May 1, 2019


By Karen A. Jones – State Animal Control Supervisor


As the month of May signifies a midpoint between the spring and summer season, it also has been nationally designated as a month to remind pet owners of responsible care for their animals. 

One of most recognized animal awareness events is National Pet Week (NPW), which will be observed from May 6 through May 11, 2019.  Annually, it takes place during the first full week of May that starts with a Sunday.

NPW is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and was originated in 1981 to promote daily responsible pet care to the estimated 200 million pets that are owned throughout the United States. 

According to the AVMA, the purpose of NPW is to celebrate the bond between pets and their families by encouraging proper animal-care practices.

To help circulate the messages of NPW, the AVMA encourages participation from veterinarians, schools, and community organizations by offering “member tool-kits” that include promotional items for marketing purposes. Student contests for writing and artwork are held by the AVMA to be used for annual themes.1

During NPW, the AVMA has a focused website and social media campaign to reach out to the public about various topics concerning pet ownership.

Pet owners can find detailed information about vaccinations, finding a veterinarian, low-cost spay/neuter options, pets in vehicles, foods to avoid, pet insurance, coping with the loss of a pet, and many other pet-related tips.

For each day of National NPW, a specific theme of pet ownership is highlighted for pet owners to follow. The AVMA titles this as “Lifetime of Love – The Basics: Seven Days to a Happier and Healthy Pet”.

Monday, May 6, 2019, is themed as “choose well, commit for life” and tells of the significance of taking the time to choose a pet that is suitable for your family and lifestyle to ensure the lifetime commitment to that chosen animal.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019, is themed “Socialize now. New doesn’t have to be scary,” which emphasizes the importance of introducing and preparing your pet to be accustomed to children, adults, different environments, and other animals. 

Wednesday, May 8 is themed “Nutrition and exercise matter”. The AVMA details that, along with human issues of obesity within the United States, there is an estimated 52.7% of dogs and 57.9% of cats that are considered overweight or obese.

Creating proper exercise and nutrition plans can be beneficial to the health of both the pet and their owners. The AVMA provides pet owners online information about healthy pet weight and how to walk, run, or start an exercise plan with your pet.

Thursday, May 9 has a theme of “Love your pet? See your vet!”.  The AVMA stresses preventative veterinary care and that it may be too late if pet owners delay a visit to a veterinarian until their pet displays visible health issues. 

Friday, May 10 is themed “Maximize the human-animal bond” which explains the positive mental and physical impacts that develop from the relationship between animals and people.

Saturday May 11 is themed “Emergencies happen. Be prepared” and offers information on developing a family emergency plan that includes caring for pets and other owned animals during a crisis. Saturday’s theme of emergency planning also coincides with National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day that falls on the same day of May 11, 2019. 

The National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is annually held on the second Saturday in May.  More information about disaster planning for pets can be found at

The last day of National Pet Week 2019 is Sunday, May 12 which is themed “Plan for their care. Give them a lifetime of love”.  The AVMA points out that since pets are typically living longer lives, due to improved overall care, special preparation should be made for senior pets. 

Veterinary visits should be more frequent for older pets and educating pet owners about aging animals will ultimately better the chance for their pet to lead a healthier prolonged life.2

In preparation for National Pet Week, the AVMA also revealed a survey that is conducted every five years regarding pet ownership statistics by state.

According to AVMA findings, the top 10 states for the highest percentage of households with pets are Wyoming (72%); West Virginia (71%); Nebraska, Vermont, and Idaho (70%); Indiana and Arkansas (69%); Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Colorado (65%).

In contrast, Connecticut was one of the states with the lowest percentage of households with pets. These states are listed as Rhode Island (45%); South Dakota (46%); New Jersey (47%); Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts (49%); New York and Connecticut (50%); Georgia (51%), and New Hampshire (52%).3

Further information about NPW can be found at


1 JAVMAnews (2019, March 1) AVMA, Auxiliary celebrate National Pet Week 2019.  Retrieved from

2 AVMA (2019) Lifetime of Love-The Basics: Seven days to a happier, healthier pet. Retrieved from 

3 AVMA (2019) National Pet Week Survey Says! Retrieved from