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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