How to Throw a Dog-Friendly New Year’s Eve Party

Dog-themed games, a treat exchange and a tail-wagging trivia challenge? Count me in.

Oh, yeah — it’s party time. By: northcharleston

Are you ready to party with your favorite pups?

Count down to midnight this year with a little drool in your drink.

What do I mean? Celebrate with a furry twist — host a dog-friendly New Year’s Eve party this year!

Plan the Guest List

Brainstorm a list of your friends whose dogs you consider to be well behaved, friendly and sociable. After all, it’s your house. All furry guests should be well mannered and healthy, house-trained, current on shots and comfortable around other dogs and people.

Smaller is better; an ideal group is about 3–5 guests, plus their dogs. Canine guests will probably feel more comfortable with a little extra space.

Plan the Menu

Keep it simple: Serve light refreshments, such as sparkling punch, cheese, crackers, a veggie plate with dip and some fun dog bone-shaped cookies (affiliate link).

Cut up some extra carrot sticks for healthy, dog-friendly goodies. Set up a couple communal watering holes in the kitchen; strategically place bowls in opposite corners so dogs can sip in peace.

And what would a holiday party be without a traditional cookie exchange? Well, swap those cookies for dog treats. Ask each guest or couple to bring along a plate of homemade dog treats to share; these make instant party favors and yummy munchies for your furry guests, too.

Before the party gets started, lay down some ground rules, like keeping the dogs on leashes until everyone’s comfortable. By: skirtpr

Create Homemade Invitations

Tickle your guests’ funny bones with handmade bone-shaped invitations. They’re fun and easy to make — all you need is brown construction paper and a little imagination. Or go completely digital with, which offers a customizable selection of free dog-themed invitations.

Request that all dogs arrive on a leash. And let your friends know that it’s OK to bring along their pooch’s favorite dog bed or blanket — or even a beloved snuggle pal.

Share Some Furry Party Protocol

When everyone is settled, kindly but firmly share some basic ground rules:

  • All dogs must remain leashed. (Once the party’s in full swing and the dogs have settled in, it’s up to the group to consider unleashing the dogs.)
  • Eveyone must keep a watchful eye on their dogs at all times.
  • If a dog misbehaves, her guardians should excuse themselves and their pup, and go sit quietly in another room for a brief time-out or take a short walk outside, if necessary.
  • Water bowls and carrot sticks are available in the kitchen for dogs accompanied by their human.

Play Some Party Games

Spot the Dalmatian

Draw a simple outline of a dog on a large piece of white poster board. Cut out a bunch of Dalmatian-like spots from black construction paper. Put a little masking tape or sticky tack on the back.

Using a blindfold, play this game as you would Pin the Tail on the Donkey — and see how well your friends can spot the Dalmatian.

Look for Look-a-likes

Take a good look around the room. How closely do those canines resemble their humans? Vote for your favorite set of look-a-likes.

Have a Talent Show

Many dogs love to perform. And their humans love to show them off. So go ahead and shine the spotlight on your furry guests. Give them both a little incentive — award prizes for best trick, most creative trick, laziest trick or biggest ham.

This game is like a Spin the Bottle and Hit the Piñata hybrid for dogs’ enjoyment:

Tackle Some Doggie Trivia

What’s your dog IQ?

Did you know that all dogs who played television’s Lassie were male? Who was the inspiration for the song “Martha, My Dear,” recorded by the Beatles in 1968? Yes, you guessed it — it was a dog named Martha, Paul McCartney’s beloved Old English sheepdog.

Get some more inspiration from the website of Diva Girlparty planner extraordinaire, and her dog trivia for dog lovers.

Play Musical Hoops

I love this game — we play it every year at the Linda Ann’s Greyhound Rescue annual picnic.

This is both a great party game and training opportunity, where you play it just as you would musical chairs, except with dog-friendly hula hoops. Space hoops equal distances apart on the floor, and when the music stops, everyone commands their dogs to sit inside the closest hoop.

After all the fun and games, count down to midnight — and have a blast doing it with your dog, your dog-loving friends and their partying pups.

Have a happy New Year!

Karen Doll

View posts by Karen Doll
Karen Doll is a freelance writer based in eastern Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing about homeschooling, chicken keeping and pets, gardening, health and wellness, and parenting. She and her husband, David, have 2 grown children — Emily and Jeremy and 3 cats, Kitty, Boo, and The Bean (a.k.a. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

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