Whether you celebrate your pup's actual birthday or the day he came home from the shelter, a puppy birthday party is a great excuse to have fun with your pet and some of your favorite fellow dog lovers.
The first step in planning your party is to pick the location. If your friends are bringing their pooches, you may not want to have it at your house. Even if you have a large backyard there is cleanup after the dogs to consider. Think about local dog-friendly or dog-devoted areas. Many cities have dog parks specially designed for doggy socializing, and some cities even have dog-friendly beaches that can be an ideal setting for dogs and owners alike.
Once you have selected the location, determine who you will invite. Consider how large the location is so the party doesn't get overcrowded. Dogs, like small children, need a place to run and frolic, and many dogs can become excitable when around other dogs. Take into account the age and breed of dogs to ensure similar activity levels. If there are several enthusiastic puppies in attendance, older dogs may not appreciate their playfulness and become annoyed or agitated. Similarly, make sure you know whether the dogs you are inviting get along well together.
Check that vaccinations are up to date and all animals have been spayed or neutered. You don't want your party to lead to a host of other unexpected birthday parties. If children are involved, it is even more important to consider the dogs that will be in attendance and the space allotted. Do not invite any dogs that have displayed signs of aggression in the past.
There are a number of dog-themed party activities you can plan to keep the party exciting for dogs and people alike. Let owners compete with their pooches for best dog trick. Make awards to give out for best behaved, most humorous, best eater, best barker and friendliest dog.
There are many owners who dress up their dogs, so consider holding a doggy fashion show with an emcee who announces the dog, breed and owner and describes the doggy ensemble as the dog is walked down an impromptu runway. Set up an obstacle course that owners can run their dogs through and give out prizes for best time, best effort and most enthusiastic performance.
If your space is large enough, have Frisbee tossing events. Keep children entertained with crafting activities like decorating dog bowls, collars or picture frames. Create a rescue center where each child can adopt a small toy dog.
Everyone can join in the fun during a game of Simon Says dog style, with commands like roll over, sit, lay down or run in a circle. In hot weather, set up a wading pool to keep dogs cool. Provide enough toys, balls and bones to offset potential bad behavior during down time.
Try an online pet marketplace such as adog.co to choose fun toys for your party. Some doggy favorites include plush animals, furry iBalls! Silly Squeaker toys, Rainbows & Puppy Dogs Dog Toy Pack with flower design squeaker tennis balls and a champagne bottle chew toy, and dog chew ropes which are perfect for tug of war competitions. Focus on toys that are interactive, good for dental hygiene and keeps your dog and their guests active and playful.
Food and music also can be dog themed. Create a variety of bone shaped sandwiches and cookies, and make puppy dog cupcakes decorated to look like different breeds. Put together a song list including favorites like "Who Let the Dogs Out," "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" and "You Ain'tNothin' but a Hound Dog." A quick Internet search can help you create a list of old time classics mixed with recent releases.
Remember to have snacks, food and lots of water available for dogs and ask guests to bring special food for their dogs, if necessary. Be aware of allergies to avoid unnecessary trips to the vet.
With a little planning and foresight you can create a one-of-a-kind doggy celebration that's fun and safe for all.