Cats, dogs, birds, and even tigers, our furry friends are celebrated on National Pet Day on April 11.
We are very aware that if you are a pet owner, there is not a day going by and you do not celebrate your pet’s companion. Over the past 10 years, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been a partner in research to determine the physical and mental benefits of having a pet. It turns out that not only can pets steal our hearts, but they also contribute to overall cardiovascular health by lowering cortisol, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.
Colleen Paige, animal welfare advocate and pet and family lifestyle expert, founded National Pet Day in 2006 to celebrate the joy pets can bring to us. But she also wanted to bring attention to the ongoing needs of many pets of all kinds waiting in shelters to be adopted. She encouraged people who want purebred dogs and cats to contact rescue organizations instead of going to a breeder. “Don’t shop! Adopt!” has become the holiday motto.
In 1973, the Humane Society of the United States estimated that 13 million cats and dogs enter shelters every year. Some were strays, some were surrendered by owners who could no longer care for them, some were seized in legal actions. Today, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide. And 1.6 million cats and 1.6 million dogs find their furever homes.
Colleen’s holiday got its start in the U.S., but it soon expanded internationally. Pet lovers now mark the day in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Spain, Guam, Scotland, and many more nations.
Celebrities have also taken up the cause. National Pet Day has been promoted by Taylor Swift, Ellen De Generes, Ricky Gervais, Cee Lo Green, Jimmy Fallon, Willy Nelson, Kevin Bacon, Seth Myers, and Carrie Underwood, among others.
National Pet Day is an excellent time to do a few checks for your pets.
- Go through your furever family member’s toys. Throw away any items that are no longer safe.
- Maintain your pet-friendly home. Keep cords and toxins secure from your four-legged friends. This includes phone chargers.
- Verify when vaccinations are due and schedule an appointment to update if they are due.
- Check collars to ensure tags are secure and numbers are current. We sometimes forget to update this information when we move or change numbers.
Happy National Pet Day to all furry friends out there, we wish you snuggles, love, kisses and tones of treats!