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6 Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day

History, Activities, + Fun Dog Facts

Every fur baby pet is precious to its owner, but ever since National Dog Day was founded in 2004, August 26th is all about dogs! Why August 26th? That is the day pet and lifestyle advocate, Colleen Paige adopted her first dog when she was ten years old. But really, August is the perfect month for our canine companions. August first is the universally recognized birthday of shelter dogs since their actual birthdays are usually unknown. The hottest days of summer are even referred to as “dog days” after the “dog star,” Sirius, makes its appearance in the night sky. Being the first domesticated animal, dogs have been at our side for around 15,000 years. Check out the beautiful history of four legged friends as well as some ways to celebrate with them! 

History of Canis Familiars 

Dogs are descended from an ancient, extinct species of wolf and the modern Grey Wolf is their closest relative. The relationship between dog and man is even older than development of agriculture! In addition to being adorable, dogs have helped us with hunting, herding, hauling loads, protection, assisting police and the military, therapy, and aiding disabled people. In 1914, the discovered remains of the “Bon-Oberkassel dog” eventually led researchers to conclude that dogs have been domesticated for at least 14,223 years. That the noticeably young dog was buried with two humans suggests that an emotional bond, rather than simply a utilitarian bond, existed between the pup and its masters. It seems odd then that it was not until 1953 that the psychologist, Boris M. Levinson, accidentally discovered the therapeutic effects of this bond when he noticed how a withdrawn child began talking to his dog, Jingles. It is no wonder then why 40% of American households have at least one pet dog. Unfortunately, less than 1/5th of the dogs owned come from shelters. There are about 700 to 987 million pet dogs and about five times as many feral dogs in the world today.  There are about 450 different dog breeds and about 25% of shelter dogs are pure breeds. Here is a list of the top ten most popular breeds. 

1. Labrador Retrievers

2. German Shepherds

3. Golden Retrievers

4. French Bulldogs

5. Bulldogs

6. Poodles

7. Beagles

8. Rottweilers

9. German Shorthaired Pointers

10. Pembroke Welsh Corgis

It is heartbreaking to know that every year millions of dogs are euthanized due to overcrowding in shelters. That is why it is important to have your fur baby spayed or neutered if you do not plan to have future puppies.  

Safety First

Before we get into the fun stuff, it is important to keep in mind that the health of your pet is crucial to its happiness. The average $75 to $100 you will spend on the core vaccines your puppy needs is a small price to pay for years of loyalty. Another great reason to get your pup from a shelter is that shelters usually charge less for shots, that is, if the rescued pup does not already have them. These inoculations protect against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, parainfluenza, and rabies. You will also want to regularly treat them for heartworms, fleas, and ticks. Because dogs are excellent escape artists (one in three pet dogs end up lost at some point), consider getting them chipped so they can be identified if they are found too far from home. Sadly, only 15% to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners. Ok, now that is out of the way, let us prepare for puppy play time! 

Fun Ways to Play with your Pup!

1. Dog Park

Dogs love socializing with each other at the local dog parks. With 569 off-leash dog parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities, you are bound to find one nearby.

2. Dog Cafés

3. Dog Grooming

Why not pamper your pup at your neighborhood dog groomer? The luxurious treatments offered at Dog's Day Out are enough to make us two leggers jealous. 

4. Training

Help your dog be the best pup possible by enrolling him or her in a training program. Here  are ten tricks to teach your pup and impress your friends with. If you want something a bit more serious, check out the elite Schutzhund training option. 

5. Treats

After all that rigorous training, your pup will deserve a tasty reward. Check out these popular Scooby snacks. WARNING! Many human foods are terrible for dogs. Make sure to especially keep chocolate, garlic, onions, chives, avocados, grapes, raisons, cooked bones, apple seeds, cheese, and gum away from curious K9s.

6. Toys

Dog toys can be easily made from old household items and some treats. A treat stuffed tennis ball or cereal box will keep your pup entertained for quite a while. Many dogs are also fond of the crackling sound of plastic. First, remove the top of a plastic bottle as it is a choking hazard. Then, squeeze the air out and stuff the bottle into an old sock and voila! Instant chew toy!    

Fun Factoids

“Max” is the number one dog name for males and “Bella” is number one for females! Do you have a Max or a Bella? 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed has been used to hunt lions!

The Doberman Pinscher has earned the nickname “devil dog” for its vital contribution to the WWII war effort.  

45% of U.S. dogs sleep in bed with their owners.

Dogs have about 65 times the number of smell receptors as humans.  Their noses can even detect heat/thermal radiation. 

Petting a dog lowers the blood pressure of both the petter and the pet. 

All puppies are deaf until they are about 3 weeks old. Then, they hear about four times better than humans.

A recent study confirms what dog owners have known all along: dogs are alturistic.

A Greyhound can run at 35mph for about 7 miles, which could beat a Cheetah in a long enough race. 

The world’s largest dog was a Mastiff named Zorba who weighed 343 pounds. 

A Chihuahua named Miracle Milly was the smallest dog ever recorded. She weighed one pound and was only 3.8 inches tall. 

Thank you for your interest in National Dog Day! We hope you have enjoyed the history of “man’s best friend” as much as we have. Be sure to take lots of pictures of your canine comrades this year so you can share your memories as part of Furry Friends Kickoff. Create Holiday Magic will share fun activities, tips + facts about all pets in The Holiday Blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all year long!  

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