Our dogs are our companions, our friends and part of our family, so what better way to honor your pet than celebrating their special day with a birthday party?
Dog parties can be tons of fun, not just for dogs but also for the kids and grownups, too. And hey, don’t sweat it if you don’t know your dog’s actual birthday; their adoption day works too, especially if you have a rescue.
However, no party can happen without a little planning first. Here are some ideas to help you create the best dog birthday party ever.
Of course, we all want to have a good time, but it’s not fun for anyone if someone gets hurt. Here are some good tips to make sure your party is safe and fun for everyone involved.
- Make sure the doggies invited are comfortable around people, children, other dogs and even other animals if you have them (cats, pocket pets, etc.).
- Try to invite dogs who have already met. There will be a lot going on, and the less unknown stimuli for the dogs, the less stressful it will be for them — and for you.
- If pets are new or haven’t met, have them meet 1-on-1 before entering the party. This will help them become accustomed to all the excitement they’re bound to experience.
- Parents need to stay for the party and be responsible for their pets. Often at kids’ birthday parties, it’s OK to leave and come back in a couple of hours; it’s a little different with dogs. People should stay to supervise their pups.
- Make sure children are comfortable around the dogs. Sometimes the dogs aren’t the problem. It’s important to reiterate this with parents just in case, especially with small children who may not understand how to interact with dogs just yet.
- Having your fiesta outside? Be sure to watch the weather closely. If possible, hold the party on a day that won’t be too hot or too cold. If it’s hot, have a couple of kiddie pools filled with water for the dogs to cool off in. If it’s cold or snowy, section off an area inside where the dogs can warm up.
- It’s not a bad idea to have a few phone numbers on hand — for example, the number of a local veterinarian in case of an emergency or the ASPCA poison control hotline (888-426-4435) in case one of your canine guests gets into something they shouldn’t.
Location, Location, Location
You will need lots of space to accommodate your canine friends. Maybe a doggie daycare in your area hosts parties. Some locations in your town may also allow for a dog get-together; call your town hall to find out if there’s a local dog park or other park that allows gatherings with pets.
If you decide to hold your party at a public location, just be mindful that other people and dogs may be in the area.
It’s All Fun and Games
So now you have all your doggie friends over, so let’s have some fun! Here are a few party ideas sure to make your dog’s big day the talk of the town:
- Doggy fashion show: Who doesn’t love dogs in costume? Not only will it be endlessly entertaining, but you’ll be able to look back on the photos for years to come. Just be sure the dogs are comfortable donning a costume.
- Agility contest: This can be as intense or low-key as you want, from simple sit, lie down, stay commands to obstacle courses. Of course, you’ll want to have prizes for the winners.
- Photo booth: It’s a fancy thing to do, yes, but just imagine the great pictures that could come out of this experience. Be sure to provide gear for pets and people to wear in the booth, like wigs, hats, mustaches, etc.
Food at the Party
No party is complete without food. Of course, you’ll want to provide munchies for both your human and canine guests. While you may already have party staples that are sure to satisfy your human guests, you may not have too many canine recipes in your collection.
Most dog-safe food recipes are simple to make, and you can find plenty of ideas in Petful’s Recipe Collection.
Beware of foods that are not safe for dogs. And, just like children, some dogs may have food allergies or be on a special diet for medical reasons. Consider putting a little list of ingredients next to each dish so people know if it’s safe for their pets to eat.
Some dogs may also experience food aggression. Make sure people understand that if their dog has a problem with food aggression, they need to keep a close eye on them during snack time. And finally, have plenty of water bowls around for your canine friends, and some poop bags and poop stations in case of any accidents.
Check out Mishka’s sweet birthday party:
Wrapping It Up
Don’t be too surprised if, after 2 hours or so, your guests are feeling a little spent and ready to get going. Dog parties are certainly a lot of fun, but they can be a little exhausting and overstimulating, especially for our canine companions.
That being said, hosting a birthday party for your dog is sure to be a fun and memorable experience for everyone. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have plenty of great laughs and good times to last you at least until the next birthday.
You may even consider, in lieu of gifts, a donation the ASPCA or local animal shelter. This way your party not only benefits your dog and all of their friends but also makes the day a little brighter for other dogs too.
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This article was written by Kristene Carroll, a certified veterinary technician. She worked for 10 years in general practice and now works in specialty doing anesthesia and surgery. She lives in Massachusetts with her boyfriend and 3 dogs.