Celebrating National Dog Day

A deaf great dane and his mom celebrate National Dog Day

National Dog Day is a day to celebrate ALL dogs, young and old, small and large, short and long-haired, mixed and pure breed. Today we honor and celebrate our own dogs by remembering and focusing public attention on the thousands of homeless dogs, both on the streets and in shelters, as well as those trapped in puppy mills, fighting rings, and other abusive situations that desperately need our help.

Safe Humane Ambassador dog teaches a little girl about kindness to animals and celebrate national dog day
Photograph used with permission of Safe Humane Chicago.

Twenty Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day

1. Adopt a dog from a shelter or breed rescue.

2. Foster a dog from an open admission shelter – you might actually save a life!

3. Volunteer to walk a dog for a senior citizen in your neighborhood.

4. Host a party and ask guests to bring a donation for a shelter or rescue.

Corbin, adopted pitbull and his family celebrate National Dog Day

5. Buy and deliver pet food to your local food kitchen for homeless pet owners.

6. Hold a supply drive for a local shelter.

7. Deliver pet food to senior citizens and others who are unable to get out regularly.

8. Volunteer to take photographs of adoptable dogs in shelters and rescues and share widely.

A happy dog family celebrate National Dog Day
Photograph used with permission of Safe Humane Chicago.

9.   Boycott pet stores that sell dogs, cats, and other animals.

10. Use cruelty free cleaning products and cosmetics that have not been tested on animals.

11. Provide hospice care for a sick or elderly shelter animal.

12. Share your dog’s rescue story on social media to inspire others to rescue a dog.

Prince and Silvie of Muffin's Halo celebrate National Dog Day

13. Teach your children to respect and be kind to all animals. Spread the message to other kids in the neighborhood.

14.  Set up a pet food pantry in your church, school, or synagogue.

15.  Deliver food, collars, and blankets to homeless pet owners in your community.

16.  Read lost pet signs and help lost animals find their way home.

A dog and his adoptive mom celebrate National Dog Day by helping other dogs

17.  Keep an extra leash, collar and some food in your trunk in case you find a stray or lost dog.

18.  If you see something, say something. Always report cruelty, abuse, and neglect to the appropriate authorities.

19.  Make an emergency plan for you and your pets. Keep extra food, meds, leashes, vaccine records, first-aid kit, etc. on hand in case of emergency.

20.  Never leave your dog unattended in a car, outside a store or anywhere else that might put them in danger. Make sure they are microchipped with current address information in case they are lost or separated from you during a disaster or emergency.

Safe Humane Chicago celebrates National Dog Day in memory of Robert Howard Jr.
Photograph used with permission of Safe Humane Chicago. In memory of Robert Howard, Jr.

Bonus tips to celebrate National Dog Day

1. Check out dog-friendly bars and restaurants.
2. Plan a dog movie night – watch dog-themed movies curled up on the couch with your dog.
3. Host a cookout with a few friends and their dogs.
4. Take your dog on a picnic, hike, boat ride, camping or another fun family activity.
5. Paint a portrait, write a poem, or take silly pictures with your dog.
6. Bake homemade treats or visit your local dog bakery.
7. Take your dog to work (if allowed) or call in sick and spend quality time with your best friend.
8. Be the person your dog thinks you are!

Have other suggestions of ways to celebrate your dog while helping other dogs? Please share in the comments!

Thanks to Safe Humane Chicago and Josh Feeney for photographs 2, 4, and 7.


  1. Molly and Mackie
    August 26, 2016 / 9:02 am

    What a great post! Happy National Dog Day, Ruby!

  2. Brian
    August 26, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    What a wonderful bunch and we hope yor day was super special too sweet Ruby!

  3. Two French Bulldogs
    August 26, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    Happy Doggy DayLily & Edward

  4. Cynthia Bathurst
    August 26, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    I LOVE this! Thank you! And I am so pleased to see Robert here, an advocate for safe, humane communities. His ever-so sweet dog Apollo has a wonderful new home and family. RIP Robert!

    • Cynthia Bathurst
      August 26, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      Robert graduated from Safe Humane Chicago's VALOR program — Veterans Advancing Lives Of Rescues. We are so proud!

  5. Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs
    August 26, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    It is a great day to be a dog for sure 🙂 Mom says every day in our house is national dog day though 🙂

  6. Marg
    August 26, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    What a great post. Loved seeing all these people with their special dogs. Those suggestions for helping homeless dogs are just terrific. Happy National Dog Day to you Ruby.

