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When Is World Animal Day? 2023 Update & How to Celebrate

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Multiple type of pet and animals in a white background

World Animal Day is a holiday celebrated on October 4th of every year in honor of all the animals on planet Earth. Every October 4th, take the time to raise awareness about animal welfare in your area. You might not be able to single handedly solve animal abandonment and mistreatment, but you can do a small part toward improving conditions for all animals. The date wasn’t randomly chosen, either. October 4th was chosen to coincide with the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, AKA the patron saint of animals.

For pet and animal lovers, it’s kind of the Christmas of holidays if Christmas was focused on our furry family members and their wild kin. If you’re interested in learning more about how it came about, ways you can celebrate it, and more, you’re in the right place! Let’s delve into the history of World Animal Day below.

History of World Animal Day

World Animal Day was created and first celebrated by German cynologist Heinrich Zimmerman on March 24th, 1925, at Berlin’s Sportpalace. While far from the global sensation it is today, Zimmerman’s event drew a respectable crowd of 5,000 people. Funnily enough, he’d intended for this inaugural celebration to be hosted on October 4th, but that date was booked! If he hadn’t taken whatever date he could get, it’s possible Zimmerman’s World Animal Day would have never taken off in the first place.

Even after that little mishap, Zimmerman was so devoted to the animal cause that he promoted the holiday to countries around the world. The goal was both simple and sweeping: the holiday’s motto is to “raise the status of all animals.” His tireless zeal for the cause was infectious, and the International Animal Protection Congress of Florence officially accepted his proposal to declare October 4th as World Animal Day in 1931.

A common misconception about the founding of World Animal Day is that it was founded in 1931 to highlight the plight of endangered species. That latter half is partially true, but the former half is 100% incorrect.

Today, World Animal Day enjoys widespread popularity in most countries, but it’s most well-known in Argentina, the Netherlands, and the US.

children with pets
Image Credit: Oksana Shufrych, Shutterstock

How to Celebrate World Animal Day

It can be hard to know how you’re supposed to celebrate these huge, broad holidays, but don’t overthink it. It’s all about the animals! Even if you can’t solve the sweeping problems facing animals around the globe yourself, you can do a small part.

Ways to Celebrate World Animal Day:

  • Volunteer for a local animal rescue or shelter
  • If financially possible, make a donation to your favorite pet-related shelter, charity, or organization—every cent counts!
  • Attend local World Animal Day or even just animal-related events in your area.
  • Take photos of your pets and post them on social media using the hashtag #WorldAnimalDay to spread awareness about the importance of animal welfare.
  • Shower your favorite pets by speaking in their love languages: food and praise!
  • Make life easier for local wildlife. Install a bird bath, bird feeder, plants, and other outside decor that attracts animals to your home.


If not for the industrious efforts of Heinrich Zimmerman, World Animal Day might not have become as popular as it is today. With endangered species and habitats facing unprecedented threats today and in the near future due to climate change, celebrating this holiday is more important than ever, so spread the word!

Featured Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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