How To Celebrate National Pet Day

secure Editorial Standards

SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More

National Pet Day is an unofficial holiday created to encourage people to have fun with their pets and consider adopting more animals from local shelters. It can make for a great opportunity to take your dog for a walk, buy special treats for your cat or make sure you have proper insurance coverage to protect your pet rodent in case of a hamster ball accident.

Keep reading for tips on how you can celebrate National Pet Day and an overview of the holiday’s origin and purpose.

Key Takeaways

  • National Pet Day is an unofficial holiday created to celebrate the value of owning pets and raise awareness about the plight of animals currently living in shelters.
  • There are numerous fun ways to celebrate the occasion such as bringing your pet to a groomer, taking your pet on a walk, making or buying special treats and more.
  • You may want to consider buying pet health insurance, especially if you have a dog or cat that is prone to getting sick or injured.
  • Auto insurance may only cover your pets while they are in your car if your policy includes collision coverage or pet injury coverage.

What Is National Pet Day?

National Pet Day is a holiday with two major purposes: to encourage people to celebrate their pets because of the joy those pets bring to their lives and to raise awareness about the large number of animals still living in shelters and waiting to be adopted.[1]

The holiday also presents a great opportunity to reflect on the potential health benefits of having pets. For example, interactions with animals can lead to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. In addition, owning pets can have mental health benefits including a better mood, decreased feelings of loneliness and increased feelings of social support.[2]

When Is National Pet Day?

National Pet Day takes place on April 11. It was created by animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige in 2006.[1] Notably, Paige has founded several other animal-themed holidays including National Horse Protection Day, National Wildlife Day and National Walk Your Dog Week.[3]

How Can I Celebrate National Pet Day?

See below for a rundown of 10 of the best ways you can commemorate National Pet Day with your furry friends in a safe and fun way.

how to celebrate national pet day

1. Adopt

Perhaps the best way to celebrate National Pet Day is to honor one of its primary goals by adopting a new pet for yourself as long as you have the means to take care of it. Even though about 6.3 million cats and dogs enter shelters on average each year, only 4.1 million of them are adopted throughout the year, meaning there are still plenty of animals throughout the country looking for a home.[4]

2. Get Your Pet Groomed

One way to treat your pets on National Pet Day is to take them to visit a pet groomer. Whether your dog needs a makeover that involves styling its fur and trimming its nails or your cat simply needs someone who knows how to give it a relaxing bath, there are plenty of ways a professional groomer can beautify or otherwise benefit your pets.

3. Take Your Pet Outside

If you haven’t made a regular habit of taking your dog for a walk, National Pet Day may be a great day to start. There are numerous benefits to walking your dogs outside including giving them a chance to use up their energy and helping them stay healthy by providing them with consistent exercise opportunities.

4. Get Insurance for Your Pet

You may want to consider buying pet health insurance since your regular health insurance plan won’t cover veterinarian bills if your pet becomes sick or is injured in an accident. You should note that many pet insurance policies only cover dogs and cats, so you may need specialized coverage for birds, snakes, lizards, frogs and any other kind of exotic pet.[5]

In 2022, the average cost of accident-only pet health insurance coverage throughout the United States was about $16.70 per month for dogs and $10.18 per month for cats. Meanwhile, the average cost of accident and illness coverage was about $53.34 per month for dogs and $32.25 per month for cats.[6]

5. Feed Your Pets Their Favorite Meals

If your pets are used to eating kibble for most of their meals, it may be worth splurging on a higher-quality meal to feed them on National Pet Day. Examples of foods that are generally safe to feed to dogs include the following:[7]


Peanuts and peanut butter
















Wheat and other grains



6. Take Your Pet on a Playdate

Another fun way to get out of the house with your pets is to take them on a playdate. This could include putting on the leash or harness to take your dog to a local dog park or scheduling a time to go to a friend’s house if they have animals that your pet can socialize and play with.

7. Make Treats for Your Pet

In addition, there are various recipes online that can show you how to make homemade treats for your pets. Common ingredients to consider using in your made-from-scratch dog treats include oatmeal, eggs, flour, peanut butter, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, cheese, bacon, chicken and vitamins.[8] However, if you’re planning on making sweet treats, remember not to include chocolate since it is toxic for dogs.[9]

8. Go on a Road Trip

If you’ve got a dog that loves sticking its head out the car window or a cat that likes to lie behind your neck while you drive, then you may want to celebrate the holiday by taking a road trip. Keep in mind that you may need to add pet injury coverage to your car insurance policy to cover vet expenses in case your pet is injured in a car accident, although some insurers automatically include this coverage when you buy collision insurance.[10]

9. Donate

Besides just helping your own pets, you can make a difference for other animals in your area or around the world by donating money to local nonprofit organizations devoted to promoting animal welfare. These can range from charities that help animals get adopted to those that support the preservation of endangered species.

10. Shower Your Pets With Love

Of course, the most straightforward way to spend your National Pet Day is to shower your pets with lots of love and affection. Give them extra cuddles, get on the ground to play with them, let them get up on the furniture and do whatever else will show your pets how special they are to you and your family.


What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance covers medical expenses if your dog or cat gets sick or is injured in an accident. Most policies don’t cover pets other than dogs and cats.[5]

Do I need pet liability insurance if I rent?

Your renters insurance policy should automatically provide pet liability coverage through the personal liability coverage portion of the policy, although your insurance company may exclude coverage for exotic pets and dog breeds that are considered to be especially aggressive.

Does car insurance cover pets?

Car insurance doesn’t automatically cover your pets while they are riding in the car with you. Depending on your insurance carrier, you may need to add collision coverage or pet injury coverage to your policy to cover your pets.[10]


  1. The Holiday Guild. “National Pet Day.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  2. NIH News in Health. “The Power of Pets.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  3. Colleen Paige. “Pet & Home Lifestyle Expert Colleen Paige Projects.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  4. Rainwalk Pet Insurance. “Pet Adoption Statistics 2023.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  5. Experian. “Which Pets Does Pet Insurance Cover?” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  6. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. “Average Premiums - NAPHIA State of the Industry Report.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  7. American Kennel Club. “People Food Dogs Can Eat and Can’t Eat.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  8. American Kennel Club. “Homemade Dog Treats: Recipes, Tips, & Tricks for Delicious DIY Treats.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  9. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Chocolate Toxicity: What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Chocolate?” Accessed March 14, 2024.
  10. Experian. “Does Car Insurance Cover Pets?” Accessed March 14, 2024.

Get a Free Insurance Quote Online Now.