National Pet Parents Day on April 30 this year (the last Sunday in April) was acknowledged by Veterinary Pet Insurance as a way to celebrate responsible pet parents and their furry children. We agree, it’s not fair that pet parents don’t get to enjoy Mother’s- and Father’s Days but, don’t fret, there’s a whole other holiday dedicated especially to you! It’s a great day to treat your pet to a new toy, take them for a drive to the dog park, or spend the day giving them a checkup and grooming to make sure they’re healthy and happy.
History of National Pet Parents Day
Pet parents have existed almost as long as our species. The earliest pets were domesticated wolves around 10000 B.C. Early humans found that wolf cubs who were separated from their mothers and trained would make great companions, and the notion of selective breeding and pet-keeping was born. While some cultures enjoyed the companionship of dogs, others preferred cats, even going so far as to revere them and consider them spiritual.
There was another rise in pet ownership around 6000 B.C. when humans transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming. It was around this time that there is evidence of working dogs living on farms with other domesticated livestock, while cats caught rodents and lived symbiotically with the other animals. Though pet ownership was not exactly as we know it today, the end of our hunter/gatherer nomadic period was a huge step forward for the practice.
The earliest indication of pets being fashionable companions was in the 13th and 14th centuries. Noble gentlemen found dogs useful for hunting, falcons were kept as pets, and ladies began to enjoy having lapdogs inside. Beyond simply being helpful, pets grew to become a status symbol in this era.
The Victorian era mirrored the 13th century in terms of pet-keeping. Again, pets were a status symbol for wealthy lords and ladies to take on their hunting expeditions and keep on their laps while they read. Some consider this the first era of modern pet-keeping, as it wasn’t until the 1800s that those outside of the upper classes became pet owners, too. Pet ownership during this time became symbolic of man’s dominance over nature.
Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a pet — so many of us are pet parents! In 2020, it’s been reported that 67% of U.S. households have at least one pet. That’s about 85 million families. People in the modern era often have pets for more reasons than just companionship, like emotional support, disability support, and therapy! Some famous pets appear in movies and television shows and are loved widely. Pet ownership sure has come a long way!
National Pet Parents Day timeline
It was roughly 12,000 years ago that early humans learned that some young wolf cubs could be trained by humans.
As humans made the transition from hunters to farmers, working dogs and farm cats gradually began to appear around human settlements.
Once gentlemen decided dogs were useful for hunting and noble ladies decided that lapdogs made great companions, pet ownership became a common status symbol among the upper class.
Keeping pets became an acceptable practice for the middle- and upper classes in the 1800s.
According to a 2019–2020 survey, 67% (85 million families) of U.S. households have at least one pet.
National Pet Parents Day FAQs
Where is National Pet Parents Day celebrated?
The United States.
What is a pet parent?
A pet parent is a person who looks after their pet animal.
Do dogs see us as parents?
Yes! Not only are dogs man’s best friend, they literally see us as their family.
How to Observe National Pet Parents Day
Love your pet a little extra today
Give a little extra love to the pet that made you a pet parent. Whether that’s baking homemade treats from scratch, buying them a new toy or treat, or updating their look with a new bandana, your fur baby should feel extra pampered today to remind them just how much you love them!
Post your pet-parent pride!
Every pet owner is proud of their pets, sometimes to the point that their pet becomes the only thing they post on social media! When your profile picture gets replaced with a close-up of Snowball, you know you’re a real pet parent. Snap a shot of your pet enjoying a treat or looking fly in a new collar and share it with your connections.
Give your pet a checkup or grooming
Besides pampering your pet with treats and goodies, it’s important to be a responsible pet parent and keep your fur baby healthy. This could be a new haircut, a bath, a trip to the vet to make sure everything’s going well, or anything else they might need! The best pet parents listen to their pets’ needs and try to give them whatever they need.
5 Fun Facts About Pet Parents
Dogs love attention … too much?
Some dogs have been known to fake being sick just to get more attention from their owners!
Pet parents spend billions
In 2015, over $60 billion was spent by pet parents, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Pets are pandemic-proof
In April 2020, there was a 335% surge in Google searches for ‘adopt a pet’ — this shows that many more people were interested in adopting pets since the pandemic began.
Pets are great snugglers
If you’ve broken your resolve and let Fido sleep on the bed with you, you’re not alone — one survey reported that 73% of dog owners and 81% of cat owners let their furry babies share the bed with them.
There are billions of pet parents
According to a 2015–2016 survey by the American Pet Products Association, there are over 80 million U.S. households with a pet — and the number is expected to have risen.
Why We Love National Pet Parents Day
It recognizes their work
While it’s not quite the same as raising a human child, raising your furry baby requires dedicated care and attention. Pet parents are responsible for the physical- and emotional health of their pet, and will always be. That’s a heavy load! Pet parents deserve some extra love for all their hard work.
It’s an extra reason to love your pet
National Pet Parents’ Day is a great excuse to give a little extra love to your pet baby. Treat Muffin to a new cat toy or Fido to a bone — they’re the reason you’re celebrating, anyway.
It’s an excuse to post pet pics!
Once you get a dog, it’s hard to put anything else on social media. Pet parents love their fur babies so much, their online presence becomes absorbed by their pet! National Pet Parents Day is the perfect day to show everyone what Rufus looks like in his new bandana — again!
National Pet Parents Day dates