'DOGust 1st' is the universal birthday for pets adopted from shelter

FILE - The dog Blanca celebrates her birthday on May 30, 2022, in the Gulf emirate of Dubai. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Pet owners who adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue organization but don’t know their furry friend’s birthday now have a solution: DOGust 1st. 

Dogust, which occurs each year on Aug. 1, is a nationwide celebration for dogs whose birthdays are unknown, according to the online pet marketplace Chewy.com. The day got its start in 2008, thanks to the staff at the North Shore Animal League America, which calls itself the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.

Shelter workers can generally estimate a dog’s age, but they often don’t know the precise date of when the animal was born. 

"[It’s] the official birthday for all rescued puppies and dogs to celebrate their importance in our lives," Joanne Yohannan, North Shore Animal League America’s senior vice president of operations, told Chewy.com.

Since then, the universal shelter pet birthday has expanded to shelters and homes across the United States. 

DOGust 1st celebration ideas for your dog

Pet owners could throw their pup a birthday "pawty" with dog treats and their favorite toys. 

If it’s hot out, Chewy.com suggests a pool party with these creative pool games for dogs.

A walk around the neighborhood or even an afternoon trip to the dog park might be a fun option for a furry friend. 

How to help area animal shelters

Animal shelters and rescues help a countless number of animals, usually with limited resources. Animal lovers may want to give back to these organizations, and there are a number of ways to do so. 

Adopting a pet or fostering an animal is always a great way to support a local shelter. 

Donating to an animal shelter can help cover the costs of daily operations, supplies, staff training, animal housing upgrades, community outreach programs, animal enrichment and much more, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Becoming a volunteer at a local organization, especially those with various skills ranging from carpentry to marketing to dog-walking, can be extremely beneficial, the Humane Society says. 

What to do if you find a lost pet or animal

Here are some steps you can take to help if you encounter a lost pet or stray animal, according to the American Humane Society

  • Capture it if you can do so safely: If you see a stray cat or dog, approach the animal slowly and cautiously, speaking in a calm and soft voice as you get closer. Don’t risk getting injured if it is acting aggressively. Food can be a helpful tool in getting a frightened animal to approach you.
  • Dogs should be secured on a leash or in a fenced yard. If you don’t have a leash, you can use a belt or a rope in the interim, but they shouldn’t be a permanent solution. Cats should be secured in a carrier or cardboard box with air holes. If you don’t have either, they can stay in a small room of your house or in your car for a short time if the car is ventilated and not too hot.
  • Call local authorities: If you can’t approach the animal safely or if the animal runs away, call your local animal control center or the non-emergency police department line. Tell them the exact address where you last saw the animal.
  • Check for identification: If the pet is wearing an ID tag, try contacting the owner so the pet can be immediately returned. If you can’t reach the owner quickly, consider keeping the pet for a few hours to see if you get a callback. Immediately file a "found" report with your local animal shelter. If you can’t keep the pet, bring it to the shelter.
  • If the pet isn’t wearing an ID tag, you can take it to a shelter or call your vet’s office to get it scanned for a microchip. Staff can look up the owner’s contact information if the pet has one. Post a photo of the lost pet on the animal shelter’s online database if it’s an available feature.
  • Post fliers and post on social media: Most pets go missing near their homes, so if possible, post "found" pet fliers with pictures and your contact info in the area where you found the animal. Take the fliers to local vet clinics and post on Nextdoor and social media sites.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.