Decades ago, dog birthday parties were not the norm. Today’s pet parents celebrate with gusto. In fact, party supplies are just one contributor to the total amount spent on dogs, cats and other companion animals in the U.S. each year, which the American Pet Products Association estimates at $55.5 billion for 2013.
If you have never thrown your dog a party before, or if you want to improve on your dog’s traditional birthday party, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:
Do keep the location in mind when putting together the guest list.
A large yard or dog park makes the best location for a birth or adoption day party, but if using a small yard or indoor space, keep guests to a number that won’t create a crowded feeling. Dogs need room to run!
Do bring dog-friendly food and drinks.
Bring a birthday cake for the pups. PawNation offers an excellent recipe for making a dog-safe cake, or a neighborhood pet supply store may sell such cakes. If celebrating in summer, you can opt for doggie ice cream cups instead.
Photo by Mackenzie Black via Flickr
Keep multiple bowls filled with fresh eater and bring beverages for the humans. Skip feeding them, though. You want the pups to spend the party playing, not begging for people food.
Dog-themed decorations for kid parties work just as well when celebrating a dog’s birth or adoption day. Bone-shaped cutouts to hang from trees and paw-print balloons are typically among the offerings. To create a centerpiece for the table on which the cake will sit, tie balloons to a fresh floral arrangement. Take advantage of flower delivery and have one less errand to run, but check the toxic and nontoxic plant list on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website before placing your order.
Do ask for donations in lieu of gifts.
Your pup likely does not need any more toys. Ask guests to instead bring a monetary or product donation for your favorite local animal charity. You can even get a list from the organization ahead of time and include items on the invite that meet its specific needs. You also can suggest they make a donation in your dog’s name to a national charity such as Dogs on Deployment, which supports pet owners in the military, or the ASPCA.
Do plan fun activities for the dogs.
This can include bringing a bucket of balls—always have more than the number of pups invited to avoid fights—or a bubble gun like the one by Bubbletastic, which makes bacon-flavored, nontoxic bubbles. You can find it through online retailers such as Amazon.
Photo by spliltojill via Flickr
Don’t invite dogs with known aggression issues.
Speaking of fights, do not invite animals with known aggression issues. You have a responsibility as host to create a safe environment for all of your guests. If unsure about a dog’s behavior, talk to the pet parent before extending an invitation.
Photo by ralph and jenny via Flickr
Don’t let rough play escalate.
Rough play happens. At a dog party, overstimulation can cause a pup to take it too far. Keep an eye on guests as they play and do not be afraid to ask a pet parent to pull their dog away for breaks as needed. You can also learn more about rough play vs. dog fights and how to handle a fight safely if it happens with this helpful article from the ASPCA.
Photo by edgygrrrl via Flickr
Don’t invite people who don’t like dogs.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be tempted to include friends or family members who adore your dog but not others. Avoid doing so, or you will spend the party worrying about your four-legged guests giving them unwanted attention.
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Bio: Val Heart – Expert animal communicator, speaker, bestselling author & master healer, Val is often called The Real Dr Doolittle™ and Animal Communicator to the Stars. Founder of The HEART System™ for solving problems with pets. Get your Free QuickStart to AnimalTalk Course at http://www.animaltalkcoachingclub.com
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