When Is National Love Your Pet Day, and What Is It?

No matter what type of pet you own — cat, dog, ferret, or another animal — they have a place in your heart. It’s only right to spoil them once in a while! National Love Your Pet Day is one of the ways that we can show our furry, scaled, or feathered friends that we care about them. Celebrated on February 20th every year, it’s the perfect excuse to spend extra time with our pets.

If you’ve never heard of National Love Your Pet Day, this guide will introduce you to the holiday. It’ll also give you a few ideas for how to spoil your pet on this special day.


History of National Love Your Pet Day

Dogs might be the most popular pet in the U.S.A., with 38.4% of households having a canine family member, but cats, birds, horses, fish, and exotic pets are also common throughout the United States.

No matter what pet you own, you can be certain that there are plenty of other pet owners out there who adore animals just as much as you do. National Love Your Pet Day was created as a way to honor them. It’s a day for pet owners to put aside their other responsibilities and spend time showering their pets with all the adoration that they deserve. It’s also a great way to show your appreciation for other pets around the world, not just your own.

How Can You Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day?

Budgerigar eating_Christine Bird_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

If you’ve never celebrated National Love Your Pet Day before, figuring out how to show your pet that you care can be a daunting prospect. But spending the day with them is often more than enough for many pets, especially since our pets are there for us when we need them the most.

Here are a few other ways that you can celebrate with your pet.

Favorite Treats

One of the fastest ways to show that we care is by feeding our pets their favorite treats, especially if they don’t get to eat them often. If it’s been a while since you’ve been able to treat your pet to a bag of new treats, save up and let them enjoy a few tasty morsels to celebrate.

For cats and dogs, you could even boil plain, boneless chicken to give them an extra special treat for the day.

New Toys

Treats are one way to show that you care, but if your pet needs to lose weight or you don’t want to overfeed them, you can treat them to a new toy instead. Playing with toys is also the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together.

Play Date

If your pet enjoys meeting new friends or they haven’t seen their best buddy in a while, National Love Your Pet Day is a great opportunity to have a pet play date. Organize a get-together with your friends and their pets at home or out at the local park, or volunteer to look after your neighbor’s pets while they’re out. Your pet will love the chance to spend time with their bestie.

woman strokes and massages domestic dog’s belly on couch
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

Spa Treatment

A dedicated grooming routine should be a regular responsibility, but it can be easy to lose track of time during a busy week. Or, perhaps you haven’t been able to sit down for more than a quick brush or nail clipping session.

National Love Your Pet Day is the perfect opportunity to set time aside to pay attention to your pet’s grooming requirements. Spend bonding time with your pet by thoroughly brushing their fur to get rid of tangles and loose hair and clipping their claws.

Dog Park

Finding time to visit a dog park with your dog for longer than a few minutes can be a challenge. Use the holiday to spend longer at your local dog-friendly park. You can bring a picnic lunch for both you and your pooch, their favorite frisbee or tug toy, and a few extra treats. It’s a great opportunity for your dog to make new friends too.


Can You Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day Without a Pet?

There are many reasons that animal lovers might not be able to keep a pet themselves. You or a family member might be allergic, your lease doesn’t allow pets of any kind, or maybe you just don’t have the space or time.

Not having a pet doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate National Love Your Pet Day, though. Here are a few ways that you can still acknowledge the holiday.

woman smiling by cage adoption
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Adopt a Pet

If your living situation allows it and you’ve properly considered the responsibility, National Love Your Pet Day is a good chance to adopt a pet of your own. Remember that a pet is a commitment for more than just a day, though, and adopting one — no matter what type of animal they are — is an ongoing responsibility.

Ask a Friend

While you might not have a pet yourself, you might know a friend or co-worker who does have one or more. If they celebrate National Love Your Pet Day, ask if you can spend the day with them and their pet, so you can celebrate together.

You don’t have to encroach on their plans, though. Instead, ask about their pet’s favorite treats, toys, or food. This way, you can help them out and spoil their pet by giving them a new bag of kibble or a new bed.

two women at an animal shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

Rescues and shelters always appreciate extra help with covering expenses, even if you can’t adopt a pet yourself. If you don’t have a pet that you can spoil, show love to pets that don’t have a home by donating money, food, or even toys to your local shelter.

Pet Sit

If you know a friend or family member with a pet has plans, you can volunteer to watch their pet for the day. This will give them a chance to get out of the house without worrying about their pets, and you get to spend the day with a pet.



National Love Your Pet Day is celebrated every year on February 20th. It’s the perfect opportunity to spoil your favorite feathered, scaled, or furry friend with their favorite treats or a new toy. Animal lovers who don’t have pets can take part too. Donate to your local pet charities or rescue, or volunteer to watch your friend’s pet for the day. Or, perhaps take a walk to the dog park and say “hi” to a few friendly pooches if their owners are okay with it.

Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

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