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International Dog Day 2021: When is it and how to celebrate

international dog day: what is it and how can you celebrate
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you love nothing more than championing our canine companions, then get ready for International Dog Day.

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.

If you're considering giving a dog a home, be sure to read our guide on how to adopt a dog. You'll also find step-by-step ways to introduce a new dog into your home with our puppy checklist. 

Not ready to commit to a pet anytime soon? 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 with our ways to celebrate International Dog Day section. 

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. One, 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!

Two, 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 2021, it will fall on Monday, 26 August.  

How can you celebrate on International Dog Day and beyond?

1. Adopt

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. 

3. Educate

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

You could opt to take a selfie with your special friend and post it in social media. International Dog Day can be found on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Simply use the hashtags #NationalDogDay, #DogDay and #InternationalDogDay to show your appreciation or share your own adoption stories by adding on the hashtag #AdoptDontShop.

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.   

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!