Dog Birthday Parties

Lucy loves birthdays!
Lucy loves birthdays!

Hosting a dog birthday is great fun and can be a little bit hectic.  Below are some tips to help organize a fun party experience for you, your dog, and your dog's buddies.  

  1. A dog party is fun with just the guest of honor, but the fun factor increases exponentially with each dog on the guest list.  Plan early, to give dogs and their owners plenty of time to RSVP to your dog's special day.    
  2. Location is important, if you don't have a fenced-in backyard to accomodate all the raucous play that will surely ensue, check with your local off-leash dog park to see what their policies are regarding parties.  If you're holding the party in a public place, make sure to bring extras so that no one is left-out.  
  3. Pick a fun theme and plan on taking loads of pictures.  Pirate, cowboy/cowgirl, princess, luau, all are potentially super fun ideas and have loads of supply options readily available at your local party supply store.  
  4. I always make sure beforehand that my camera is ready to rock n' roll with fresh batteries so that no silliness goes uncaptured.  Some dogs are okay with wearing birthday hats, and some will hate your guts for it.   In my experience treats help take the sting out of moments of indignity just a little.
  5. There are lots of snack options, but make sure there are people friendly treats as well as dog-friendly treats, and that the people friendly treats are mostly dog-safe.  Some dogs are very opportunistic, and are ninja-like in their swiping of unatttended food.  Cupcakes are always a crowd pleaser, and are far more wieldy than sheet cakes if you're traveling.  (Four dark brown M&Ms or Junior Mints, and a small Peppermint Patty make for a sweet dog paw print when placed on the top of a cupcake.)  
  6. If it's feasible for you, dog ice cream is where it's at.  Many grocery stores carry it in their ice cream novelty aisles, and it is often on sale. These treats were the handsdown fan favorite at Zoey's first birthday party.  It sounded horrendous- being cheese and peanut butter flavored, but I've never seen dogs enjoy a treat more; it was absolutely hysterical to watch Lucy, Ram, Daisy, and Zoey enjoy their first dog ice cream.  One of them enjoyed his so much he took it outside, so as not to be disturbed by any of the others.
  7. Which brings me to another point...  Make sure that snack-time is closely supervised and that guests have tons of space to enjoy their treats.  Some dogs are naturally a little food aggressive, and an uncontrolled snack-time-free-for-all could cause even the most steady and gentle dogs to freak out.   Having a group of dogs go into berzerker mode is no good, and can get scary fast.
  8. If your human guests are beer drinkers, feel free to up the hokey-ness factor by offering dog-centric beers such as any from Flying Dog Brewery, or the Thirsty Dog Brewery which offers the fun and ever-bawdy Old Leghumper porter.  There are bunches of options to really go big here.  
  9. A great way to thank your guests for attending your dog's special day is to put together some party favors.  Treat bags are always appreciated, and homemade dog biscuits are a thoughtful and lovely touch. You can get as Martha Stewart-y here as you like, making elaborate ones with fun icing designs, or if you prefer, you can stick to road-tested purchased treats.  A bonus of treat bags is that they can be repurposed in the event that a bag-emergency arises.
  10. Most importantly have fun!  Dogs are great at improvising all kinds of fun and creative uses of space, and having a party is a fantastic way to celebrate another year with your canine companion.  Dogs know how to party and it's a great opportunity for human and dog socialization alike.   

Dog ice cream is a great thing, and a fan favorite.
Dog ice cream is a great thing, and a fan favorite.

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