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Do You Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day?


According to a study by the Purina Pet Institute, 43 percent of dog owners celebrate birthdays, while 29 percent celebrate their cat’s birthdays.

In contrast, an article in Psychology Today by Stanley Coren, PhD, referred to an online survey by Kelton Research. Of 1,000 people tested,

  • 81 percent of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays
  • 77 percent have celebrated their pets’ birthday by buying them a birthday present

And, according to Nationwide Pet Insurance, $50 billion a year is spent on gifts for our pets. Wow!

Personally, I’ve always celebrated all of my dogs’ birthdays or “Gotcha Days”. I remember every one to this day. There is no big birthday cake, but I always honor the occasion in some special way. It usually involves a new toy, treats, fun training, and extra time enjoying a hike or other outdoor activity with my birthday dog.


Last month, Sanchez turned 13 on May 17th. Today, June 7th, is Gina’s 7th birthday.

I also celebrate Gina’s “Gotcha Day” on October 14. I adopted her from Guide Dogs for the Blind when she was 16 months old, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.

Dogs don’t understand anything about dates, so they don’t really care about their birthday. Nevertheless, it’s my way of honoring them as family members. Sanchez and Gina do so much to enrich my life. It’s my way of enriching theirs.

No matter how many birthdays, it’s always too few. Most of all, celebrating their birthdays reminds me to be grateful for every day of their lives.


With a 13-year-old dog, I’m aware that time is precious, and every day is a gift. I’ll never know how many more memories we’ll create together.


And, that feeling is even transferred to my 7-year-old. Gina is such a blessing in my life. She’s my reminder to be happy for no reason. If she’s moving, her tail is wagging. So, I vote to wag with her this birthday and party on!

Happy Birthday sweet Gina!

I love you to the moon and back.

Do you celebrate your dog’s birthday? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.


Photo Credit: Viviana Guzman


5 thoughts on “Do You Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day?

  1. My dog and cat are family members and I wouldn’t think of not celebrating their birthdays!!! My Big Boy Bud da Boxer turned 12 last Sunday and along with his hat, his cake and lots of singing, I took him for a ride to his favorite doggie store!!!

  2. ABSOLUTELY! And I continued to celebrate each and every birthday or “gotcha day” after they’re gone. It’s important to me to never forget or stop celebrating everything they were and everything they brought to me.

  3. I have always rescued dogs. I started when I was 5 years old. I celebrate ‘Founders Day’ since I have never known when my dogs were born. I feel a need to celebrate them on the day they joined our family, although I must admit they are celebrated every single day!!

  4. I always celebrate my dog’s birthdays or gotcha day. Bodhi had 2 birthday parties this year to celebrate his 3rd Birthday. He’s quite the popular Puff Doggy.

  5. You bet! I start preparing weeks in advance for the birthday celebration for my Yorkies! Although they have passed on, the memories of their parties and the photos will be with me forever and have left a very special feeling in my heart! I agree with Lisa. Celebrating our pets birthdays is a way of celebrating their lives and how they enriched our lives and reflect on how they have taught us how to love. They may not know dates or if it is their birthday, but they definitely know someone cares for and loves them and they are being treated very special and something very wonderful is happening to them on that day. Keep celebrating those pets birthdays everyone!! Your pets really do appreciate the attention and feel your love!

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