Dog who took catnip lying on the grass looking relaxed

Our pets keep us company and watch our backs, and together we share a bond that has grown over thousands and thousands of years. Whether your pet barks, purrs, tweets, squeaks, or slithers, celebrate the love and loyalty your pets have shown you on Sunday, April 11, the day officially known as National Pet Day.

Though the term ‘pet’ often conjures up images of dogs and cats, plenty of other animals deserve the National Pet Day spotlight as well, such as rats, horses, pigs, rabbits, reptiles, and snakes. Our love for animals spans wider than the canine and feline world – though history shows humans possibly domesticated wolves to dogs at the end of the Ice Age, while wild cats slowly and methodically domesticated themselves thousands of years ago. Scientists say it’s in our nature to love animals so much.

dog and cat

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Founded in 2006, National Pet Day celebrates pets of all kinds while showcasing the importance of adopting animals from shelters and rescues. The founder, Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate and adopt-don’t-shop supporter, launched National Pet Day because she believes “all animals are sentient beings that deserve our love and compassion…even not-so-cuddly animals like reptiles and rats.”

Colleen Paige with dog

Founder, Colleen Paige

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National Pet Day is not the only pet holiday that is being celebrated during the month of April. World Rat Day was on April 4, and National Farm Animals Day and National Hug Your Dog Day are slated for April 10. The entire month of April is also dedicated as National Canine Fitness Month, and appropriately enough, April 25 is National Pet Parents Day.

Our pets aren’t just our faithful companions, they also save lives and are worthy of being deemed heroes. Through the years, pets of all types – for example, a parrot, pig, rabbit, and horse – have made the news for saving their owners’ lives. Pets, like this parrot or these shelter dogs, are protectors and can help keep a family safe.


Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Just this year in January, a yellow labrador retriever saved her owner’s life after he fell into an icy brook in Maine. In March, a newly rescued German shepherd saved her new owner when the owner collapsed. The owner credits his dog for dragging him to a nearby dresser so he could reach his cellphone to call for help. Dogs may be hard-wired to help us, but canines have been our companions and heroes for tens of thousands of years.

So how do pet parents celebrate National Pet Day?

A poll conducted by National Today showed the top five ways Americans celebrate their pet on National Pet Day. The top choice of past celebrations was showering pets with special treats. Almost half of those surveyed treated their pet to a new toy or special item, or with extra cuddle time in bed.

guinea pigs

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

National Today recommends adhering to all pandemic protocols in your area as you plan and participate in fun activities with your pets on April 11. Some suggestions for celebrating National Pet Day include:

  • Visit an animal shelter or take a virtual tour of a local animal rescue.
  • Volunteer with an animal organization, whether online or in person.
  • Have a family party, take pictures, and share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag your photos with #NationalPetDay, or @nationalpetday on Twitter.
  • Show your support and appreciation with handmade signs or t-shirts.
  • Have a special day with your pet and pamper them endlessly.
  • Feed your pet a special meal or treat. Hint: it’s also Meat On The Table Month in Iowa, to celebrate ranchers. Throw your pet a steak for National Pet Day.

Maybe you don’t have a pet yet, and you’re wondering what all the hoopla is over National Pet Day. Animals have been a part of our life since record-keeping began. Since then, scientists have been interested in studying the ins and outs of pet ownership and the human-animal bond. Results of numerous studies have shown the positive physical and mental health benefits of pet companionship.


Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

From all of us at Pango Pets, we wish you and yours a Happy National Pet Day. And in the words of animal lovers who paved the path before us:

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~Charles Schulz

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~Anatole France

“Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~George Eliot

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” ~Immanuel Kant

Featured Photo Courtesy: Pixabay