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National Dog Day – 15 Activities To Cherish Canines

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National Dog Day is being celebrated on August 26 each year and dog owners and pet lovers from around the world want to plan a special day with their furry friends.

On this day, dogs from every size and breed are honored as our beloved companion, service dogs, and law enforcement partner.

National Dog Day was founded by Colleen Page and happens to be on the same date as the Women’s Equality Day.

Shelters are open and adoption is encouraged to give every dog the chance to be loved for a lifetime (with the right preparation, of course).

Below I have compiled a comprehensive list of the 15 most rememberable experiences that you can share with your dog on National Dog Day or any other day.

Going on new adventures and sharing new experiences is the perfect way to form a strong bond with your dog.

1. Adopt a Dog

The number one reason for celebrating this special day is raising the awareness of the million dogs that are living in shelters.

If you have played with the thought of adopting a dog, now is the right time to do it.

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the happy smile and feeling the love of a rescue dog.

We often think adopting one dog will not change much, but it will if enough people do it.

If you are not sure about adopting a dog yet, gather more information about how to take care of them and how to train canines and you might be ready soon.

2. Visit a Dog Café

Dog-friendly cafés are located around the world. If you have one nearby, spend some hours there and connect with other dog owners.

Dog cafés are such a laid back community place but take your dog’s behavior and temperament into consideration.

These cafés can be quite stressful for a dog and should be avoided if he reacts anxiously in crowded places.

If you want to give it a try, choose a time where only a few people visit the café and sit at a corner table.

Bring his favorite toys and treats with you and provide him with a water bowl.

You can get up and leave the café anytime. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and see if he is laying on the ground relaxed or in an alert position.

Leave if your dog gets overwhelmed or too tired from the people and other dogs. Make sure to always reward desired behavior.

3. Work Out Together

Yes, doggy gyms are a thing and after you get done with your workout, consider spending the day at a canine sports club.

They usually include agility activities and fun obstacles to get your dog’s energy out.

Their services include agility classes, day boarding, obedience training, self-grooming, and wellness programs.

4. Take a Walk with Shelter Dogs

Volunteer your time and spend a day with your dog, walking other dogs at your local shelter.

Dogs love walks and they get very excited when they have the opportunity to leave the shelter for a few hours.

Walking releases endorphins and reduces anxiety and stress. While you make your daily strolls with your dog, take a shelter dog with you.

They are so thankful to get some activity and maybe he or she will evolve into a long term walking buddy.

5. Canine Summer Cruises

We want to take our dogs with us everywhere, so why not take them on a boat adventure?

Canine cruises offer buffets for dogs and their owners while being surrounded by beautiful waters.

The twohour ride is filled with social treats and bottomless drinks.

Some cruises host an annual Summer Dog trip where the passengers are taken to an island with dog-friendly beaches and hiking trails.

6. Spend Time at a Dog-Friendly Resort

The tourism industry slowly jumps on the pet train and more and more resorts and hotels try their best to provide you and your dog with a fabulous stay.

Dogs are welcomed with handmade treats from the hotel’s own pastry team and are provided with guest rooms specifically tailored to dogs.

They offer a variety of high-end dishes and drinks for dogs. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

Pets are usually welcomed with baskets and treats and can stay at no extra charge and there is no limit on the number or size of pets.

7. Make a Professional Photoshoot

I always wanted to get some professional photos of my beautiful dog and it may be time to do it this year.

Pet photographers can be found all over the world to capture your lovely dog in the best light possible.

I believe that this is also one of the greatest presents to gift pet owners for National Dog Day.

Everyone wants to have a stunning picture of their pet which they can also frame and hang over the fireplace (or anywhere, for that matter).

8. Go Hiking Together

We do this all the time and it’s my favorite thing to share new adventures with my dog.

Hiking on its own is so calming and relieving but paired with a full-on happy dog is the greatest thing.

If your dog loves to go on walks, choose a dog-friendly trail near you and pack up all hiking essentials.

The hiking gear for my dog consists of a hands-free hiking leash and a front clip harness. We also take with us some foldable bowls and her favorite treats.

If you are walking through high grass or a forest, make sure to take some coconut oil with you and rub it on your dogs coat to prevent ticks and fleas.

9. Try Out Dog Surfing

Yes, it sounds crazy but dogs can be trained to surf on boards just like humans. I learned surfing on my trip to Bali and when I first heard from dog surfing, I couldn’t believe it.

If your dog seems to be an incredible good surfer, you can also take part in dog surfing competitions.

The Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition at Imperial Beach in California is the largest surfing competition for dogs in the USA.

It is not only a spectacular event to catch the best waves but it’s also a fundraiser for the San Diego Humane Society and other charity organizations.

10. Relax on a Spa Day

Dog spas are a popular thing in the United States with different price ranges. But you don’t have to even leave the house to make your dog a spa day.

You can do everything at home and really enjoy the day with your dog.

There are plenty of dog spa day ideas on the internet. You can pamper your dog with a warm bath followed by a well-deserved and long massage.

You can groom his coat and serve his favorite foods alongside with many snuggles. If you want to get really fancy, try out a headscratcher on your dog, he will probably have a hilarious reaction.

11. Visit a Rescue Center

Rescue centers provide an amazing service for orphaned animals and they are always grateful for any help.

If you have some time and space in your home, consider fostering a rescue dog for a few weeks.

Other volunteer work may include animal care, general maintenance, fundraising, and gardening.

12. Bake some Homemade Dog Treats

My dog goes crazy when she smells all the yummy homemade treats in the oven. Her favorite dog treats only require three ingredients:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2 bananas
  • Cinnamon

Just mash up the bananas in a bowl and add the oats and cinnamon. You can also add almond butter if you like.

Line up some baking paper on a tray and coat it with coconut oil. Roll little dough pieces between your fingers and press them down with a fork to form some cookies.

Preheat the oven at about 180°C (350°F) and bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes.

They are not only yummy for dogs but I also really love them. There are plenty of yummy recipes on the internet and while you are at it, you can also make your dog a home-made smoothie.

13. Teach Your Dog a New Trick

Dogs love to learn new things whether they are 4 months or 8 years old. Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise.

There are so many tricks that you can teach your dog which you probably have never heard about.

For some more basic tricks, you can check out these posts:

14. Throw a Party!

Why not celebrate National Dog Day with a big party and invite all your friends with their dogs?

Parties are so much fun and you could theme everything for National Dog Day, including dog cakes, treats, drinks, and decoration.

When planning a party, make sure that it will be safe for your dog:

  • Provide your dog with a quiet room where he can escape when getting overwhelmed. A dog should have a comfortable kennel.
  • Do not let any dog get fed from guests otherwise unless you’re okay with the begging (trust me, you aren’t).
  • Only place decorations and other objects out of your pet’s reach.
  • Prevent any access to human food (anything with sugar, cacao, fat, and seasoning) and make sure that enough water is always provided.
  • If there are gifts involved, quickly put away all wrapping papers and tape.
  • Children should be always supervised when being around dogs and they shouldn’t annoy them.

15. Make a Donation

National Dog Day is all about giving back to our and other dogs around the world.

What we like to do is visit our local dog shelters and donate any dog leashes, food, and toys that have been sent to us by companies and lovely dog owners for charity.

If you do not have anything to donate, volunteer your time and help the wonderful staff and make some orphaned dogs happy.

You can clean some cages and play with the dogs to make their day something special.

Let me know what plans you have for celebrating National Dog Day in the comments below.

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About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.