Sunday, 12 August 2012

Birthday Party Tips - Gone To The Dogs

Dear Pet People,

The family is celebrating!  Our sweet boy Harry is turning 8 years old and we've decided to have a paw-ty! Of course, Harry doesn't have a clue that he's going to be the birthday boy.  The party's more for us, actually; a way for us to get together and enjoy the wonderfulness that is Harry!

Celebrating a pet's birthday is becoming more and more common.  The Purina Pet Institute suggests that about 43% of owners commemorate their dog's birthday or adoption date.  Whether you mark the occasion with a new toy, extra snuggles, or a themed bash, dog birthdays are yet another indication of the importance of pets in our lives.

Harry's party will be a fairly simple affair.  If you decide, however, to make your dog's birthday a tricked-out social event, here are some handy tips to get the party started.

Choose the Date

Plan the party on or around your dog's actual birthday (if you know it), or on the date of his/her adoption.

Choose the Location

If you plan to invite 4-legged friends and their people, make sure your home or backyard can accommodate the whole group.  If your dog has lots of dog friends who are well socialized, consider gathering in a local park (with leashes attached) or in a leash-free area for dogs.

Invite the Guests

Be sure that all invited doggy guests are healthy, up-to-date with vaccines, are spayed/neutered and friendly with dogs and people alike.  

Don't forget to mention to your people guests that dogs will be in attendance.  This is especially important for those with allergies and special consideration will be needed for children who may be attending the dog-party. 

Try to ignore any eye rolls you may get when you invite people to a dog birthday party!  Some people just don't get it.

Plan the Party Food

Fresh water for the dogs is essential.  Treats for dogs should be limited and simple. No one wants to deal with the after effects of a pooch with an upset tummy!

Stick to well tolerated treats such as apples, carrots, watermelon or plain dog cookies. 

A dog birthday cake is a must-have. You can either bake your own or order it from one of the many dog gourmet shops opening in larger urban areas.  Each dog should have only a few spoonfuls of the "cake". Use individual plates in order to avoid disaster!

Since Harry is on a low-protein, wheat free diet, I will be baking his cake.  This should be interesting and I'll let you know how it goes!

Don't forget about nibbles and drinks for your people guests!


Honestly, if your dog is fortunate enough to have a family who plans a birthday party for him/her, they're are already quite lucky, and don't need gifts.  Most people are very aware of the plight of animals in shelters.  Consider asking guests to bring donations of clean bedding, toys or blankets for dogs in shelters - or guests could make a cash donation to an animal welfare organization.


Decorations are always fun!  Select a theme and let your imagination run off-leash!  Paw Prints, Rocker Chic, Ultimate Frisbee, Prince or Princess, Hawaiian are just the beginning of party theme ideas.  

Be sure that all decorations are safely out of reach of the dogs - some dogs will eat anything and everything.


Always make sure the pets are properly supervised.  (Depending on the human crowd you roll with, this tip may apply to them as well!)  Make sure the backyard or home is secured so that no one wanders off.  Be sure there are no choking hazards within the dogs' reach and keep any food or beverages served to people guests away from the dogs as well.

This is a photo-shopped image - never put lit candles close to your dog.

Small children and dogs always need to be supervised when they are together.

Clean Up 

Life happens .... you will need a supply of poo-bags, paper towel and stain remover!

Have Fun!

Dogs are in our lives for such a short time - and yet they rapidly become loved and valued family members.  Take lots of pictures and create lots of memories!

Enjoy your pets,


Coming up next - A Dog Birthday Cake Recipe