National Pet Day is April 11, and whether you’re already a devoted pet parent, or you’re still learning how to best fit a companion into your life, there are plenty of ways to celebrate! Furry friends, scaly sidekicks, and cute critters alike: this guide is for you.
Designed to celebrate our unconditional love of pets, National Pet Day is a holiday that gives us an excuse to spread the love by giving back to animal rescue organizations, spoil our own beloved best friends, and advocate for the health and futures of all companion animals.
Although nearly one in five households adopted shelter pets during the COVID-19 pandemic, about 87% of U.S. shelters are understaffed, and nearly 6.3 million animals enter shelters each year.
While many of us would fill our homes with dozens of pets if we could, there are still millions in desperate need of a loving home, and National Pet Day is the animal holiday we need to provide them with the best opportunity to find a fur-ever family.
But first, here are a few fun facts about National Pet Day to give you some added context:
5 Facts About National Pet Day
- National Pet Day was created by animal rescue advocate, conservationist, and author Colleen Paige in 2006.
- Colleen Paige is also the mastermind behind nine other pet holidays, such as National Dog Day, National Cat Day, National Puppy Day, and National Mutt Day.
- The original goal of National Pet Day is to encourage the adoption of pets and improve their health and wellbeing.
- 70% of U.S. households own a pet. Dogs are the most popular, followed by cats and fish.
- Of all pet owners in America, 38% of dog owners and 40% of cat owners adopted their pets from an animal shelter or rescue.
While it’s important to learn more about animals and do our part to take care of them every day, it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate National Pet Day this year.
How To Celebrate National Pet Day
Donate pet supplies to your local shelter.
Animal shelters are always in need of more supplies to keep their temporary residents well cared for. The best thing you can do is check online (or call!) your local shelter to see what they need.
Otherwise, gather up your gently used towels and blankets, bowls, and toys to donate today.
You can also consider picking up an extra package of treats, some cans of wet food, or even kitty litter next time you’re at the store.
Some shelters also appreciate recycled newspapers to line critter cages or litter boxes (which is a great way to recycle your Goodnewspaper when you’re finished reading it!)
Donate funds to national animal rescue organizations.
We’ve all seen the sad commercials, so we’ll spare you the details, but major animal welfare and rescue operations across the country will gladly accept your support!
Check out some of the following nonprofits to donate to this National Pet Day:
- Best Friends Animal Society
- The Humane Society of the United States
- Bissell Pet Foundation
- Animal Welfare Institute
Dog lovers, you can also check out the American Kennel Club’s full breed-by-breed directory of rescue organizations.
Donate funds to your local animal shelter or rescue.
While large-scale nonprofits have a major impact on nationwide initiatives, the small shelters and rescue groups in your area certainly need your support, too.
Whether it’s your local Humane Society, a specific dog breed organization, or a cat cafe in your community, share some funds on this special day.
Our best tip? Google “animal rescue near me” to find local organizations that need your help.
Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Time is just as valuable as financial or physical resources! Most likely, your local animal shelters and rescues are in desperate need of support.
Can you help clean living quarters? Walk dogs once a week? Inventory donations and supplies? Organize their spreadsheets?
Make it a goal to start volunteering with a friend or family member — starting on National Pet Day.
Support pet-loving brands that give back.
According to Forbes, Americans spent a total of $123.6 billion on their pets in 2021 — up almost 20% from the year prior. Now, we’re never going to tell you to stop spoiling your fur babies, but consider being more intentional about your purchases!
We have ethical shopping guides to help you support pet brands that give back and are good for the environment. Your buddy might have the cutest toe beans in town, but you don’t want their carbon footprint — ahem, pawprint — to rival yours.
→ Our guide to biodegradable dog poop bags
→ Our guide to the best eco-friendly dog beds
→ Our guide to the best gifts for animal lovers (that give back!)
Read good news about pets.
Part of the fun of celebrating pets also means celebrating good news about these beloved animals.
We’re all about good news at Good Good Good — and we even create an Animals Edition of our Goodnewspaper every year!
Plus, we have a whole library of good animal news stories to inspire you, too.
- This shelter provides pet resources — not just adoption
- These organizations help dogs when their owners are in need
- These pet influencers use their platforms for good
- This famous pug has raised thousands to support kids with cancer
- These famous veterinarians inspire us to do more good
- The popular ‘WeRateDogs’ Twitter account has raised millions for pets
- This program pairs dogs with incarcerated people to help heal them both
- These are the best good news stories about dogs
Celebrate National Pet Day at work.
Some great ways to celebrate National Pet Day at work include bringing your pet to work (if possible!), sharing photos of your pets in your company’s newsletter, or planning a team volunteer event at a local shelter or rescue.
Create some upcycled toys or goodies for your own pets.
Any pet owner will admit it: The box is often more exciting than the toy. It truly doesn’t take that much to impress our pets, so why not try a few DIY upcycled toy options?
Grab some cardboard boxes or egg cartons you were already planning to recycle and use them to make a catnip or dog treat snuffle toy; snag an old sock or sweatshirt sleeve and turn it into a tug toy or flirt pole; or you know, just share the toilet paper roll next time you’re done in the bathroom.
Adopt a shelter pet.
At the end of the day, National Pet Day is all about giving more pets safe, loving homes. If you have room in your heart — and your house — for a new beloved companion, consider this your sign to take the leap.
Do your research, make sure you can financially support a new family member, and fall in love. Trust us; it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
To find adoptable pets near you, visit a local shelter or rescue agency, or check out Petfinder for a full directory.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do people celebrate National Pet Day?
National Pet Day is a holiday that invites people to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, advocate for the health and safety of rescued animals, and encourage folks to adopt pets from shelters and rescues.
What day is National Pet Day?
National Pet Day is on April 11. This year, National Pet Day falls on a Tuesday.
Is National Pet Day the same day every year?
National Pet Day is on April 11 every year. The holiday began in 2006 when animal welfare advocate and author Colleen Paige hoped to raise awareness for unwanted pets in shelters.
What hashtags should I use for National Pet Day?
On National Pet Day, you can use hashtags like #NationalPetDay and #AdoptDontShop.
What are some other animal holidays?
There are countless animal awareness holidays throughout the year. Check out our ultimate calendar of animal holidays and our ultimate calendar of pet holidays to keep them on your radar.
When is National Dog Day?
National Dog Day takes place every year on August 26. You can find more national pet holidays in our ultimate calendar.
When is National Cat Day?
National Cat Day is celebrated on October 29 every year. You can find more national pet holidays in our ultimate calendar.