Celebrate Your Pet's Adoption Day: Ideas & Tips

French bulldog celebrates pet adoption day

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If you rescued your dog or cat from an animal shelter or a private rescue organization, or took in a stray, you might not know your pet’s real age or their actual birthday. In lieu of an annual birthday party, many owners of adopted animals like to celebrate their pet’s adoption day. Read on for tips and ideas to make your pet’s adoption day special and memorable.

What Is Adoption Day?

Your pet’s adoption day, sometimes called their “gotcha day,” is the day you adopted your pet and made them part of your family. No matter how you came to bring home your pet, this day is special as it marks the beginning of your life together. Celebrating your pet’s adoption day every year is a great way to remember all the good times you have shared.

Ideas for Celebrating Adoption Day

When marking the occasion of your pet’s gotcha day, you can go as big or small as you like. Here are just a few ideas for celebrating your pet’s adoption day: 

Go On a Shopping Spree

Shop online or take an excursion to the pet store to buy a special present for your pet. Think about what your pet loves the most, whether that’s toys, treats, chews, pet clothing, a new collar or harness, or a cozy bed

Throw a Party

Like a birthday party, an adoption day party is a great way to bring together friends and family, whether human or animal. Decorate your house or yard and make or buy a cake or other treats for pet attendees (don’t forget party food for the humans!). Ask your guests to share favorite photos or memories of your pet.

Cook Them Treats or Meals

If your pet isn’t on a special diet, you can bake a pet-friendly cake, whip up special treats, or even cook a celebratory meal. Be sure not to go overboard and spoil the fun. Avoid stomach upset by staying aware of which human foods are toxic to dogs and cats, and feeding treats in moderation (no more than 10% of your pet’s total daily food intake). Always check with your vet before changing your pet’s diet. 

Spend a Special Day Together

What does your pet like doing the most? Whether your dog loves chasing his ball at the dog park, going for a long walk or hike, or swimming at the beach, indulge them with a fun day of their favorite things. For cats, set aside time to play with their favorite toys, break out the catnip, or simply snuggle up on the couch together with a warm blanket and a good movie or book. 

Take a Trip

Although some cats enjoy traveling, most of the time pet road trips are more suitable for dogs. Head out for a weekend getaway at a pet-friendly destination where you can explore, stay in a pet-friendly hotel, dine at pet-friendly restaurants.

Donate In Your Pet's Name

In honor of finding your best friend, give back to the shelter or rescue group where you adopted your pet, or donate to an animal charity close to your heart. Share what you’re doing on your social media accounts and encourage your friends and family to donate, too.

Stage a Photoshoot

Keep things simple by using your phone’s camera in your home or yard, or go all out with an elaborate sunset photoshoot using a professional photographer. Dress yourself up too, so you can take special photos with your pet that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. 

Commission a Piece of Art

Many fine artists can create drawings or paintings based of a photograph of your pet. These wonderful works of art can look very lifelike and are a unique way to display your pet’s likeness at home. When selecting an artist, browse their galleries to fine a style that speaks to you. 

Tips for Making the Most of Adoption Day

Your pet’s adoption day should be all about your furry family member and the special bond you share. When marking the day you brought home your one-of-a-kind pet, make sure they enjoy the celebration as much as you do by choosing activities they feel comfortable with. For instance, a shy or nervous pet might not like a big party or photo shoot but might prefer special time alone with you.

Show Your Pet How Much You Care

Your pet’s adoption day might seem like just another day to them, but it’s the perfect time to remind them how much you love and cherish the bond and friendship you have together. If you happen to know your pet’s actual birthday in addition to their gotcha day, celebrate twice a year—you can never have too much special time with your beloved pet.