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Pets are family, and what better way to honor a birthday for dogs than to throw a big bash? Whether you host an elegant affair or a casual get-together, read on to learn how to celebrate your dog's birthday in style.
How to Celebrate Your Dog's Birthday
Party planning for your pup is similar to planning a party for a human friend. For example, you'll want to consider location, guests and activities. Of course, keep in mind that your dog is, well, a dog. Dogs interact with the world a bit differently, and it's important to keep their comfort and safety top of mind as you plan.
Where you choose to host the party is one of the most important decisions you'll make. The venue sets the tone, so select a space where you know your dog will feel comfortable enough to let loose. For example, if your pup is a homebody, host a birthday for dogs inside your home or in your backyard. If your dog is territorial or you just don't have the space, consider one of the following:
- Dog park
- Dog-friendly human park
- Doggy beach
- Dog-specific party venue (e.g., a doggy day care center)
Before showing up with a carload of dogs, decorations and gifts, check with the venue beforehand to ensure if and how many party guests (dog and human) are allowed. Time of year and weather conditions are key factors for location, too. Most importantly, make sure there's plenty of drinking water and a designated potty spot for your dog and their furry friends.
To curate the most fabulous invite list for your dog's birthday party, take their temperament into consideration. Does your dog have best friends? Those pups (or humans) make the cut. Is your dog shy or anxious around other dogs? A human-only party is probably your best bet. Your dog is the star of the show, and you want them to feel chill and relaxed. Even if they play well with other dogs, avoid inviting pups they've never met.
When thinking about how to celebrate your dog's birthday with flair, choosing a party theme can be a terrific way to shine the spotlight on your fur baby. Here are some ideas for a themed dog party:
- Beach: You can do this on a doggy beach or in your own backyard.
- Time period: 1980s neon is always a fun and festive party theme.
- Action hero: Dogs and humans can dress up as their favorite characters.
- Seasonal: Celebrate the current season or go with something wacky, like winter in July.
- Age-specific: Check out the children's party aisle for age milestone inspiration, such as 1, 5 and 10.
Once you've chosen a theme, it's time to decorate! Stock up on tableware, banners and, of course, party hats. For a fun DIY project, print your favorite photos of your dog and attach them to cups and plates for instant personalization, making sure everyone knows who the star of the show is. Be sure to avoid decorations with sharp edges or small pieces that can be easily swallowed, such as popped balloons.
Organize party activities for dogs centered around the theme. For example, for a beach theme, toss around inflatable beach balls or stuffed aquatic animals. You can even offer swimming if the location allows it. Regardless of theme, setting up a dog agility course can be loads of fun.
Activities for human guests can include drawing portraits of your dog, coloring printed pages of your dog's breed, playing pin the tail on the doggy and engaging in a game of fetch with dog attendees. Set up a photo booth with plenty of props, including dog masks and dog ear headbands, to capture the moment.
What's a party without a great cake? Opt for dog-specific treats, such as homemade cookies made with dog food or a cake from a dog bakery. Serve up a dog-shaped cake for human guests too, but skip the urge to share with your furry guests. Some common people-party substances are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, caffeine and alcohol, so keep these items out of paw's reach or avoid them altogether. Oil and butter can cause gastrointestinal distress and inflammation in dogs, too, so resist the urge to toss pups table scraps, period.
When deciding how to celebrate your dog's birthday, remember to include lots of praise and pets, and give your dog plenty of space to rest when they need it. Ultimately, a dog party is a wonderful way to show your dog how much you love and appreciate them..
Christine Brovelli-O'Brien is a writer and editor specializing in pets, education, parenting, and hydroponic growing. Christine holds a Ph.D. in English and taught writing and literature in higher education for over 13 years. She's passionate about books, cats, coffee, and magazines.