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 > General > National Pet Wellness Month 2023: When & What Is It?

National Pet Wellness Month 2023: When & What Is It?

young woman hugging her jack russel terrier puppy at home

October is the time of year when the leaves change into their gorgeous fall colors, a little nip is in the air, and let’s not forget Halloween. October of each year also happens to be National Pet Wellness Month. What is National Pet Wellness Month, you ask? National Pet Wellness Month was implemented to promote pet health and wellness throughout the year. Let’s explore National Pet Wellness Month more in-depth and discuss ways to celebrate the month.


History of Pet Wellness Month

National Pet Wellness Month began in 2002 at Purdue University. The university launched PetFit, a wellness program designed to improve pet health by offering canine weight management services. The National Research Council of the National Academies sponsors PetFit, an 8-week exercise, behavior, and nutrition counseling program.

girl hugging cat in bed
Image Credit: WiP-Studio, Shutterstock

What Is the Purpose of National Pet Wellness Month?

The purpose is to educate the public on the importance of maintaining yearly vet checkups and understanding the importance of nutrition and activities to keep pets in shape. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), obesity is the leading nutritional issue among dogs and cats, and the 8-week PetFit program allows pet owners to formulate activity and diet plans, receive coaching videos and articles, and gain community support via Facebook groups.

How to Participate in National Pet Wellness Month

National Pet Wellness Month is not designed exclusively for dogs and cats; the month is designated for all pets, whether you have a guinea pig, hamster, horse, exotic bird, or any other animal you have as a pet. There are many ways you can participate in National Pet Wellness Month:

  • Take Your Dog on More Walks: Given that obesity is the leading culprit in poor canine health, taking your dog on more walks is beneficial for both you and your dog’s health. Before you begin a walking regime with your dog, ensure you provide adequate exercise for your particular dog’s breed and age, and always check the pavement before heading out. A rule of thumb is to place the back of your hand against the pavement and hold for 7 seconds; if it’s too hot on your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads.
  • Volunteer and Support Animal Welfare Organizations: Animal welfare organizations are typically non-profit and involve communities coming together for the well-being of all animals. National Pet Wellness Month is the perfect opportunity to volunteer at your local animal shelter or rescue. Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can make a monetary donation or simply spend time with the animals—they love visitors! You can also support your local low-cost spay/neuter facilities and pet vaccination clinics. If you have a local horse rescue, inquire about volunteering or making a donation. Any type of rescue facility will be ecstatic to have any help you can give, and it truly is a rewarding experience to help animals. Animals cannot speak, and it’s up to humans to ensure they are being cared for mentally and physically.
  • Join PetFit: PetFit offers two packages you can purchase. The Basic Package offers diet plans, activity plans, coaching videos and articles, and community support via Facebook groups. If you desire the whole kit and caboodle, the Personalized PetFIt Plan with Dr. Leigh offers a complete diet plan personalized to your pet, a personalized activity plan, two one-on-one consultations with Dr. Leigh, coaching videos and articles, and community support via Facebook groups.  Purdue University conducted a study in 2005 that proved overweight dogs who participated in the PetFit program lost 14% of their body weight in 12 weeks.
  • Schedule a Wellness Appointment With Your Veterinarian: National Pet Wellness Month is the perfect time to take your pet in for a physical examination if you haven’t done so already. Yearly checkups with a licensed veterinarian are vital in ensuring your pet’s health. It’s important to keep up with regular veterinary checkups, regardless of the type of pet you have.
  • Check Your Pet’s Teeth: Dental hygiene is something that often gets overlooked in pet care. Periodontal disease is commonly seen by veterinarians in over 80% of dogs, and roughly two-thirds of dogs over 3 years old develop some form of dental disease. Depending on the type of pet you have, your pet will benefit from having some sort of dental hygiene regime in place. For example, when you bring a new puppy or kitten home, establish a dental routine early so your pet can acclimate to teeth brushing sessions. Your dog or cat will significantly benefit from having his or her teeth brushed three to four times per week to keep tartar at bay, which eventually turns into plaque. Bad breath and teeth loss are common consequences of dental disease; plus, it’s painful for your pet.
  • Inquire About Pet Insurance: Pet insurance can be beneficial if your pet gets hurt or sick. Many pet insurance companies are out there, and they all work similarly. You can generally customize your deductible, annual payouts, and reimbursement rates to fit your budget. Pet insurance can save you from spending thousands on your pet’s care should an issue arise. Tip: Insure your pet while they’re young for cheaper rates.
  • Switch to High-Quality Pet Food: Your pet’s health starts with nutrition, and if you don’t already have your pet on high-quality food, National Pet Wellness Month is a prime time to start. Ensure the pet food is free from artificial flavors, fillers, and preservatives, and if you’re not sure what to feed your particular pet, consult your veterinarian for guidance.
baby hugging the beagle dog tightly inside the bedroom
Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock



Pets are family and deserve a month dedicated to their well-being. National Pet Wellness Month allows the public to become educated regarding the importance of pet care. Take the month to visit your local animal welfare organizations, make monetary donations, volunteer, and spend more time doing activities with your pet.

For exotic animal owners, you can take the month to spend more time with your pet and ensure you’re up-to-date on routine checkups. After all, pets depend on humans for their overall health, and it’s up to us to provide the excellent care they deserve.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: evrymmnt, 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