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International Homeless Animals Day 2023: When Is It & How Is It Celebrated?

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

Girl volunteer in the nursery for dogs. Shelter for stray dogs

It is difficult for animal lovers, or simply people in general, to walk down the street and see a homeless dog or cat. Many feel the tug at their heartstrings to reach out, provide the animal with a bit of affection, and try to find a local shelter or rescue to help. Discovering a homeless dog or cat isn’t something the average person experiences daily. We may not witness it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening worldwide.

There are millions of homeless animals in the United States alone. If you look on a worldwide scale, the numbers are even more shocking. In hopes of bringing awareness and aid to these animals, International Homeless Animals Day was created. If you aren’t familiar with this day, it takes place on the 3rd Saturday of August each year. In 2023, International Homeless Animals Day will fall on August 19th and is a way to share awareness, love, and attention for animals who have no home to go to. Let’s learn more about this important day of the year, how it’s celebrated, and how you can make a difference.

International Homeless Animals Day

While animals have been a part of people’s lives for as long as we can remember, that doesn’t mean that they have always been treated as they should. Today, you may take your dog everywhere you go and allow them to sleep in the bed with you at night. Things haven’t always been this way. Back in our hunting and gathering days, dogs were by our side, while cats are considered symbols of Ancient Egypt.

Our relationship with animals dates back as far as we do, but it wasn’t until the 1870s that they began to be viewed as vulnerable creatures that needed protecting. Anti-cruelty laws and protections for animals began back in this time but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the fight against animal cruelty, tougher laws against it, and regulations concerning animals in shelters and rescues really began to make a difference.

In the 90s, animal shelters and other animal rights organizations began being more proactive when it came to controlling the growing pet population. Instead of simply trying to house unwanted pets and offer them up for adoption, spaying, and neutering were being promoted and awareness was being shared about the growing issue of pet homelessness.

In 1992, International Homeless Animals Day was created. The International Society for Animal Rights conceived this important day and began by sponsoring adoption events, visits to shelters, and other ways of bringing awareness to this growing issue. The overall goal of International Homeless Animals Day is to lessen the suffering of homeless animals around the world, find these animals homes, and share awareness in hopes that the number of homeless animals stops growing.

How Is International Homeless Animals Day Celebrated?

kittens in cage in a shelter
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

While organizations like the International Society for Animal Rights are constantly fighting for better protections for animals around the world, special days like International Homeless Animals Day are used as a way to keep the struggle these animals go through at the forefront of the fight.

Whether born into homelessness, abandoned, dumped, or lost, animals didn’t ask for this life. The struggle to find a place to shelter in bad weather, food to eat, and clean water to drink is daily life for some animals and it simply isn’t fair. Here are a few ways this important day is celebrated so you can take part and help homeless animals in your area and around the world.

Spay & Neuter Your Pets

While it may seem like the logical thing to do, not all pet parents rush out to have their animals spayed and neutered when the time comes. Unfortunately, this leads to unwanted puppies and kittens that in many cases, become part of the homeless animal population. If you have pets in your home that aren’t altered, you should definitely consider it.

Female dogs and cats can reproduce quickly. If you already have your pets spayed and neutered, consider working with local shelters or veterinarians to host a spay and neuter clinic for International Homeless Animals Day or sharing awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering in your community.

dog in shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Fostering & Adoption

For those who are considering bringing a new pet into their home, adoption is the perfect way to celebrate International Homeless Animals Day. You may not frequent your local animal shelter or rescues, but there are hundreds of animals there waiting on the perfect home. Of course, puppies and kittens are always popular, but you can also find well-behaved and trained pets of all ages that simply need a chance.

Fostering is another great way to help homeless animals. Not every dog or cat that enters a shelter or rescue does great with all the activity. They may hide away or lash out. This lowers their chances of adoption. Great foster families can prepare them for what life will be like in a home. You can help train the animal, give it love, and watch them succeed. Fostering also opens up room at your local shelters and rescues so they can reach out and help more animals in need of love and attention.


Whether it’s at your local animal shelter or a nearby rescue, volunteers are always needed. You may not have the means to bring another pet into your home, but you can go show those without a home the love and attention they crave. You can also give your time to awareness. If your local organizations are hosting events, offer your services. Handing out flyers, telling others about the importance of adoption, or convincing someone to have their pet altered benefits all animals in your area.

animal shelter for cats
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock


Yes, your local animal shelter, animal organization, or rescue can always use donations. With so many homeless pets to care for, prices can be outrageous. Hosting events, promoting awareness, and paying for veterinarian care add up. For those who want to help ensure homeless animals are receiving the care they need, a few dollars a month can help. If donating money isn’t in the cards for you, your time will be greatly appreciated. Stop by and walk the dogs or simply cuddle with the cats. Anything you do will go a long way in making the lives of these animals better.

Final Thoughts

On August 19th, 2023, we’ll be observing International Homeless Animals Day. If you and your family want to take part, now is the time to reach out to your local shelters and animal rescues to find out what they have planned. You can show your support in the fight against animal cruelty in many ways, but sharing the word is the best place to start.

Featured Image Credit: David Tadevosian, Shutterstock

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