Tails are wagging in anticipation! The best holiday is just around the corner — National Puppy Day. On March 23, people around the world will come together to celebrate the cuddly, playful creatures we love to call man’s best friend: puppies.
What is National Puppy Day?
Not to be confused with National Dog Day (August 26), National Puppy Day puts the spotlight on the little creatures that bring so much joy into our lives (and the occasional exasperation when they chew up something they shouldn’t have—like your shoes).
When is National Puppy Day this year?
National Puppy Day happens every year on March 23. Founded in 2006 by animal behaviorist and author Colleen Paige, the day has since become an annual moment to pause, treat, and otherwise adore the puppies in our lives.
How should pet stores participate in National Puppy Day?
As the owner of a pet supply store or a pet shop, your next question might be, “How should I participate in this holiday?” Luckily, there’s no shortage of inspiration. Keep reading for a list of creative ways to celebrate National Puppy Day, connect with your community, and grow pet supply sales.
Offer a puppy supply sale
National Puppy Day is a great time to offer a sale on dog supplies, since many pet owners are looking to treat their pets on this day. Consider offering tempting discounts on both standard supplies like food and medicine, as well as speciality items like collars, clothing, and mouthwatering food items — since customers are likely to indulge in both.
Delight local customers with same-day delivery
For customers that can’t join you in person, consider offering local same-day delivery so they can still partake in the celebration. A partner like DoorDash can help you advertise your offerings, access more customers in your area, and facilitate delivery through our world-class logistics platform.
Olia Rosenblatt, founder and owner of MISHKA Luxury Dog Treats in San Francisco, likes how DoorDash makes getting high quality dog treats more convenient for her busy customers.
“As a small business, it’s really important to offer convenience,” she explains. “Partnering with DoorDash helps us surprise and delight customers who didn’t realize they could get high-quality dog treats delivered.”
Host a puppy skills class
Though dogs have been bred for centuries to be our faithful companions, some puppies still need a little help with their training. Host a free dog training class to help your customers teach their dogs the basics—from sit to stay. Owners might also learn a thing or two themselves!
Host an adopt-a-thon
Let’s start with the facts. More than 1.1 million dogs ended up in shelters in the US in 2021, and many of those animals have a limited timeline for how long they can stay there. Your store can play a part in helping puppies find their forever homes. Consider partnering with a local dog rescue organization for the day and hosting an adopt-a-thon to connect people with pets.
The process is fairly simple from there: make space in your store for the puppies, and work with the rescue center to set up an adoption station. Then, turn the day into an event with a raffle, games, and other activities to welcome in people who aren’t looking to take home a new pet. Walking by a corral full of puppies is enough to make anyone smile, and helping facilitate adoptions is a feel-good way for your business to make a difference.
Plan a puppy party
Parties aren’t just for people—you can also host a puppy party that puts pets at the center of the celebration. Send out invitations in advance so your customers know that their furry friends are welcome to attend, and get planning.
Set the mood for your puppy party by hanging up festive decorations and signage, and play fun music that will draw people in from the street. Serve up a tasty puppy cake just for canines, offer tiny party hats for all people and puppies in attendance, and provide a few toys and games for everyone to play with (puppies are big fans of ropes and squeaky toys). You’ll have your customers asking, “When is National Puppy Day next year?”
Screen a puppy-themed movie marathon
If you’d prefer to host a more laid back celebration, consider hosting a puppy-themed movie marathon. With a portable projector and a small screen, you can turn a corner of your store into a makeshift movie theater. Make sure to play all of the family-friendly favorites, from 101 Dalmations to Homeward Bound. (Check out Rotten Tomatoes’ list of 67 Best Dog Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer, for more inspiration.)
Finally, don’t forget to supply the snacks with some free treats for any puppies in attendance!
Stage an Instagram costume contest
If a large portion of your customers are practicing social distancing, it might be smart to move the canine festivities online. One fun way to do this is to host a costume contest through your social media channels.
Encourage your customers to share photos of their puppies in their best outfits on Instagram by tagging your business and using the #NationalPuppyDay hashtag. Reshare the best ones so that everyone who follows your brand’s handle can enjoy them too. (Who doesn’t love a puppy dressed in a cute outfit?)
Don’t forget to award the best-dressed pup a free gift basket filled with all sorts of puppy-themed goodies, treats, toys, and pet supplies.
Set up a pet portrait studio
Another way to treat your customers and their canines this National Puppy Day: hosting a pet portrait studio. You don’t need to be an expert photographer yourself, either. Consider partnering with a local photographer to offer ad hoc and by appointment pet portraits at your store, since they’ll be able to supply all of the equipment needed and offer expert photo editing services.
Do a quick Google search to find creative photographers in your area that match your style and would appeal to your customers. For example, the Toronto-based Posh Pets Photography offers a more classic style of portraiture, while the Los Angeles-based Danielle Spires Photography takes a quirkier approach.
National Puppy Day 2022
With the cutest holiday of the year just around the corner, you’re ready to stage your own National Puppy Day celebration—in person and/or remotely. If your customers can’t join you in person, be sure to offer pet supply delivery through a partner like DoorDash. As with every event like this, don’t forget what it’s really about: your customers, their pets, and the love that makes it all paws-ible. (Sorry, we had to!)
Happy National Puppy Day!