Founded in 2004 by Colleen Page, animal welfare advocate, and pet lifestyle expert, International Dog Day is honoured annually on 26 August and celebrates all breeds – both mixed and pure.
It serves to help people to acknowledge the number of dogs that need to be rescued each day, as well as pay tribute to the pups that provide safety and freedom, for example by supporting those who are disabled or blind.
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, The Dogs Trust said that online searches for “buy a puppy” surged by 120 per cent after lockdown was announced on 23 March.
Similarly, searches for “adopt a puppy” increased by more than 130 per cent during the same time according to data from digital marketing agency Propellernet.
With such an increase in the number of dog adoptions, chances are if you didn’t get a pup in lockdown, someone you know may have done.
Or perhaps you’ve long since reaped the benefits of dog ownership by having a loving four-legged friend for years.
Whatever your pet status, to hep you honour your furry friend this International Dog Day we’ve compiled a round-up of all the things you need to make your pooch happy – from beds and leads to toys and high-tech kit.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Dogs spend almost half their lives sleeping, so it’s important to get them a bed that is comfortable, designed to last and supportive.
Ideally, the bed will have a machine washable cover and other handy features such as being waterproof.
In our guide to best dog beds, this Sleepeezee basket dog bed (Sleepeezee, £79.99) was the winner.
You can wash this at 60C, and there’s even the option to personalise it with your dog’s name. Coming in three sizes and five different colours, it will not just suit your pooch, get the right one, and it’ll match your decor too. Plus, you can opt to donate £1 to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home.
If your dog has anxious tendencies, The Dog’s Balls bed sound sleep donut dog bed (Amazon, £34.99) is the perfect option because it appeals to a dog’s nesting instinct. The cover is machine washable and you can also buy replacements separately. We also love the range of colours it is available in.
You may want to consider a crate, as these have been praised for creating a sanctuary and privacy for your dog, as well as acting as a training aid for teaching puppies who need to learn to be left alone. Plus, they’re great for transporting your hound from A to B.
This Pets at Home double door dog crate (Pets at Home, £32) will do the job nicely.
Quick and easy to assemble, it’s made from strong and sturdy metal, making it suitable for even the most boisterous dogs. Make it more comfy bed by placing this Pets At Home basic dog crate mattress (Pets at Home, from £8) inside.
Food and treats
The British Veterinary Association’s advice is that any commercially manufactured pet food in the UK that meets the Pet Food Manufacturing Association (PFMA) guidelines has the complete nutritional requirements that your pet needs.
When buying the right dog food for your pet, look for something age-appropriate (such as puppy, adult or senior), and keep an eye out for a commercial dog food brand that is labelled “complete”, as well as a manufacturer that is part of the PFMA.
All of the ranges at Lily’s Kitchen have wet or dry food options, as well as selection boxes if you want a variety of snacks and meals all at once. Plus you can filter by age, product type, or special diet on the website.
The chicken and duck dry food (Lily’s Kitchen, from £7.80) is grain-free and full of all the natural goodness that your pup needs. Plus the brand is B Corp certified, meaning it has very high sustainable and ethical credentials.
If you’re in the early stages of dog ownership, chances are you’ll be trying to train your pup, so you’ll need plenty of treats on hand to help.
These Edgar & Cooper champion chicken bites (Edgar & Cooper, £3.14) will have your dog doing all the tricks in no time.
They are grain-free and rich in protein, and the packaging is 100 per cent biodegradable. Edgard & Cooper donates 10 per cent of its profits to the dog care clinic in Sri Lanka, too.
Another great option is a dental treat, which have been scientifically proven to prevent the build-up of tartar by 80 per cent. And these Pedigree dentastix (Tesco, £1.75) provide effective oral care for your dog.
No matter how much you think your dog loves you, they’ll love the food you give them that bit more.
If you want something that you’ll be proud to have on display in your kitchen, this Emma Bridgewater personalised wallflower small pet bowl (Emma Bridgewater, from: £20.95) is a firm favourite.
Dishwasher safe, it’s an easy to clean design and is deep enough to hold plenty of food for your four-legged friend.
If your dog inhales its food in one go, opt for this Zella dog bowl slow feeder (Amazon, £9.99).
