You celebrate your furry best friend 365 days a year, but on a few special canine-inspired holidays, dogs of all stripes (and spots and patches) get an extra dash of love and appreciation.
These holidays honor the lovable species as a whole, or honor specific dogs—including service dogs, rescues, and purebreds. They draw attention to serious dog issues, such as common canine diseases, or they highlight lightweight issues, such as the importance of dog hugs. They last for a day, a week, or a month. No matter the specifics, these holidays bring loving attention to the many wonders of life with dogs.
Learn the history and dates of some of the top dog holidays and canine celebrations in the US and worldwide, followed by a month-to-month list of all the dog awareness days and months you should know.
National Seeing Eye Dog Day – January 29
Seeing Eye dogs help people who are blind or visually impaired navigate day-to-day life, and this day recognizes their important contribution. When wearing a harness, these dogs are on the job and their sole focus is guiding and keeping their owners safe. So don’t celebrate Seeing Eye Dog Day by petting one of these essential service dogs! Distracting them puts their owners at risk. Instead, consider donating to The Seeing Eye or fostering a Seeing Eye puppy before training begins.
National Walking the Dog Day – February 22
This annual holiday celebrates the daily activity that gives structure to life with your dog, and keeps you and your best friend healthy. You know the best way to celebrate National Walking the Dog Day—put on your comfortable shoes, outfit your dog with a collar and leash, and set off to enjoy the fresh air together. Whether you take walks around the neighborhood or long hikes with your dog, these outings help him burn energy, while giving the two of you plenty of quality time together.
National Dog Biscuit Day – February 23
Dog Biscuits were created around 1860 by James Spratt, an electrician from Ohio, after seeing stray dogs scrounging for scraps while on a trip to London. The first biscuits were a combination of grains, vegetables, and cow parts, and the treats became popular among show dog owners. In 1907, inventor Carleton Ellis created dog biscuits using milk and formed them in the ubiquitous shape of a bone.
Dog biscuits are tasty for your dog and make an excellent positive reinforcement tool for obedience training. Show your appreciation for the convenience of dog biscuits by sharing your best friend’s favorite dog treats on February 23.
National Hug Your Dog Day – April 10
You may not want to take this holiday literally. Research shows dogs don’t enjoy hugs from their people; being ‘squeezed’ stresses them and makes them feel trapped. Show your dog affection on this special day by giving him a belly rub, scratching him behind the ears, or playing games in the yard.
International Guide Dog Day – April 29
This holiday is another opportunity to celebrate the wonderful service dogs who help guide people who are blind or visually impaired. It takes two years to train guide dogs with the skills they need—this is the day to honor their hard work and dedication.
National Chihuahua Appreciation Day – May 14
Some holidays highlight the special characteristics of particular dog breeds, like National Chihuahua Day, that celebrates the little dog with a big personality. Chihuahuas are good company all year round, whether they are trotting by your side or taking in the view from inside your dog purse. Take a moment to appreciate your compact companion, and perhaps buy a few special dog toys or a smart new dog collar.
National Dog Mom’s Day – 2nd Saturday of May
This new addition to the list launched in 2018 and celebrates the human moms who care for dogs with their time, love, and attention. Celebrate this day by pampering the dog moms in your life, or giving a special gift to someone who loves dogs.
National Rescue Dog Day – May 20
About 3.3 million new dogs enter shelters each year, and this massive number suggests a pressing need for adoptive families. This annual awareness day encourages people to consider adoption instead of buying when they are ready for a dog.
National Wiener Dog Day – July 23
The long and the short of it: Dachshunds don’t actually have a holiday all their own. But their owners have made National Hot Dog Day a day to celebrate the sausage-shaped food AND the sausage-shaped dog! So enjoy your Wiener Dog on this special day, take him on his favorite walk, and maybe grill up some hot dogs to celebrate.
National Mutt Day (or National Mixed Breed Dog Day) – July 31 and December 2
Similar to Rescue Dog Day, National Mutt Day highlights the plight of mixed-breed dogs in particular. Founded in 2005, the holiday has two dates each year to increase education around the mixed-breed dogs awaiting adoption in animal shelters.
National Spoil Your Dog Day – August 10
What are your dog’s favorite treats and activities? Hiking? Dock jumping in a lake? Upland hunting? A particular dog treat? National Spoil Your Dog Day is a great opportunity to indulge him with the things that make his tail wag the most. Your dog doesn’t hold back his unconditional love for even a minute, so make it an extra special day.
