They don’t call dogs “fur babies” for no reason! These tips for planning your dog’s party (birthday or not) will help you celebrate with waggy tails and happy howls.
Life’s too short to be serious about parties. These doggy party tips will help you cover all the bases! If your dog is turning a year old, read How to Plan the Best First Birthday Party.
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My invitations for my last neighborhood party for people featured a photo of my dog wearing a hat, and I was asked if it was a birthday party for dogs. It wasn’t, but I thought…why not? Georgie would love a party with all her doggy friends! So here are my tips for birthday parties for dogs…
6 Tips for Planning a Party for Your Dog
By the way, two of my neighbors brought their dogs to my people party and it was fine because it turned out to be an intimate gathering (in other words, hardly anybody showed up). But the dogs had a blast, and so did the guests who did show up! Always check with the party hosts before bringing your dogs to a party, even if it’s a party for dogs.
1. Make sure you have a fenced in yard and plenty of dog toys
We don’t have a grassy knoll to call our own, but we do have a big deck. We only had to shoo Shore and Georgie out on the deck once because they were wrestling – they’re both very well-behaved dogs, despite their young ages (Georgie is 2½ and Shore is 1½). The third dog, Bob, is an 11 week old puppy that was scared of Georgie and Shore, but loved Georgie’s chew toys!
If your dog is possessive about her chew toys, then it’s better not to have them lying around. Georgie wasn’t possessive at all; in fact, she helped Shore dig through her basket of old marrow bones. If you’re throwing a birthday party for your dog, make sure your yard and house is dog-friendly.
2. Bake a cake for your dog’s birthday
Believe it or not, there are hundreds of recipes for doggie birthday cakes online! I can’t believe it. I’ve made Georgie plenty of doggie biscuits, but never a cake. My favorite recipe is the Peanut Butter Carrot Doggy Birthday Cake over on Brown Eyed Baker.
If you’re too busy to bake a birthday cake for your dog’s party, ask a local dog bakery if they’ll give you a discount in exchange for handing out their business cards at your party. Maybe you’ll get 50% off the cake (dog bakeries can be tres expensive).
3. Don’t tell the Dog Whisperer you’re throwing your dog a birthday party
Cesar Millan thinks North Americans baby their dogs too much as it is. A birthday party would send the Dog Whisperer packing for the hills!
After I wrote this, I searched the internet for “tips for throwing a dog a birthday party” and lo and behold! The Dog Whisperer’s site was number one in the results. I’m shocked! Here’s one of their most interesting tips:
“Pick a theme that best represents your dog. You can coordinate your theme with the type of dog breed that you have. If you have a Dalmatian, for example, decorate your party with black and white party favors. If you have a poodle, throw a “Pink Poodle” party. You can also model your dog’s birthday bash after a famous dog—have a Scooby-Doo or Snoopy themed party. Have a luau party and put dog-friendly leis on guests as they arrive or do a Western theme and have dogs come wearing bandanas around their necks.” – from Dog Birthday Party Planning Guide.
Note that that “birthday party article for dogs” wasn’t written by Cesar Millan. I still think he’d be appalled at the thought of a party for dogs. Just yesterday I heard him on CBC’s Q; he told Jian that dogs don’t express their happiness and excitement with parades or parties.
4. Send your dog’s friends a party invitation through evite
I’m surprised to learn that evite not only has a section dedicated to pet birthday parties, they also have some good tips for doggy parties. Such as…
“Just keep the guest list small and the party time to two hours so the dogs don’t get too stressed with too many animals around for too long. Plus, you need to know that all the guests play well with your pet as well as other dogs, so save introducing your Rex to your new buddy’s Spot for another outing. Should you invite compadres without canines? Only if they’re rabid dog lovers who absolutely adore your pet.” – from Pet Birthday Party Ideas.
Me, I’d print and carry invitations to give out on my neighborhood walks and at the dog park. It’s more personal and fun, especially if you put a photo of your dog on the party invitation!
5. Plan party activities that are dog friendly
A game of tug ‘o war or fetch, anyone? If it’s summertime, fill up a kiddie pool and let the dogs lounge in the cool water.
Instead of having your dog’s birthday party at your home, think about meeting at an off-leash dog park. Let them romp and run off steam together while and your fellow dog lovers relax and trade doggy tips.
It’s probably also a good idea to make sure your canine guests’ human companions know how to deal with their dogs’ problem behaviors. If you know a dog owner who can’t handle his or her dog, then you may want to avoid inviting them to your dog’s party.
6. Encourage donations for your local animal shelter or SPCA
Instead of loading up on dog cookies, toys, and chews, ask your fellow dog owners to bring a few bucks for your local dog shelter. Or, ask them to bring material donations, such as pet blankets, carriers, toys, food, and other products that shelters need.
If your dog eats too much birthday cake, read Causes of Gurgling Noises and Stomach Problems in Dogs.