It not only makes your dog eat slower, it also turns dinner time into a game, providing stimulation as they chew.
Keeping your canine entertained can be hard work, especially if they’re very energetic – that’s where a good toy comes in handy.
In our guide to the best dog toys, we loved Chuck it! ultra balls (Amazon, £7.15). Durable and long-lasting, these are perfect for a game of fetch in the park.
They’ve got a good bounce, float in water, and can be easily washed – a real crowd-pleaser.
If you’re looking for something that will challenge your dog, this Trixie dog activity strategy tower toy (Pets at Home, £20) is an excellent choice.
The game consists of a tower with three cones where small treats are placed, the aim is for your dog to retrieve the treats by using the loops. This is bound to keep them entertained for hours while you’re working from home.
Just like humans, dogs enjoy being kept in preen condition. While trips to the groomers might be an option, they can be expensive and you can just as easily keep your four-legged friend clean at home.
This Groom Professional baby fresh shampoo (Christies Direct, £6.95) is the best there is.
The aloe vera works to nourish your dog’s skin and coat, while also giving off a real shine. Containing all-natural ingredients, you’ll be glad to know there’s little chance it’ll irritate your dog.
Once you’ve given your pup a good wash, you’ll want to have this Paws & Presto extra large high-performance microgibre dog towel (Paws & Presto, £12.95) close to hand.
In our round-up of the best dog grooming products, our tested praised it on its ability to make light work of the drying process of a soaking dog; absorbing more dampness than the others tested. Plus, it washes well – a great all-rounder.
It’s also important to keep your pooch brushed, this will keep their coat in the best possible condition, and has even proven to reduce stress.
If you’ve got a short-haired dog, we’d suggest opting for this FURminator undercoat deshedding tool (Pets at Home, from: £25).
Combing through the topcoat, it safely and easily removes any loose undercoat hair without damaging or cutting your dog’s skin. For optimum results, use once or twice a week for 10 minutes.
Alternatively, for long-haired dogs, we’d go for this Tangle Teezer pet teezer de-shedding dog grooming brush (John Lewis & Partners, £12).
Its two-tier teeth technology works to remove dirt using the longer teeth, while the shorter teeth pick up loose hairs.
Collars, harnesses, and leads
Harnesses are becoming more popular thanks to the advantages they offer, such as being a great training tool for puppies to learn how to behave on a lead, they also discourage pulling, and mean you won’t have to worry about choking your dog if it tries to jump up. For pugs and french bulldogs, harnesses are particularly advantageous because they reduce the risk of neck injuries.
For an everyday harness that’s easy to put on and is comfortable for dog, this Ruffwear front range dog harness (Waitrose & Partners, £39.99) is a fail-safe option.
With a comprehensive size guide, you can select the one that will suit your dog best.
Alternatively, this Dogs & Horses padded leader brown and red dog collar (Fetch, from £40) was the favourite in our review of the best dog collars.
The padded inner liner will be comfortable for extended wear, and owing to being made from classic leather, it’ll age well too.
When it comes to a lead, if you’re looking for something stylish, yet hard-wearing, turn to this Ralph & Co fabric and leather dog lead (Ralph & Co, £14.99).
Machine washable and easy to wipe down any residual mud, you won’t have to worry about it getting dirty. And the Italian buckles are strong and weather resistant.
While you’ve probably been spending more time with your pet than usual, you might want to consider a security camera that will look after your dog as you start to spend less time at home.
The Furbo dog camera (Furbo, £169) stood out as a firm favourite in our review of the best pet cameras.
This high-tech and ingenious piece of kit features a treat dispenser that is controlled by your smartphone, a two-way speaker, a barking sensor that will alert you if it hears canine noises, and a night vision camera.
Our reviewer praised it on its “attractive design and solid build”, as well as it being discreet enough that it won’t look too out of place. An all-round great bit of tech that will keep your mind at ease when you’re not at home.
If you’re concerned about how your dog will cope in the heat this summer, check out our round-up of everything you need to keep your pet cool
14 best dog grooming products that keep your pup clean and healthy
11 best dog beds to keep your pet cosy and calm
10 best cat carriers to easily transport your pet