Your dog is probably the greatest presence in your life. No matter your mood, no matter the circumstances of your day, they are able to make you feel loved and appreciated. They bring your household together and make your family feel whole. That sort of love deserves sincere appreciation.

But how do you show your appreciation for your dog? And if you don’t currently have a dog, what can you do to show your love?

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From giving your puppy dog chews to enjoy to donating to a local dog rescue, you do small things to make a change in the world around you. National Dog Day takes that notion and lifts it to a whole other level, improving awareness for the global treatment of dogs and asking for people to implement change.

What is National Dog Day and when did it start? Best of all, how can you celebrate it?

What Is National Dog Day?

National Dog Day was created in 2004 by Colleen Paige, a family and pet lifestyle expert. Paige saw that there was a lack of holidays for our favorite pets and created the holiday to bring serious awareness to the dogs in our lives.

The idea behind the holiday is not to just celebrate the responsibilities of dog ownership and the dogs we’ve welcomed into our home, but the issues often overlooked. These include:

  • The millions of dogs that remain unwanted, unadopted, or are simply abandoned by their families
  • Irresponsible dog owners and breeders and how such treatment affects dogs around the globe

The holiday seeks to improve adoption rates in communities so shelter dogs can be adopted into loving homes, giving them a perfect place to continue their lives. Paige chose August 26 as the annual holiday because her family adopted their first dog on August 26 when she was just 10 years old.

Awareness for the holiday has spread in recent years, with it being endorsed by the State of New York in 2013, along with joining forces with other animal welfare organizations like The Humane Society of the United States and West Coast Labrador Retriever Rescue.

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How to Celebrate with Your Dog

The best thing you can do to celebrate National Dog Day is to make your own fun. Celebrations can range from giving your dog something great to eat to donating some funds or goods to a local dog rescue shelter.  

Here are just a few fun ways to celebrate your dog this National Dog Day.

Adopt a dog

If you don’t currently have a dog, now is the time to adopt one. Take a trip to a local shelter and see what dogs they have. You’re sure to find your newest family member. However, as a caveat, do not do this on a whim if you are not ready to have a dog in your life. You want to ensure you can provide a dog with the best life.

Get outside together

Your dog will love spending some time outside together, such as a long hike in the woods. Consider asking a friend if you’d like their dog to join, too, to give your dog someone to play with as well as including another dog in the celebratory festivities.

Have some play time

Take some time out of your day to play with one another. Step away from your work computer and give them your attention. This could involve playing tug of war in your living room with some of their favorite toys or driving to a local park to play catch with a frisbee.

Give your dog a special treat

Your dog deserves a special treat on this big day. A cake could be one choice, but consider giving them something healthier. Bully sticks for dogs are a great choice, as they’re not only healthy for your dog, but they also provide dental health support by helping to remove plaque and buildup from your pet’s teeth.

Take your dog out for a snack

You can also consider taking them out to enjoy a treat, too. It could be going to a specific dog cafe to get them a specially baked good. You could even go a step further and get them a small ice cream or cup of whipped cream to really drive them wild — think of dogs getting puppuccinos.

Socialize with other dogs

Let your dog spend some time with other dogs while you’re at it. One plan could be getting together with your friends and family and allowing your dogs to interact with one another. You can even take them to the dog park when it’s especially busy so they can have many new friends to meet, greet, and sniff.

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Donate to a local rescue organization

Lastly, if you don’t have a dog or can’t adopt, you should consider providing a donation to a local dog organization or regional rescue. This can include a cash donation or it could involve providing them with a batch of dog treats, bedding, toys, and more. That sort of donation will be greatly appreciated by the rescue shelter, as they will be put to good use improving the lives of their dogs.

With next to no effort, you can make a difference in the world around you. Celebrate your dog and the dogs around the globe this National Dog Day.