooches, it’s ok to send on a gift to us humans too to celebrate. So if you know a dog lover needing a little cheer, why not opt for a personalized gift featuring their canine chum?
Is International Dog Day the same as National Dog Adoption Day?
Typically taking place in October, National Dog Adoption Day is all about debunking the myths about rescue dogs and sharing stories of dogs who’ve been rescued. While National Dog Day also shares the theme of adoption, this event is much wider in scope and popularity. International Dog Day celebrates all pooches, great and small!