animals at a party

Dog Party Planning Guide

Planning a party for your favorite pup can be a lot of fun.  Here the Onpets guide to help you and your canine fur babies have a blast.

Who is the Party for Anyway??

First things first: As you are planning your party for your canine fur baby, remember to base the party activities on what your fur baby will actually enjoy OR just admit that the party is really for you and your friends!  We all tend to anthropomorphize our pets to a certain degree and most of us now consider ourselves to be “pet parents” not “pet owners” so some blurring of the borders between what is for you and what is for your canine baby is inevitable but here are some things to consider as you plan:

  • Take your canine companion’s particular temperament into account when deciding what to do to celebrate her.
  • Loud noises, noise makers, exploding balloons and people jumping out of cakes generally will NOT be appreciated by your pup.
  • If your pup is sociable with other dogs, invite your friends and their pups but make sure all of the invitees are also well socialized.
  • Avoid party favors which might become choking hazards, have sharp edges or might cause possessive behavior (e.g. a favorite toy or treat).

OK, Let’s Have Some Fun!

  • dog hatSet a date, time and location and send out invitations:
    • Include dogs who are socialized and/or who already know your pup.
    • If the party will include food/treats, make sure to let all pet parents know in case anyone has a food-aggressive pup.
    • Also include the pet parents and specify if human children are invited. Not all dogs enjoy the company of a group of noisy, rowdy human children.
    • When you pick the location, make sure it will accommodate the whole group comfortably as well as any activities you have in mind. Remember that dogs will cover a lot more ground than you and your friends will so allow for plenty of room for romping.  You may want to have the party at a dog-friendly park or beach.  Check ahead of time for any special permits or regulations applicable to larger group of dogs and people.
    • If you have a Golden Retriever or other water-loving dog and you have a pool, decide if you want the party to include belly flops into the pool and the exponentially increased mess level in the yard and house.
  • Meet and Greet. As the guests begin to arrive, introduce each one to your dog and to each other. Even though they may know each other, they’ve probably interacted in the neighborhood or in a dog park which is ‘neutral’ territory for most pups.  However, your pup may react differently when other dogs – even ones he knows – come up to your front door.  So, be vigilant, watch the body language and give them time to establish the relationship in the new setting of your home.  If you hold the party in a park or on the beach, this will be much less of an issue.
  • FOOD! It’s all about the treats:
    • Food at a dog party is a tricky issue:
      • Do you put bowls of treats out for free feeding?
      • Do you have a canine-friendly birthday cake (without any burning candles, of course) and ice cream? If you want to have a cake and ice cream, make sure it is appropriate for dogs (e.g. DON’T make your pup a chocolate cake).
      • Do you give treats as rewards for participation in activities?
    • dog in a party hatCheck with all the pet parents to see if any of the canine guests is allergic to anything. Remember that certain things we associate with treats, like chocolate, are NOT good for our canine fur babies.  Avoid all of these potentially dangerous foods and substances for dogs and pup-proof your house and yard (if the party is at your home) before the party starts.
    • Once you decide how and when you will be providing the food, you can make your own, using some of these Onpets recipes or buy commercial treats. If you buy, get the treats your pup loves and have plenty of them to share.
    • PROVIDE LOTS OF FRESH WATER: The pups will all be running around and will get thirsty so provide large water bowls around the party area and refill as necessary.
  • FUN! Let’s play!
    • You know what the birthday dog likes so plan activities he will enjoy with his canine buddies.
    • Have plenty of balls, Frisbees, rope toys, squeaky/squeeze toys available.
    • Fill various size Kongs with treats and hand them out to the party guests.
    • For the water lovers, fill a kiddie pool with balls and let them splash in and out of the pool.
  • Chillax! Make sure to provide a quiet, shaded area for dogs to retreat to when they want a bit of down time or just need to get away from the activities.  Each dog has his own energy level and some may want to stretch out under a chair, in the shade or near their human to recharge the batteries before rejoining the fun.
  • Take-away Treats. Everyone likes a bit of swag so put together a dog-friendly goodie bag with home-made (or store-bought) treats, a toy or ball and maybe a little something for the pet parent.

Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your canine baby’s birthday, have fun!

©Onpets, LLC 2017.  All rights reserved.

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