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National Best Friends Day: What is it and how can you celebrate with your pet?

Woman hugging dog outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While it was originally created with humans in mind, National Best Friends Day has well and truly expanded over the years to include our favorite bundles of fluff, with 19% of Americans stating that their dog is their best friend and 9% echoing the sentiment when it comes to their cat. 

Although our human friends can most definitely help us weather the ups and downs of life, there’s something special about our pets with many of us feeling that our animal companions are often the ones who help us cope with challenging life events like divorce, illness and the death of those we love. 

There’s something incredibly therapeutic about our pets, regardless of whether they’re fluffy or feathred or come with gills or scales. Animals, especially dogs and cats, have been shown to help reduce everything from stress and anxiety to depression and loneliness, and they’re also a valuable source of companionship for those of us that live alone or have limited mobility.

With that in mind, what better way to say thank you and show our pets some love than by celebrating them this National Best Friends Day. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know, including plenty of inspiration to help you make this a day the two of you will never forget.

What is National Best Friends Day?

National Best Friends Day has a long and illustrious history, having been created all the way back in 1935 by members of the U.S. Congress. While the event all but disappeared for a period during the 20th century, it was revived in 2007 by Mary Wisniewski who wrote about National Best Friends Day for her column in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Social media has also helped to give this day a new lease on life, with people eagerly posting photos of themselves with their best friends. Starbucks now also runs an annual promotional campaign where it encourages its employees to celebrate their work besties. The Best Friends Animal Society is big on this special day too, using it as an opportunity to raise awareness of homeless pets.

When is National Best Friends Day?

Chosen because of the likelihood of balmy weather in most locations that would be suitable for outdoor activities, National Best Friends Day is celebrated every year on June 8th. In 2022, that falls on a Wednesday. 

How can you celebrate National Best Friends Day with your pet?

Woman holding cat with their noses touching

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are so many ways that you and your pet can join in all the fun of National Best Friends Day. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Buy your pet a gift

Whether it’s a new cat scratching post, a few of the best rabbit toys, some new fish food or a luxury dog bed, nothing says I love you quite like a special gift. Treating your animal companion to something new is a wonderful way to thank them for all the love and affection they bring to your life.

2. Share photos of you and your pet on social media

What better way to honor the love the two of you share and the special bond you have than to pop some photos of you and your pet onto social media. 

Use #NationalBestFriendsDay and #BestFriends to ensure that all of us around the world who class our pet as our bestie can learn more about the two of you.

3. Spend some time playing together

Whether you have a dog, a cat, a rabbit or a bird, spending some quality time indulging in a fun play session will give both of your spirits a boost and leave you feeling more connected than ever. 

For all the feline friends out there, the best cat toys in the form of feather wands and laser devices are well worth considering, and for our canine companions, why not try out one of our favorite indoor games for dogs?

4. Watch a film

If the weather doesn’t cooperate this National Best Friends Day and it’s too wet to go outside, why not curl up on the couch with your pet and watch a film together? 

From Babe and Charlotte’s Web to Homeward Bound and Beethoven, there are plenty of classics around to keep the two of you all cozy and content for the afternoon. 

5. Take a nap

And finally, if you’re both tuckered out from all the excitement that comes with National Best Friends Day there’s nothing quite like taking a nap together to strengthen your bond. 

Let your pet snuggle up beside you or in their very own cat bed or dog bed. There’s even a new dog bed for humans that’s big enough to fit you both. 

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.