  7. Sketching with Dogs
    August 26, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    What could be better than National Dog Day, they make our lives complete!

  8. ChristaV
    August 26, 2016 / 4:11 pm

    what a happy post to celebrate a great day! Love it, Kristin. Thanks for all you do to represent for the dogs…

  9. Yamini MacLean
    August 26, 2016 / 4:15 pm

    Hari OMYou pretty much have it covered I'd say!!! Hoorah for all our doggy pals!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  10. Madi and Mom
    August 26, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    Kristin…I am smiling…big time!Hugs Cecilia

  11. Bocci
    August 26, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    Excellent National Dog Day Post! We love all of the great ideas to help celebrate all doggies and this very special day!

  12. LP
    August 26, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    Wonderful post! We loves all the photographs of pet owners with their pups! And your list of suggestions are noteworthy. We do some of these things but will come back to your list to be reminded of those that we should try :)the critters in the cottage xo

  13. Three Chatty Cats
    August 26, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    These are all beautiful pictures! Happy National Dog Day!

  14. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    August 26, 2016 / 5:27 pm

    These are wonderful tips. Thanks for sharing. Happy National Dog Day

  15. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
    August 26, 2016 / 5:45 pm

    The pictures truly capture the love between the people and their dogs 🙂 We hope Ruby enjoys National Dog Day 🙂

  16. Montecristo Travels
    August 26, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Oooh #17! adding that to the car!! good one!

  17. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    August 26, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    Great post – Happy National Dog Day – shouldn't that be celebrated every day? BOLWoos – Ciara and Lightning

  18. Nichole Burke
    August 26, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Great post! Happy National Dog Day!!

  19. Idaho PugRanch
    August 26, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    Happy National Dog Day!!! Great suggestions!hugsMr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  20. Murphy
    August 26, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    What a great post full of howliday tips! Happy National Dog Day!!Your Pals,Murphy & Stanley

  21. Dory and the Mama
    August 26, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Awesome post!! Thanks for sharing such wonderful information!!Smileys!Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  22. da tabbies o trout towne
    August 26, 2016 / 10:08 pm

    a most happee dawgs day two ewe ruby !!!! ♥♥♥☺☺☺

  23. Marty the Manx
    August 26, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    Happy National Dog Day Ruby!

  24. Lola The Rescued Cat
    August 26, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    Happy National Dog Day, Ruby! These are great tips. Mommy only uses cruelty free cosmetics and skin care products and has been for many years now. She uses cruelty free, chemical free cleaning products 90% of the time. This is something we love to promote! (p.s We hope you got extra treats today!)

  25. Christine Caplan
    August 27, 2016 / 12:06 am

    This post is so inspiring!! Ok, this weekend my pledge is to drop canned goods off at our local shelter and to walk a dog at Oregon Humane Society next week. Thank you for his thoughtful post!

  26. Pawesome Cats
    August 27, 2016 / 12:14 am

    Happy National Dog Day – I love your collection of images, they really do speak to the human-animal bond and the love between pet and parent.

  27. M. K. Clinton
    August 27, 2016 / 2:36 am

    Happy National Dog Day!!

  28. Rugby James
    August 27, 2016 / 2:49 am

    Really amazing photos!! Loved so many of your ideas for celebrating dogs!! Great post!

  29. Cathy Keisha
    August 27, 2016 / 3:00 am

    Whoa! You guys covered everything! Happy National Dog Day!

  30. STELLA and RORY from Down Under
    August 27, 2016 / 6:24 am

    Howdy Mates. Happy National Dog Day to you all too. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  31. Jeanne Pursell
    August 27, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Happy National Dog Day!!

  32. Mark Muller
    August 27, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    Happy National Dog Day … and many thanks for such a wonderful post!!!

  33. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    August 27, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    Loving all dogs today and every day!

  34. The Menagerie Mom
    August 27, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    This is such a great post! I love that you always work to spread awareness of all of the homeless and other animals in need. It is so important that we do all that we can for them. Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips!I don't how, but I somehow missed the memo that it was National Dog Day. I've already profusely apologized to my girl Astrid, and have given her lots of treats to make up for it.

  35. Jana Rade
    August 27, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    Every day is a "local" dog day in our house.

