September 22: Responsible Dog Ownership Day

Observed annually on the third Saturday in September, Responsible Dog Ownership Day encourages owners to make a promise of loyalty to their pet. As part of doing so, owners should educate themselves about pet care. They should know how to handle the size, temperament, and energy level of their pet. They should also know how to provide for their pet’s general well-being and for their pet’s medical care. Pets bring many benefits to our lives but also depend on people for their care. This makes us responsible for them.

Since at least September 2003, on the 119th anniversary of the American Kennel Club (AKC), Responsible Dog Ownership Day has been encouraging dog owners to take the loyalty pledge. The AKC Responsible Dog Owner Pet Promise has been adapted from the AKC Canine Good Citizen Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge and is pasted below. You can sign the petition at the AKC website to show your commitment to providing the best care for your dog.


As a dog owner, I do solemnly swear:

  • I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being and recognize that my dog’s welfare is totally dependent on me.
  • I will always provide fresh water and quality food for my dog.
  • I will socialize my dog via exposure to new people, places and other dogs.
  • I will take pride in my dog’s appearance with regular grooming.
  • I will recognize the necessity of basic training by teaching my dog to reliably sit, stay and come when called.
  • I will take my dog to the vet regularly and keep all vaccinations current.
  • I will pick-up and properly dispose of my dog’s waste.
  • I will make sure my dog is regarded as an AKC Canine Good Citizen® by being aware of my responsibilities to my neighbors and to the community.
  • I will ensure that the proper amount of exercise and mental stimulation appropriate for my dog’s age, breed and energy level is provided.
  • I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification (which may include collar tags, tattoo or microchip ID.)
  • I will adhere to local leash laws.

The American Kennel Club provides a number of animal welfare reproducibles on its website, including a Responsible Dog Ownership Coloring Book and a Responsible Dog Owner’s Checklist for young people.  The latter can be printed as a bookmark and is below for your convenience. The educational materials can be used as handouts in classrooms and also posted  in appropriate community areas such as grocery store bulletin boards or pet-supply stores. How will you celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Day?


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