There is no doubt that Americans love their pets. In the United States, 68%, or 85 million households, have a pet of some type. These pets include dogs, cats, fish, birds, horses, reptiles, and other small animals. If you enjoy having a pet and love your furry, feathered or scaly friend, then you may want to observe National Love Your Pet Day.

Declaring a National Day

It seems like there is a new national day always being announced. If you have a love of animals, you may have heard of love your pet day, but also:

  • National Pet Day
  • National Bird Day
  • Doggy Date Night
  • National Hug Your Dog Day
  • National Hug Your Cat Day
  • World Animal Day

There is also a National Pet Week and National Pet Month.

If you’re curious about where all these non-official daily holidays come from, it is simple. They come from suggestions from individuals like you, businesses or social organizations. One easy way to declare a national day is to register it with the National Day Calendar on their website.

If they approve the suggestion, then a certificate is sent to the person or organization, they post it every year on their website, and they send out a press release and media alert that goes out to radio broadcasters, newspapers, talk show hosts, and they include it on their social media accounts.

Many social organizations use this platform to bring awareness to issues like dental health for pets, dog fighting, dog training, or National Unchain a Dog Month, which brings awareness to dogs who are chained or tethered outside without human interaction.

health and social benefits of pet ownership

Benefits of Pet Ownership

Although the origins of love your pet day are unknown, it is believed to have started sometime in the 2000s. We know that Americans, as well as other cultures around the world, value their pets, there are several benefits to owning one.

Reduces Risk of Allergies

Although many people believe that children raised in households with pets are more susceptible to allergies, scientists have found out that the opposite is true. Studies have shown that kids raised in families with pets are 33% less likely to develop an allergy to that type of pet. They also have stronger immune systems. However, if they already had an allergy, it cannot be reversed.

Better for the Heart

Of course, the love for any person or creature can improve your wellbeing, and studies show that owning a pet can reduce the risk of heart disease. Pet ownership helps to reduce blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels. Lowering these levels can prevent a heart attack.

May Fight Depression

If you have a mental illness like depression, having a pet may help improve the disease. Many hospitals and nursing homes keep dogs, cats, and birds to provide Pet Facilitated Therapy, PFT. This therapy can treat chronic physical and mental health problems in people.

Petting a dog or a cat can help people calm down after traumatic events, they improve the lives of the elderly, and they can help soothe children. Many people are prescribed pet therapy animals to keep them calm in stressful situations.

Meet New Friends

It may be easier to meet people when walking your dog or cat. People are more likely to engage with those they see walking an animal than they are with other strangers. If you take your dog to a dog park, then you will have something in common with the other people around you, and you may develop new friendships.

Improve Physical Fitness

Owning a dog gives you an excuse to get out and exercise. Dogs get bored sitting in the house all day, and sometimes they get bored in their yards. To stimulate their curiosity, and to keep yourself in shape, you can take your dog for a walk every evening. You will get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors will connect the dog to you in case it ever wanders away from home.

Celebrating National Love Your Pet Day

Where there are so many pet “holidays,” there isn’t any special celebrations on National Love Your Pet Day. However, that doesn't mean you cannot stage a celebration to show your pet how much you love them. Aside from extra cuddles, here are some ways you can commemorate the day.

Buy Your Pet a New Toy

Almost every dog and cat loves playing with balls. They either like to play fetch or spend hours batting them around and chasing after them. One way to celebrate your pet is to go to your local pet store and buy a new ball, or another toy, for your furry friend.

Americans spend approximately $70 billion on their pets each year, with many of those purchases toys. Birds also like to play with toys like bells and mirrors. If you have an aquarium, toss in a moss ball for your fish to nudge when it needs something to do.

Go to a Pet Bakery

Baked goods for pets are becoming more popular, and there are now bakeries dedicated to their culinary needs. Inside a pet bakery you may find peanut butter cookies for dogs, bacon-flavored dog biscuits, catnip crumbles for cats made with ground beef and eggs, or you can buy some unique lettuces for your rabbit at the grocery store.

Consider Adoption

Although you can buy a pet at a pet store or find one from a neighbor down the street whose cat or dog got pregnant, it is better to adopt a pet. If you get a shelter animal, you’re not only saving a life, but they are usually healthier, you’ll find all types of breeds and save money, plus you won’t be supporting puppy mills.

Approximately 6.5 million dogs and cats enter shelters in the US every year. While about 3.2 million get adopted, 1.5 million are euthanized. Many pets are returned to their owners, and some pets are rehomed. If you want a pet, or want to add to your pet family, find a local shelter from which to adopt.

giving a Yorkshire Terrier a grooming session

Book a Pet Salon Appointment

Some pooches like to be pampered and spoiled, so on love your pet day, book an appointment for a trip to a pet salon. Washing a large dog at home can be a hassle for many owners, but pet salons have equipment that keeps them still. Some dogs love the attention and will behave anyway when being bathed.

Along with getting them clean, consider a trim for your overly-furry friend and have their nails trimmed. If you have a frou-frou doggy, ask them to apply pet-safe nail polish as well. When you leave the salon, your pet will look pampered and proud of their clean new ‘do.

mother and son playing with their dog to celebrate national love your pet day

Arrange a Playdate

Animals get bored just the same as kids do. While your cat may be more of a wallflower, dogs are pack animals and usually like to associate with others of their kind. If they do well at the dog park, consider arranging a playdate with one of their favorite buddies.

Along with socialization, which is very important for animals, they will also get exercise as they run, wrestle, and play with their canine pals. Make their playdates a once a week or once a month habit, so they have something to do besides playing with their toys at home.

Relax at Home

Have you ever seen your dog or cat stare at the television while watching a movie or a sporting event? If you have, consider turning on Kitten or Puppy TV or a movie featuring animals that might get their attention. Make some popcorn for yourself and offer pet-safe treats for your pet companion and enjoy watching TV together.

Feature Your Pet Online

If you have social media accounts, use the hashtag #LoveYourPetDay and post selfies with your pets or take pictures of them to post. You can also post videos of them doing something silly, like running into a sack or playing with a sock and post it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Some unique pets have become social media stars, such as Lil Bub the cat, Grumpy Cat, Earl the Grump, or Gibby the Squirrel. Although it takes a lot of work to keep up with their exploits if they have a social media account, posting the occasional picture of your pet could brighten someone’s day.

There are several ways to celebrate your pet, whether you have a dog, cat, gerbil, or chicken. A good way to show your love would be to make sure to take them to the vet for regular checkups, get their annual shots if applicable, give them a warm, comfortable bed, and feed them healthy pet foods.

You don’t need a special day to love your pet, but National Love Your Pet Day can be a fun day to do something special for your pet companion. Use the suggestions above or consider one of your own, but have fun being with and showing your pet affection, even if they swim in a tank or crawl across the floor.