National Dog Day means that you have a real excuse to spoil your pooch! Celebrate your furbaby with free activities and dog-friendly treats.

Calling all friends of Fido, this literal dog day of summer is for you.

20 Affordable Ways To Spoil Your Fur Child On National Dog Day National Dog Day is coming up on Thursday, August 26, which means you have a legit excuse to spoil your fur baby! And if you don’t have a four-legged companion yet, it just might be the perfect time to adopt your new pawt-ner in crime.

The ways in which you can pamper your fur children are endless, so I put together a list of affordable activities and National Dog Day specials to help you get started.

National Dog Day deals

20 Affordable Ways To Spoil Your Fur Child On National Dog Day - National Dog Day deals

Dog lovers unite over this blessed occasion!

National and local businesses feature specials and events to honor these paw-some creatures. Scan events and social media tags in your city to see what local deals pop up.

For example, I’ve found adoption events at hip hotels, liquor store deals, and 15% off at a local pet supply store.

Petco’s getting in on the fun, too, with specials online and in-store for dog lovers everywhere: 

  • Online shoppers can save $30 off $100 on select Petco exclusive brands from Aug. 22 to Aug. 28.
  • If Fido likes field trips, head to a Petco pet care center by Aug. 30 for buy-1-get-1-50%-off Well & Good Hip & Joint supplements for dogs. While you’re there, let your pup pick out a few treats and chews – they’re buy 3, get 1 free.

Another example: for National Dog Day, BarkBox and Dunkin Donuts teamed up to make donut-themed dog toys that support Dunkin’s Joy in Childhood Foundation.

  • For a $12 donation, your doggo can get a Dunkin’ Coffee Pup toy packed with squeakers, topped with fluff, and a treat-dispensing lid.
  • For a $15 donation, doggies receive the Dunkin’ Domutt To-Go 2-in-1 toy. Dog parents can hide treats inside the crinkle to-go bag and the plush strawberry frosted donut is filled with squeakers. I can hear them now.

Additionally, BarkBox subscribers will receive a matching robe for them and their pups as a gift when they purchase a 6- or 12-month subscription.

Cheap and free treats for your dog on National Dog Day

20 Affordable Ways To Spoil Your Fur Child On National Dog Day - Cheap or free treats for National Dog Day

Did you know that many restaurants offer “secret menus” that include special or free items for your trusty sidekick? National Dog Day is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of these.

Pull up a chair and enjoy a “meal” together outdoors, or take your pooch through the drive-thru. Be sure to check availability at your local spot before going or you might risk disappointing your pooch!

Starbucks Puppuccino

Fetch your furkid a Puppuccino when you grab your morning (or afternoon) pick-me-up. It’s usually free and consists of just a little whipped cream in a small cup that your pooch will be eager to lap up.

Upload a pic with the #puppuccino hashtag so it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cup

Donate $1 to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation on your next Dunkin’ run, and receive a Cup for Pup. This four-ounce, whipped-cream treat comes in a cup perfect for doggo snouts.

Some locations may call them Pup Cups or Puppy Lattes and may even offer them free, but why not donate to a good cause? 

Sonic Drive-In Pup Cup

Much like the chains above, Sonic Drive-In offers its version of a Pup Cup for your pooch. Depending on the location, this paw-some treat is either a cup of vanilla soft-serve ice cream or whipped cream.

The cost of this treat typically ranges from free to $0.99. Your location may even hand out free doggie treats.

Dairy Queen Pup Cup

Dairy Queen’s Pup Cups are either a cup of whipped cream or vanilla soft serve ice cream that your National Dog Day date won’t be able to resist!

Availability and price vary by location, but it’s usually $1 or less. (Mlems guaranteed).

In-N-Out Burger Pup Patty

Spoil your furkid with a Pup Patty from the famous West Coast burger chain. It’s an unseasoned burger with no salt and served in a doggy bag. How fitting!

Just be sure to request a no-salt patty.

The price of your pup’s new favorite treat will vary by location, but they usually cost about $1.

Shake Shack Poochini or Bag O’Bones

This classic burger and shake joint is the definition of dog-friendly. It has a special “Woof” menu that features its signature Pooch-ini, made of dog biscuits with peanut butter and vanilla custard for around $4.

It also offers a Bag O’Bones which contains five ShackBurger doggie biscuits specially made by Shake Shack’s Bocce’s Bakery. These cost around $8.

Both menu items are available at most locations with an outdoor space, excluding stadiums and ballparks.

Johnny Rockets Dog Burger

Enjoy a paw-sitively yummy meal with your pup on the patio of your local Johnny Rockets.

