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When Is National Pet Day 2023? History & How to Celebrate It

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

children with pets

Our pets do so much for us every day of the year, so it only makes sense for us to dedicate an entire day to celebrating the camaraderie and joy they bring into our lives.

Mark your calendar as National Pet Day occurs annually on April 11th. Read on to learn more about this special day and how to celebrate it with your pets.

The History of National Pet Day

National Pet Day began in 2006 when an animal welfare advocate named Colleen Paige set out to raise awareness for shelter animals.

National Pet Day is now an annually observed holiday with three main objectives:

  • Invite pet owners to celebrate the joy and companionship their furry family members bring to their lives
  • Advocate for the health and safety of rescued and homeless animals
  • Encourage the adoption of animals stuck waiting for their forever homes in shelters and rescues
Cat and woman owners holding cats in shelter to adopt
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

How to Celebrate National Pet Day

1. Post on Social Media

The easiest way to celebrate National Pet Day is to post pictures of your pets on your social media accounts. Use the hashtag #NationalPetDay or #AdoptDontShop so your post can reach other animal-loving pet owners.

2. Donate to Your Local Animal Shelter

Animal shelters are always looking for supplies to keep their temporary animals well cared for. However, they do not always need every type of pet supply, so it is best to call in advance to see what they’re low on so you know you’re donating something useful to them.

Donate some gently used bedding, clean bowls, or unloved toys your pets didn’t care for. You can even donate cash or brand-new pet food or treats if you have the funds.

Man and German Wire haired pointer dog face to face in pet boarding to be trained
Image Credit: Ryan Brix, Shutterstock

3. Donate to Your Animal Rescues

Animal rescues work hard daily to keep homeless animals off the streets and safe. Show your appreciation for such organizations by donating cash to your local rescue or one of the better-known nonprofits, such as the ASPCA or The Humane Society.

4. Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

Animal shelters and rescues often need volunteers to help their organizations run, so chances are the local ones in your community desperately need support. Check their websites or call them to see how you can help. They may require you to help clean living quarters, walk dogs, take inventory of supplies, or even play with the furry residents.

young cat owner playing with her pet at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

5. Spread the Word About Adoption

According to the ASPCA, approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized annually because they have no loving homes. While the number of euthanized cats and dogs in shelters has been declining since the early 2010s, far too many animals are still losing their lives in shelters.

Talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about the benefits of adopting animals and how your pets have enriched your life.

6. Adopt a Pet

National Pet Day is the perfect time to pull the trigger if you’ve been debating whether you’d like to add another furry critter to your family. Don’t jump into the adoption just because it’s National Pet Day, though. Do your research to ensure you pick the perfect addition to your family, and don’t forget to consider your finances. Can you financially support a new furry family member?

7. Love on Your Pets

There’s no better day of the year to love on your pets than National Pet Day. Spoil your furry family members with new toys, a fun adventure, or a special tasty treat.

Final Thoughts

National Pet Day takes place on April 11th annually. It’s the perfect day for you to express your love toward your furry family members and spread the word about the benefits of adopting from local rescues and shelters.


Featured Image Credit: Oksana Shufrych, Shutterstock

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