International Dog Day is one of our favorite annual celebrations and, as luck would have it, it's almost that time of year again. With this popular event fast approaching, there's never been a better time to learn about the many ways you can help make this year's festivities the best yet.
Also known as National Dog Day, this annual holiday on the pet calendar involves spoiling our dogs with affection, sure, but it also comes with a pretty serious message too. 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, be sure to 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 simply show your devotion to these adorable floofs and woofs across the Internet on the day in our ways to celebrate International Dog Day section.
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What is International Dog Day?
International Dog Day was founded in 2004 by pet & family lifestyle expert, animal rescue advocate, conservationist, dog trainer and author, Colleen Paige, who you might recognize as also 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 looks to spotlight 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 10 years old - on the exact date International Dog Day occurs!
Alongside raising awareness, National Dog Day simply celebrates just 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.
What day is International Dog Day?
International Dog Day is observed annually on August 26. In 2022, it will fall on Friday, 26 August.
How can you celebrate on 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 by using the Shelter Pet Project, or check your local shelter or pure rescue breed organization's website to find your lifelong friend.
Be sure to think about the long term commitment adding a new member to your family will involve. 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 before they move in too.
2. Help out a shelter
If you're not looking to adopt but you love dogs, then 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 supports the ban of puppy mills and gas chambers in their state.
4. 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 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 a special homemade dog treats in your kitchen. Outside of the home, it's a great excuse to go 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 simply give them a good brush down. It's all about spending quality time with your pooch, maybe you could teach them a new trick or two?
5. Have a National Dog Day party
Any excuse for a party! Some dog owners choose to celebrate National Dog Day in similar style to their dog's actual birthday. This means hats, decorations, guests... the full works. Not forgetting a glorious DIY dog cake of course.
6. Take part on social media
7. 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 the professionals and use National Dog Day as the perfect excuse to get a pet portrait commissioned or have fun with your very own dog and owner photoshoot.
8. 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. If you know a dog lover in need of a little cheer, why not opt for a personalised gift featuring their own 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!
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Ashleigh is Digital Editor on PetsRadar. With over 8 years of experience in print and digital media, she has acted as an editorial lead on a variety of projects, with animal themes a keen interest. As an avid animal lover, you can often find Ashleigh checking out the newest trends in animal care or looking at cute cat videos on TikTok.