National Dog Day – August 26
Founded in 2004 by Colleen Paige, a pet lifestyle expert and animal advocate, this annual holiday celebrates dogs of every kind, from rescues to purebreds. Paige founded the holiday to draw attention to the need for dog adoption of both mutts and purebreds, and to celebrate service dogs who help people with disabilities or who keep the public safe. The date has significance because Paige’s family adopted Sheltie—her first dog—on August 26.
The website for National Dog Day (NDD) suggests ways to celebrate, including donating dog supplies to your local animal shelter, throwing a party for your dog, or giving your dog a massage. Though founded in the US, National Dog Day is celebrated around the globe from Australia to Austria.
National Dog Walkers Appreciation Day – September 8
This holiday was launched in 2016 to celebrate dog walkers. We depend on them to walk our dogs, rain or shine, when we’re away from home, and they do so with care and love. Show these helpers you appreciate their hard work with a gift card to a local coffee shop or, better yet, a foot massage.
National Black Dog Day – October 1
Statistics show black dogs are adopted less often than dogs of any other color, even though they are as loving and lovable as any dog. Let this holiday inspire you to bring an ebony dog home from the rescue and share photos of your new best friend with #NationalBlackDogDay.
Those are just some of the dog (and dog-people!) appreciation days to enjoy throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of dog and pet-focused holidays by month:
- National Train Your Dog Month
- National Pet Safety Travel Day – January 2
- Change a Pet’s Life Day – January 24
- National Seeing Eye Dog Day – January 29
- National Pet Dental Health Month
- Dog Training Education Month
- Spay/Neuter Awareness Month (Humane Society of the United States)
- Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week – 2nd Week of February
- National Walking the Dog Day – February 22
- National Dog Biscuit Day – February 23
- Spay Day USA/World Spay Day – February 26
- K-9 Veterans Day – March 13
- National Puppy Day – March 23
- Canine Fitness Month
- National Adopt a Greyhound Month
- National Heartworm Awareness Month
- National Pet First Aid Awareness Month
- Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month
- Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month (ASPCA)
- Every Day is Tag Day – First Saturday in April
- National Dog Bite Prevention Week – 2nd full week in April
- National Dog Fighting Awareness Day – April 8
- National Hug Your Dog Day – April 11
- Dog Therapy Appreciation Day – April 11
- Bulldogs are Beautiful Day – April 22
- National Lost Dog Awareness Day – April 23
- National Pet Parents Day – April 28
- International Guide Dog Day – April 29
- Adopt a Shelter Pet Day – April 30
- Chip Your Pet Month
- Mayday for Mutts – First Sunday in May
- Puppy Mill Action Week – Begins Monday before Mother’s Day
- National Dog Mom’s Day – 2nd Saturday of May
- National Purebred Dog Day – May 1
- National Chihuahua Appreciation Day – May 14
- National Rescue Dog Day – May 20
- National Microchipping Month
- Best Friends Day – June 8
- Take Your Dog to Work Day – June 21
- National Lost Pet Prevention Month
- National Pet Fire Safety Day – July 15
- National Craft for your Local Shelters Day – July 21
- No Pet Store Puppies Day – July 21
- National Wiener Dog Day – July 23
- National Mutt Day – July 31
- DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs – August 1
- National Spoil Your Dog Day – August 10
- National Check the Chip Day – August 15
- National Dog Day – August 26
- National Wiener Dog Day – July 23
- National Mutt Day – July 31
- National Service Dog Month
- Puppy Mill Awareness Day – 3rd Saturday in September
- Responsible Dog Ownership Day – 3rd Saturday in September
- National Deaf Dog Awareness Week – Last full week in September
- National Dog Week – Last full week in September
- National Dog Walkers Appreciation Day – September 8
- Adopt-A-Dog Month (American Humane Association)
- Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month (ASPCA)
- National Pit Bull Awareness Month
- National Walk Your Dog Week – 1st Week in October
- National Black Dog Day – October 1
- National Fire Pup Day – October 1
- National Fetch Day – October 19
- Adopt a Senior Pet Month (ASPCA)
- Pet Cancer Awareness Month
- National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week – 1st full week of November
- National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day – November 7
- National Take a Hike Day – November 17
- National Mutt Day – December 2