Calling All Party Animals

Ellie parties like a princess for her birthday, photo courtesy of Brittiany Bridges.

Ellie parties like a princess for her birthday, photo courtesy of Brittiany Bridges.

Because people often view their pets as members of the family, throwing birthday parties for dogs has become an increasingly popular way to celebrate man’s best friend. You can celebrate your dog’s actual birthday or the day of their adoption, all while having a tail-wagging good time. Here are some ideas to give your dog a super-fun birthday!

Pick a date on or close to the date of your dog’s birthday. If you adopted your dog and you don’t know the date of birth, make one up and stick to it! Or, if you remember the day you adopted, make it an “adopt-aversery!”

Check your address book for friend’s addresses—preferably friends who have dogs, too, as it will be a puppy play-date. Friends without dogs who enjoy your special birthday pup can join though, as well!

Make invitations. You can order special “dog birthday” invitations or make your own creative ones with craft paper, ribbon, stickers, and/or stamps, and a little glue. Make sure you have your phone number or email on the invitations for RSVP-ing.

You should, of course, have a nice, safe and dog-friendly place to plan your party. But where? Consider your yard. If you have a house with a yard, make sure to check fences for stability. Clean your yard out from any junk, and fence off any “doggie no-no” areas.

If you don’t have a yard, no problem! You can use your local park or dog park. If all of your friend’s dogs are toilet trained, you could have an indoor party. This is especially useful in the winter. In warmer months, consider having your party at the beach! Most dogs absolutely love the beach, and it will be a lot of fun watching dogs bark at the waves! Make sure that animals are allowed at the beach, first, and check any local leash laws.

Decorating the area will make the party much more fun! Draw paw prints leading to your door with sidewalk chalk. Then cut pet-appropriate shapes out of poster board (bones or fire hydrants) and hang them from the ceiling or from trees if you’re having the party outside.

For food, the dogs will be happy with some dog treats, a small amount of kibble or perhaps just a piece of doggy birthday cake. Consider making a dog-friendly birthday cake by finding a recipe online! The human guests will get a kick out of dog-themed appetizers such as mini-hot dogs or chicken salad sandwiches cut into bone shapes with a cookie cutter. A human-friendly dessert is a plus, too, so everyone can share in the birthday-cake fun.

You’ll also need toys and games to keep your dogs occupied. These can be as simple as Frisbees and balls to play games of fetch, or they can be more elaborate. If there are several dogs in attendance, you could have a best dog trick contest. Or, let your canine guests play a game of “bobbing for biscuits,” a spin on the popular “bobbing for apples” party game. Dogs can dive into a bucket of water to retrieve a tasty snack. Another option is to have the dogs and their humans participate in a matching-costume contest with prizes for the winners.

Last but not least, don’t forget your camera. You’ll want to capture memories of your pooch’s birthday celebration.

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