National Dog Day is Aug. 26, and there is no better time to celebrate the amazing pet or pets in your life. Well, except every day, that is! But regardless of your daily doting, National Dog Day is the perfect date to spoil your pup just a little more than normal. So, we spoke with several experts to get their advice on how to pamper your pooch on this special day.
From a professional dog walker who introduced us to the fun concept of “wilding” to a certified pet nutritionist who has a delicious DIY dog treat recipe to share, Chewy has your National Dog Day celebration plans covered!
1. Treat Your Pup to Some Outdoor Fun
Take your daily dog walks to the next level. Stephen Hopper, founder of Companion Pet Services, Inc., an in-home pet care company in Dallas, Texas, suggests taking your dog somewhere where leashes aren’t required, so they can roam free and enjoy the sights, sounds and, of course, smells.
Try to find a dog-friendly hiking trail in your area and then let your pup spend time exploring to their heart’s content. (Be sure to supervise them closely!) Hopper refers to this as “wilding.”
Of course, we always recommend making sure your pet is well-behaved off leash before venturing out and only unclipping somewhere that dogs are specifically allowed to run free. Here are some helpful off-leash training tips for hiking with your dog.
If off-leash “wilding” isn’t your dog’s thing, take them on a “sniff walk”—meaning, while on-leash, you both go where their nose leads (while staying safe, of course). “Dogs experience the world by smell, and they need to take their time to process what they are smelling,” explains Liz Bales, VMD. “This doesn't work with our schedule when we are out for a run or trying to get a walk in before [work] in the morning. Celebrate your dog by letting their nose pick the route and the schedule.”
2. Help Your Pup Look—and Feel—Their Best
Did you know dogs perk up after they’ve been groomed? Daryl Conner, Master Pet Stylist and owner/operator of FairWinds Grooming Studio in Appleton, Maine, says there’s nothing like a good shampoo and brushing to get a dog looking and feeling their best.
“Dogs absolutely understand when they are looking good,” Conner says. “When their owners tell them how nice they look, smell and feel, the dogs really start to strut!”
Even if you don’t believe that your pooch can understand when they’re being complimented, it’s hard to imagine that knotted or matted fur is anything but uncomfortable, so treat your dog to a pampering grooming sesh. If you opt for an at-home grooming session, check out these essential supplies for grooming your dog at home.
If your dog doesn’t love getting squeaky clean, though, don’t force them into the tub on their special day. Bath time can wait a day in lieu of more a relaxing spa-like treatment—like a massage!
3. Show Off Your Dog with Cute Pet Pics
Show the world just how much you adore your best fur friend by snapping a photo of them for social media. (Be sure to pay your doggy model in treats to make the photoshoot fun for them!)
“Always take a long walk with your pup before a photoshoot. That way, they’re tired which makes them more likely to sit still. Plus, it increases the chances for a great Tongue-Out Tuesday capture!” Summer says.
It also helps to let your dog get out all their curiosity, especially if they’re in a new place or outside. Pup parent Ana Elvir always lets her dog, Teddy, roam around before they start taking any pictures for their 13,000+ Instagram followers. That way, Teddy is calm and ready to work it for the camera.
When it’s time to snap the photos, use treats. This is how Amy and Dan Nykolayko get their Insta-famous French Bulldog Cherie, AKA Cherie the Surf Dog, to sit pretty and focus on the camera. And, just like with pictures of humans, take a lot! You never know when your pup will blink.
4. Play a New, Fun Game
“Playing with your dog is a great way to celebrate National Dog Day because it checks a few important boxes,” explains Victoria Schade, CPDT-KA, certified dog trainer, author and behavior. “It strengthens your bond with your dog, provides exercise—both physical and mental—and it's a blast for both ends of the leash!”
One of the most popular games in Schade’s house is to play with a toy on a string. While it sounds like a cat toy, she says dogs can’t resist it either. You can make your own by tying a small dog toy on the end of a long piece of yarn. If you’d prefer to purchase a ready-made one, try the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole.
Once you have your string and toy ready, place it on the ground and slowly move it past your dog by pulling the string. If your pup is reluctant to chase it, let them have the pleasure of catching it first. Once they drop or release the toy, start the chase again!
For more ideas, check out these fun games to play with your dog and turn National Dog Day into an all-out pup play date.
5. Whip Up a (Pet Nutritionist-Approved!) Frozen Dog Treat
Just like their humans, dogs love to have a new, extra-yummy treat once in a while. Johnna Devereaux, certified pet nutritionist and director of Bow Wow Labs Nutrition & Wellness, shared a healthy treat to celebrate National Dog Day that features natural, minimally processed ingredient. It’s sure to have your pup begging for more.
“Packed with probiotics, vitamins and antioxidants, this frozen treat is one your dogs will love to eat, and you’ll love giving, knowing how good it is for them!” Devereaux says.
- 4 cups organic unflavored, unsweetened and low-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 cups organic cucumber
- 1/2 cup organic blueberries or strawberries
- A blender or food processor
- An ice cube tray
Here's What to Do:
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly into an ice cube tray or small freezer-safe bowls and freeze. (This recipe makes 8-10 servings at approximately 1/2–3/4 cup each.)
However you spend National Dog Day, take the opportunity to shower your furry friend with an extra-large helping of love—and some extra belly rubs wouldn’t hurt either!