September isn’t just the final few weeks of summer; it’s also host to a variety of pet-related holidays that welcome in the cooler seasons. One of the best celebrations is National Dog Week, which is held during the fourth week of September 1. This year, it starts on the 24th and ends on the 30th.
Besides spreading the word about canines that are less well off, National Dog Week helps inspire dog owners to spend more time with their dogs. It’s the perfect excuse to spoil your dog as a reward for all the companionship and loyalty that they show you. Learning about the history of this week is a great way to start preparing to celebrate, along with knowing the best activities to do together.
What Is National Dog Week?
Not to be confused with National Pet Week, which is held in May (though it’s fun to celebrate both!), National Dog Week is held during the fourth week of September every year. This year, it falls between the 24th and the 30th.
The week was first introduced by Captain William Judy in 1928 2. A true dog lover, he was the author of “The Dog Encyclopedia” and “The Care of the Dog” under the pseudonym, “Weimer Port.” He was also the publisher of “Dog World Magazine” and founded the Dog Writers Association of America in 1935.
His goal with National Dog Week was to improve the lives of dogs and show his gratitude for their unwavering loyalty and dedication. He wanted to help educate his fellow dog owners about how to take care of dogs, help dogs in shelters find forever homes, and even ensure that they lived in better conditions.
Today, National Dog Week is a great opportunity to spare time for dogs of all breeds and ages, whether they’ve found a forever home or are in a shelter.
How to Celebrate National Dog Week
The best part about National Dog Week is that it gives you a whole 7 days to devote to your dog. Unlike one-off, day-long celebrations that you can’t fit everything into, you can plan all sorts of activities for the week.
1. Bake Dog Treats
Buying treats is easy, but if you want to do something special, bake homemade dog treats. Browse through dog-friendly recipes online, or ask your veterinarian for tips.
Find your dog’s favorite flavors, grab a mixing bowl, gather the ingredients, preheat the oven, and get to work! Once the treats are cool, let your dog give their seal of approval, and treat them throughout the week.
2. Watch a Dog-Friendly Movie
Curling up with your dog to watch a movie at the end of the day may already be part of your routine. But instead of watching your usual favorites or old reruns, try something new, like a show with a canine character. You can get your kids involved too and find new animated movies about dogs.
3. Plan a Doggy Day Trip
Everybody tends to like a routine. We walk the same route around the park, visit the dog park at the same times, and even visit the same pet-friendly stores. While familiarity can be a good thing, it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and let your dog sniff new pastures.
If you have a few days off, dedicate one to your dog. Instead of sticking close to home, check out local walking trails that welcome dogs or try a new dog park. Pack a picnic lunch, put on good shoes, and spend the day hiking. If you’re too short on time for a day trip, find a shorter walk nearby, or try walking a different route in the evening. You can also give your dog an extra walk during the day or more time at the park.
4. Get New Accessories, Toys, or Treats
With all the chewing, adventures, and training, dogs go through supplies quickly. You might already have plenty of treats and toys on hand, but National Dog Week is a great chance to try something new. Find a different brand of treats or experiment with a new toy to see how your dog reacts.
Don’t limit yourself to toys or treats either. If you’ve been eyeing a new collar, leash set, or ID tags, stretch your budget to spoil yourself and your dog.
5. Have a Spa Day
Grooming sessions are ideal for bonding with your dog, but you may not always have time to dedicate to a full spa treatment. Set a day aside on the weekend, or take a day off to break out the doggy shampoo and your favorite brush. Clip their nails, do their teeth, and make sure those ears are clean too.
It’s the perfect excuse for you to join in with your own beauty routine and have a doggy date in the evening.
6. Donate or Adopt
Shelters are always in need of extra funds or a helping hand. Donate spare change, or take the time to volunteer and help out with the dogs at the facility. National Dog Week is also a great time to consider adopting a dog of your own—if you’re sure you can afford to take care of them. While you’re volunteering, you might find a dog that you can’t go home without!
You can celebrate even if you don’t have funds to spare for a few treats or the time for a day trip. Celebrating can be as simple as cuddling with your dog or honoring Captain Judy’s original idea for the event. Help a friend learn more about their dog’s breed, or research your own dog’s care needs.
There are all sorts of ways to learn new tips. Hosting a puppy party allows you to socialize and share care tips and knowledge with other dog owners. Even if you’re a new dog owner, take a puppy class, or ask someone to share stories of their dog and take the chance to learn from their experiences.
This year, National Dog Week is Sept 24–30. It’s a week-long celebration of everything that dogs do for us and was first started by Captain Judy in 1928. As tradition dictates, it’s the perfect time to spread the word about dogs and how to care for them and to share love for dogs without forever homes.
You can celebrate with or without a dog. Use the week to bake treats, host a puppy party, or learn more about your local shelter and meet new dogs to adopt.
Featured Image Credit: Zelma Brezinska, Shutterstock