Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > National Hug Your Dog Day 2024: When It Is & How to Celebrate

National Hug Your Dog Day 2024: When It Is & How to Celebrate

woman hugging her dog on the beach

National Hug Your Dog Day comes around each year on April 10th. It’s a day to celebrate the beauty dogs bring into the world by showing our four-footed companions a bit of love!

Celebrating National Hug Your Dog Day is about giving your dog an extra special day full of fun and tasty things to snack on, but what that means for any dog varies! If you don’t have a canine companion at home to spoil, you can always donate to or volunteer at an animal welfare organization. Here are some other ways to celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day.

divider-paw

Do Dogs Like Being Hugged?

Like people, dogs either love or dislike being hugged. It all depends on your pooch! Some dogs may not like an embrace as it can feel confining. However, some dogs absolutely love cuddles.

The best thing to do on this day (or any day you are tempted to hug your pooch) is to remember these tips:

  • Only hug dogs you know well: As mentioned before, some dogs love physical attention and would enjoy a gentle hug from their human companion.
  • Approach your dog from the front for a hug: While some people appreciate a hug from behind, it might startle a dog if they are given a surprise hug.
  • Avoid “bear hugs”: Most people are larger than their pet dog. Giving them a strong hug might cause the dog discomfort or pain. If your dog is receptive to physical contact, give them a gentle hug as you would a small child or toddler.
blonde girl hugs her beloved doberman dog in the park
Image Credit: MaKo-studio, Shutterstock

How to Celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day

Celebrating National Hug Your Dog Day is about giving your dog an extra special day full of fun and tasty things to snack on, but what that means for any dog varies! If you don’t have a canine companion at home to spoil, you can always donate to or volunteer at an animal welfare organization. Here are some other ways to celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day.

Tasty Treats

Commercial products are easy to find and come in various flavors, so you can pick a selection your dog loves. It’s also possible to bake delicious homemade goodies for your pet. Snacks featuring peanut butter, pumpkin, and chicken are healthy choices many dogs love. You can even use fun molds to create dog biscuits shaped like bones and paw prints. However, it’s best only to use vet-approved recipes to prevent stomach issues.

bernese mountain dog getting a treat
Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

Peanut Butter

Use plain peanut butter without added sugar or salt if you decide to use it to make homemade treats for your dog. Double-check to ensure any peanut butter products you include in your buddy’s treats don’t contain xylitol since it’s toxic to dogs. Alternatively, you can always use canine-friendly peanut butter from a specialty pet store.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetable snacks are also popular among the canine set and make fantastic treats as they’re yummy, full of nutrients, low in calories, and packed with flavor! Many dogs love to snack on cucumbers, bananas, and blueberries. Cooked sweet potatoes and pumpkin also make great choices.

Cooked Meat

To give your buddy something that truly tickles their taste buds, consider giving them a bit of cooked beef, chicken, or fish. Just cook whatever you give your dog well and remove all the bones before letting your dog dig in! Keep things simple, and don’t add salt, butter, onions, garlic, or other ingredients that aren’t great for or are toxic to dogs.

Bowl of grilled beef slices
Image Credit: bigacis, Shutterstock

Enjoyable Activities

Enjoyable activities run the gamut from long, enjoyable scent walks to spa days. It’s all about what makes your buddy happy. Dogs have millions of nasal scent receptors, and the part of the brain dedicated to interpreting smell is 40% larger than in humans! Most dogs love to stop and sniff while out on walks. Why not consider giving your dog a long scent walk so they can explore the world at leisure using their favorite sense?

Active dogs may enjoy a long hike, a trip to the beach, or a dip in a local lake. A few extra minutes of frisbee or flyball may be just the thing for some dogs. And there’s nothing wrong with getting your buddy to show off a few agility drills you know they’ll nail to give them confidence.

Dogs that love to be social with other canines may prefer an extra half-hour at the dog park, or you can organize a playdate with your pet’s best canine buddy. Older dogs and those that aren’t feeling well may enjoy a new comfortable heated bed along with a cozy blanket to snuggle up in.

Good Deeds

To spread the love, consider donating to an animal welfare organization with a mission that resonates with your values. Local shelters help dogs in need, and many rely heavily on donations to pay for operating costs, including food and medical care. National organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) use donations to support many of their efforts, including animal welfare legislative projects.

Charity Navigator and GuideStar are great places to find more information about the financial health and governance of any non-profit organization you may be considering donating to.

Volunteering

Volunteering is another fantastic option, particularly if you want more hands-on involvement. Many organizations have short one-time opportunities available for those who have little time on their hands. But it’s generally possible to find volunteer opportunities that fit your available time and schedule. Volunteers do all sorts of work within animal welfare organizations, from caring for animals to administrative work. Other options include transporting pets to areas where they’re more likely to be adopted.

woman adopting a dog from shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Fostering

Fostering permits shelters to help more dogs when space runs low. It’s also essential when it comes to socializing puppies and giving dogs with special needs comfortable, safe spaces for healing, recovering, and preparing to go to their forever homes. Shelters cover most related costs, including dog food, essential supplies, toys, and medical care. Most organizations are happy to work with volunteer preferences—just let the coordinator know if you’re uncomfortable with large dogs or giving pets pills!

divider-dog

Conclusion

April 10th is National Hug Your Dog Day. It’s a day to honor the dogs in your life by giving them extra love and attention! There are several ways to make the day extra special for your pet, from treating them to an extra long scent walk to making a few healthy homemade treats for them to snack on. To spread the joy, consider donating to or volunteering with an animal welfare organization that resonates with your values. However, the most important thing you can do on April 10th is to give your dog lots of love!

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Shift Drive, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets