National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

Every single year, over 6.5 million companion animals end up in animal shelters in the U.S. Of those 6.5 million pets, 1.5 million are euthanized, and only 3.2 million are adopted. To raise attention to these stark numbers, National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day was created. This day is observed on April 30th every year and helps to bring attention to the needless suffering of animals in shelters and encourages people to make their next pet a shelter pet because so many need a forever home.

The History Of National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day

In 1981, the American Humane Society created Adopt A Dog Month every October in an effort to save the dogs stuck in the shelter system. Sometime after that, National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day was founded, but we’re currently unsure who started the day or when exactly it was founded.

Facts About U.S Animal Shelters

To help our readers understand the gravity of the plight faced by countless shelter animals, we’ve decided to list some statistics below that should help to shed some light on the situation.

  • Over 6.5 million animals enter U.S shelters each year.
  • Of animals entering shelters, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
  • Every year, over 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized.
  • Of the animals euthanized, 670,000 are dogs and 860,000 are cats.
  • Approximately 3 million shelter animals are adopted every year.
  • Over 700,000 animals who enter the shelter system as strays are returned to their owners.
  • Of returned strays, approximately 620,000 are dogs and 90,000 are cats.

Facts About U.S Pet Ownership

We also thought that it might be appropriate to list some of the statistics about pet ownership in the U.S so all of our readers can contrast those numbers with the facts about the U.S animal shelter system. That should highlight the importance of using this holiday as a springboard to do some good for some shelter animals.

  • It’s been estimated that there are over 85 million cats and 78 million dogs in the U.S.
  • About 45% of all U.S households have a dog, while about 36% of households have a cat.
  • Approximately 23% of dogs owned and 31% of cats owned come from shelters.
  • 34% of dogs and 3% of cats come from breeders.

How To Observe National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day

The best way to observe this holiday is by making your next pet a shelter pet if you’re planning on taking on a new pet. This day can also be observed by donating time, money, or animal food to a local shelter to help them in their efforts to save animals. And if you’re participating in this day, you can always post on your social media accounts using the hashtag #NationalAdoptAShelterPetDay to help raise awareness not only of this holiday but also of the cause it represents.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 30 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
April 30 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
April 30 Sunday