Some locations offer a dog burger that they will cut up for your canine companion. Call to check that your location is one that offers this before you venture out. 

Sprinkles Pupcakes

Take advantage of National Dog Day, and treat your woofer (or floofer) to a tasty dessert made especially for dogs.

Sprinkles’s doggie cupcake is sugar-free with yogurt “frosting.” Each one costs around $4.

Tim Horton’s Timbits

The Canadian coffee chain makes a dog-friendly version of its scrumptious Timbits. These small donuts (similar to donut holes) come plain and without any sugar. Just be sure to ask for the plain ones and mention it’s for your pup!

While some locations give one out free per customer, others may charge (~$0.37) for each one depending on policy and availability.

Lazy Dog Pup Menu

This restaurant chain has locations in eight states and offers a pup menu for four-legged friends accompanying their parents on the patio.

For $5, your pooch can chow down on either a hamburger patty bowl or chicken breast patty bowl, which is served with rice and veggies.

Free ways to spoil your dog on National Dog Day

20 Affordable Ways To Spoil Your Fur Child On National Dog Day - Free ways to spoil your dog on National Dog Day

Some of the best ways to pamper your pupper don’t cost anything at all. Create the ulti-mutt experience by doing one (or many) of these activities to celebrate the day with your sweet fur baby.

Take a longer walk

Every pupper loves the great outdoors. Take yours on an extra-long walk (or two or three), and let them sniff and pee until their little hearts are content.

You may even want to consider driving to a different park or trail for a change of scenery.

Visit a dog park

Some doggos rule the puppy playground. If this sounds like your fur child, then take them to their favorite park and let them have a dog day full of zoomies and borks.

Run with their new best buds, play fetch, and have a ball. Better yet, find a dog beach if you live near water and watch ‘em go nuts!

Take a drive with the windows down

Whatever you decide to do, ride out with the windows down so your pup can sniff that glorious outside air and maybe make a few drivers smile and wave along the way.

Skip this idea if you have a jumper (or crack the windows just a wee bit).

Give your doggie a massage

At the beginning or end of the day, cuddle up with your pooch and give their little doggie muscles the works.

A quick Google search turns up several techniques and ideas that can teach you how to approach it. Who knows, you may have just created a new tradition.

Now, if you can train ‘em to give you one back…

Have a picnic in the park

Pack a yummy picnic in the park for you and your pooch. Include their favorite food, a few splurge snacks, and some water.

Find a nice park with a bit of room to play fetch or frisbee after you eat. Bring a blanket and a hat in case you both need a midday nap.

Make a special meal

No doubt your trusty sidekick will wolf down any delicious meal. Try your hand at dog-friendly recipes and cook up something extra special for your baby to chow down on after a lovely day together.

Spend quality time together

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as your baby gets to spend time with you.

So, spend the days outdoors, visit friends, get special treats, or snuggle up at home. It’s a good day as long as they spend quality time with you.

Go to a yappy hour

Local bars and restaurants run special happy hour events for dog lovers. The chances are that National Dog Day has inspired some “Yappy Hour” events in your city.

So, give your canine companion the joy of spending the evening out and about with you. You all may make a few furry friends, too!

Buy a new toy, leash, or dog bed

Okay, this one isn’t free, but it can be inexpensive, especially with National Dog Day deals at many pet supply stores. So buy a few and treat your pooch all week or month!

Who founded National Dog Day?

National Dog Day was founded in 2004 by dog trainer and author Colleen Paige. When Colleen was a kid, her family adopted a rescue dog from a shelter on August 26. This impacted her life, and now she is an ambassador and advocate for dogs and all animals globally.

Since dogs often dedicate their lives to protecting humans, Paige wanted to honor their service by promoting awareness, encouraging adoption, and simply celebrating dogs of all breeds on this national holiday.

Many local pet shelters, pet store chains, and local dog-loving businesses will host adoption drives on August 26. These events will often waive fees to encourage potential pet parents to take home a new fur baby.

Obviously, only take home a pupper if you’re ready for the commitment.


Spoiling your dog is the easy part; deciding which activity to do might be the real challenge.

Just remember, no matter what you do, extra affection doesn’t cost anything, so give it all you got. At least for today. 

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About the author

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Stephanie Bolling is a freelance writer based in St. Petersburg, FL. She writes about personal finance, travel, music, and parenting. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, The Penny Hoarder, The Balance, and LendEDU. As a native Floridian, she enjoys the beach, shuffleboard, a cold beer, and air conditioning. Check out her work, or catch her on LinkedIn and Twitter.