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National Adopt a Pet Day 2023: When It Is & How It’s Celebrated

Beth Crane

By Beth Crane

woman adopting a dog from shelter

National Adopt a Pet Day is held annually on April 30th. Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (in the US) was created to raise awareness of all the pets still waiting for their forever homes in shelters and to show people what adopted pets can bring into people’s lives. The holiday is celebrated on April 30th since the spring is when many unwanted puppies and kittens (especially kittens) are brought into shelters or found and taken to rescues.

How Is National Adopt a Pet Day Celebrated?

This holiday is celebrated on social media through campaigns and story sharing, as well as at shelters and rescues around the country. Each April 30th, many shelters and rescues hold an adoption day, typically involving opening the shelter to the public or bringing some of the pets out to meet people. Some even reduce or waive adoption fees to boost pet adoption rates!

People who have a pet they’ve adopted from shelters often share their stories on social media, and veterinary offices, shelters, and rescues give insight and information about what it’s like to adopt and live with a pet from a rescue. Some areas hold city-wide celebrations, such as San Bernadino, California, and Austin, Texas.

cat shelter
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

Why Was National Adopt a Pet Day Created?

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was created as a follow-on to National Adopt a Dog Month, which the American Humane Society first celebrated in October 1981. This month saw great success in the number of dogs adopted from shelters across the US, so other pet owners began to want a day to celebrate all the pets living in shelters.

This day was founded to raise awareness of all pets waiting for a loving home; it brings attention to local shelters and promotes volunteering to support shelter pets.

How Does National Adopt a Pet Day Help Pets in Shelters?

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day helps shelters and rescues advertise and show off the beautiful pets. Local shelters can bring pets into the public eye at events so they can meet potential adopters, and pets that may not get a second glance (such as older pets or small furries) can meet their forever owners.

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day also encourages potential adopted pet owners to take the plunge by providing information on what each species may need.

This holiday can help match pets to their perfect owners, which helps reduce the number of pets returned to shelters. In addition, it offers information to the public about how they can help shelters and rescues, including information on how to volunteer, where to donate money, and what items shelters need to care for the animals, including food, blankets, and toys.

family adopting dog
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

How Many Pets Are Waiting in Shelters in the US?

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) reports that around 6.3 million pets are relinquished or brought into shelters in the US annually. Of these pets, cats are the most frequently admitted to shelters, and approximately 3.2 million cats are admitted to rescues each year. This is closely followed by dogs, with 3.1 million dogs being given to shelters yearly. However, there are 4.1 million pets adopted from shelters across the US each year!

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Final Thoughts

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is celebrated annually on April 30th and is devoted to all the pets currently waiting for their forever homes in rescues and shelters around the country. It aims to give pets in shelters a chance to shine, and many rescues and shelters hold events that introduce these pets to the public. Some even waive adoption fees, and everyone can give a pet a loving home!

Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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