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National Hug Your Dog Day: When is it and how can you celebrate?

Woman hugging her dog outdoors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re thinking that National Hug Your Dog Day sounds like the most adorable event you’ve ever heard of, you’d be right. This super sweet celebration is the perfect excuse to shower your canine companion with even more love than you usually do and the best part? It’s almost here!

And although we know you don’t really need any additional reasons to hug your hound tight, all those cuddles aren’t just nice for you and your dog, they come with tons of health benefits too.

For example, oxytocin, the hormone associated with love, attachment and trust floods through both you and your dog when the two of you hug, cementing the bond that you share. Regular cuddles can also help induce a sense of calm and relieve stress and anxiety, and that’s got to be a good thing.

But, as with anything, it’s important to monitor your dog to make sure they’re enjoying those cuddles as much as you are. Dog psychologist, Stanley Coren, has conducted research that suggests some dogs actually dislike being hugged, so if your dog turns away, tries to wrestle free, avoids eye contact or starts whining or barking, it’s important to take note. 

If you do have a serial snuggler and cuddler on your hands though, then you’re in luck, because National Hug Your Dog Day is the perfect excuse to indulge in a few extra cuddles. Read on to find out more!

What is National Hug Your Dog Day?

It’s not known exactly when National Hug Your Dog Day began, but what we do know is that it was started by author and canine behaviorist, Ami Moore as a way of publicly appreciating the companionship and loyalty that our canine companions are renowned for.

Moore is also the creator of Hug Your Hound Day, another annual event that is celebrated in September. Known as the ‘Dog Whisperer of Chicago’, Moore has a reputation as being one of the most qualified, respected and famous dog experts in the world.

When is National Hug Your Dog Day?

National Hug Your Dog Day is celebrated on the 10th of April, which, as luck would have it, falls on a Sunday this year - which means you can cuddle your canine until your heart’s content without having to worry about work getting in the way!

How can you celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day?

Couple watching TV with their dog

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, it goes without saying that one way you can celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day is to, well, hug your dog! But if your canine companion isn’t much of a cuddler, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other fun ways you can celebrate:

1. Have a movie marathon

Your dog may not want lots of hugs, but we bet they’ll love curling up next to you on the couch and watching all their favorite hounds in action. Why not go for a couple of feel-good classic hits, like Beethoven and Homeward Bound? Make a bowl of popcorn for yourself and have a few of the best dog treats on hand for your canine companion and bingo, you’ve got the perfect Sunday afternoon!

2. Treat them to a new toy

What better way to spend a few hours than playing with one of the best dog toys? Why not head to the pet store and pick up a new plaything or two for your pup and then spend some time taking their new toy for a spin. If your dog loves a challenge, a puzzle toy can be a great way to go while rope toys are ideal for those who love playing tug-of-war. 

3. Take to social media

Share some sweet snaps of your and your canine companion on your favorite social media platform. Be sure to use #NationalHugYourDogDay so that all the other pet parents out there can see how the two of you are spending the day. 

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.