5 Dogtastic Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day
Balls! Belly rubs! Peanut butter! There are a million things out there that dogs go nuts for. But what’s more important to them than anything else in the world? A loving home.
Celebrated every year on August 26th, National Dog Day was created back in 2004 to honor all types of dogs and bring attention to the number of pups worldwide that are still in need of homes of their own. According to ASPCA, about 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters every year in the United States alone. The good news? That’s 3.1 million doggos who are waiting to become adventure buddies, emotional support companions, agility champions, or loving, lazy sunbathers.
Here at KEEN, we love that National Dog Day helps highlight the importance of dog adoption. (After all, many dogs of KEEN happen to be rescues.) We also love that it serves as a reminder to celebrate all the amazing canine comrades already in our lives. It’s a day to give them a tasty treat, a new adventure, and some extra good scratches. Mark your calendars and check out some of our favorite ways to celebrate, KEEN style.
1. GET OUT FOR A HIKE
Nothing beats a trot through the trees with your favorite pup by your side. You’ll love the views . . . they’ll love the sweet smell of trail scat. Hiking is a great activity for dogs of all types, but it does take some preparation. You’ll want to find a dog-friendly trail that’s the right distance for your four-legged friend. For dogs that are new to hiking, pick a shorter hike to avoid overexertion or injury. Also, be sure to bring along a bag of hiking-dog essentials, such as water, a leash, poo bags, and a first aid kit.
Never been hiking with your dog, but ready to give it a try? Read through our complete guide before you head for the trails.
2. GIVE AGILITY A GO
When most people think of dog agility, they think of bright-eyed border collies zooming through tunnels and weaving through poles. But agility classes can be fun and rewarding for all types of dog breeds, from terriers to retrievers to corgis. To get started, dogs just need a mastery of basic commands (such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come”) and a willingness to learn. Agility classes help dogs get their energy out in a positive way and boost their confidence too! Plus, the classes are an amazing opportunity for you and your dog to build trust and strengthen bonds. Visit the American Kennel Club’s agility guide to see if agility is right for your pup and to find classes near you.
3. GO CAMPING
Celebrate National Dog Day all weekend long with an overnight camping trip. Plenty of dirt to roll around in, hot dogs roasting on the grill, and new friends around every bend in the trail are just a few reasons why doggos love to camp. Before you hit the road, be sure to check that dogs are allowed where you’re planning to camp. Many state parks allow pets to join for overnight stays. Oregon State Parks even has a 'Pawsitive' info page on their website that outlines which campgrounds are best for dogs. No state parks near you? Check out a camping app like The Dyrt (free for Android and iOS) and use the handy filters to search for pet-friendly campgrounds in your area.
Totally new to canine camping and not sure what to pack, where they’ll sleep, or what to feed them out there in the woods? Yeah, we’ve been there. To make the trip a success, be sure to pack an extra-long leash so your dog is free to roam (without disrupting other campers), and read through the rest of our tips on how to go camping with your dog.
KEEN tip: If your dog loves camping but tends to be skittish or fearful of other people or dogs, consider dispersed camping with your pup. It’s a great way to enjoy some time outdoors, but limits direct contact with others.
4. SEEK OUT THE WATER
Got yourself a water dog? Or maybe a pup who you hope will become a water dog? Grab a towel (one for you too) and head for the water! For dogs new to swimming, find a spot with shallow, slow-moving water, such as a lake or ocean beach. Plan to spend at least one day just playing, splashing, and allowing your pup to get familiar and comfortable with the water. For more advanced swimmers, consider a canoe or SUPing adventure to give your doggo a whole new view of the water. Just be sure to pick up a properly fitting life vest for your dog before you go. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll even be able to take your pups on an overnight kayaking trip like KEEN fan Hana Kim did.
KEEN tip: Is it your pet's first time on a board or boat? Introduce them to your watercraft ahead of time by putting the kayak or board in plain sight in the house so they have time to become familiar with it. Then, take it outside in the yard and have them practice getting in and out, so they’re experts when it comes to launch day.
5. VOLUNTEER AT A SHELTER
Even if you don’t yet have dogs of your own, you can still get your dog fix this National Dog Day. Volunteering at a shelter or rescue is a fantastic way to support organizations you value, spend time with pups in need, and maybe even meet a potential companion to bring home for good. From dog walking to administrative duties to fostering, there are plenty of ways to volunteer. If you don’t have a lot of extra time on your hands, but still want to support dog adoption, consider making a donation to a rescue partner in your area.
All dogs deserve the good life, one full of outdoor adventures, a happy home, and lots and lots of love. No matter how you decide to celebrate National Dog Day this year, you’re bound to receive one of the greatest gifts in return — a grateful lick and a big ol’ dog smile.