  36. The Swiss Cats
    August 27, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    Happy belated Dog Day ! Purrs

  37. Caren Gittleman
    August 27, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    Love all of the tips and the photos are amazing! Happy Belated National Dog Day!! DakotasDen

  38. Tonya Wilhelm
    August 28, 2016 / 12:54 am

    Very inspiring! For 5 years I held a birthday bash/fundraiser on my dog's birthday for his breed rescue. Not only was it fun and we raised money, we also gained awareness and even new foster families. Thanks for the nice ideas.

  39. Tonya Wilhelm
    August 28, 2016 / 12:54 am

    Very inspiring! For 5 years I held a birthday bash/fundraiser on my dog's birthday for his breed rescue. Not only was it fun and we raised money, we also gained awareness and even new foster families. Thanks for the nice ideas.

  40. tubby3pug
    August 28, 2016 / 1:50 am

    thats every day for me

  41. Cathy Armato
    August 28, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    These are all wonderful ideas and some great ways to help shelter pets any day of the year!Love & Biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  42. Talent Hounds
    August 28, 2016 / 3:13 pm

    Some brilliant ideas for celebrating dogs every day. We spent the day with Kilo the Pug and made some donations and shared content to build awareness. We also like to shop at places that donate a percentage, attend fundraisers, make videos and donate YouTube revenue (others can donate by just watching).

  43. Christy Paws
    August 28, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    I love the idea of celebrating National Dog Day by helping rescues and shelters. They need our help all year long but special days like these bring extra awareness.

  44. theOKdogblog
    August 28, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    This is a great great list. Maybe I will take this list and make it my bucket list for the next year!!!! I often "take a sick day" from work to spend a day at home with my pups! shhh…don't tell! 🙂

  45. Sweet Purrfections
    August 29, 2016 / 1:50 am

    I think dogs are great, too. I grew up with dogs.

  46. Sadie and Co.
    August 29, 2016 / 1:58 am

    A beautiful post in celebration of National Dog Day!

  47. Kia
    August 29, 2016 / 2:09 am

    What an awesome list! These are all great ways to celebrate National Dog Day! We hope your day was great!

  48. Robin Mudge
    August 29, 2016 / 2:20 am

    These are great ideas! I love the ideas in which you are helping out homeless dogs and dogs that are in need. Loving your own dog is a great thing, but it is going the extra mile to show that love to someone else's dog.-Purrs from your friends at http://www.PlayfulKitty.net

  49. FiveSibesMom
    August 29, 2016 / 2:45 am

    Hope you had a wonderful National Dog Day! Great, great suggestions!

  50. Ruth Epstein
    August 29, 2016 / 2:46 am

    What a great post and Happy National Dog Day from Me and Layla – woof from Auction4petSupplies.com

  51. Dash Kitten
    August 29, 2016 / 3:26 am

    Donb't people look proud of their dogs eh? It really makes me smile. Whether the dog is large or small it's owner is always proud of 'their dog' and it shines out.I second the 'teach kids to respect dogs' concept. They have no idea that they may scare a dog with a lunge (a rescue dog may defend itself if it has previous negative experience) and blaming athedog is cowardly and shameful. Parents need to take full responsibility for their children – every minute of every day!Happy National Dg day, we hope it's a good one!

  52. Tenacious Little Terrier
    August 29, 2016 / 6:06 am

    We took Mr. N to a burger place and he had a few bites so he was happy.

  53. Daily Dog Tag
    August 29, 2016 / 5:46 pm

    I LOVE all these ideas! I hope you had a terrific National Dog Day!

  54. Galatea
    August 29, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    Happy National Dog Day, and thanks for including the lovely pic of Sylvie & Muffin (RIP). Annette x

  55. FidoseofReality
    August 29, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    I am sharing this – what a fantastic list and one that can be shared and implemented year round. TY for putting this together in honor of dogs everywhere!

  56. Groovy Goldendoodles
    August 30, 2016 / 11:44 am

    You nailed it! /Incredible post – excellent!

  57. Kame
    August 30, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Happy national dog day 🙂

  58. Lindsay Pevny
    August 31, 2016 / 2:09 am

    So glad we had Dog Day to celebrate, though to us it feels like every day is dog day. Love that your suggestions include helping dogs everywhere!

  59. Jenna,Mark Drady
    August 31, 2016 / 2:35 am

    Love this, and the photo are fantastic!

  60. KB Bear
    September 1, 2016 / 12:28 am

    My favorite day of the year!!! We had done #19 before our multi-day wildfire evacuation this summer. Thank goodness. We didn't even freak out while getting ready to evacuate… unlike some evacuations which were hilarious in retrospect.

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