Nothing says happy birthday like throwing a party for your dog. But when it comes to our dogs, while many young puppies love some extra attention and will play with others on their special day, as our pooches grow up they are likely to become selectively social rather than be a party animal.
In fact, a recent survey carried out by the team at tails.com has revealed that one in four (23%) dog owners across the UK have thrown a birthday party for their fluffy friends, but more than a quarter (27%) said that it was a party for just them and their dog.
While it’s great to want to make your pooch the centre of attention on their birthday, it’s important to arrange a party for your dog that you know they will enjoy.
With this in mind, the team of specialists at tails.com have shared their top tips on how to throw a stress-free party for your four-legged friend, using their brand-new Party Pack, and behaviourist Carolyn Menteith has revealed how to keep your pets safe and happy on their special day.
Who to Invite
Before you even think about putting a guest list together for your pooch’s birthday, it’s important to consider if your dog would even want a birthday party at all.
Like humans, dogs can become selectively social as they get older and may far prefer spending one on one time with their owners – after all you are the main love of their life. For many dogs their idea of the best party possible, is a day where you spend a day doing all the things your dog really loves doing.
If you know that a party with their friends is something your canine companion would love, then why not invite them over to join in on the celebrations?
Top Tip: “If you’re throwing a party and plan to invite your dog’s friends, it is important to limit your guest list to dogs in your household or those that your pooch is friends with and knows well.
Parties can be stressful enough for our four-legged friends as it often changes their daily routine, and adding dogs that they don’t know into the mix can cause unnecessary stress and behaviour problems.
If you stay in touch with your dog’s breeder, you could think about having a joint party with others from your dog’s litter. These parties often work better as “getting together for an on-lead walk” type celebration – as despite being family, these dogs will not have seen each other since they were babies and you don’t want any family feuds!”
Deciding the Paw-fect Location
Once you have decided who will be attending your dog’s party, the next thing to consider is the venue.
If it is just you and your dog, you will already know the places they love to go to – so it might be the beach, or a forest, or a long, rambling country walk ending up at a pub, or back at home for some tasty treats and some games.
If you are inviting others, you need to make sure you choose somewhere with plenty of space. If your pooch and other attendees are small, finding a location where they all have enough space to play if they want to – and get away from everyone if they need some ‘me time’ – shouldn’t be too hard.
However, it is important to remember that even if you have a large garden, your pooch may be territorial and feel uncomfortable having other dogs in their space so this is best for dog friends who are regular visitors.
Instead, it might be better to consider a field that is secure so your dogs have plenty of space to socialise and relax with their friends.
Top Tip: “If you decide your garden is big enough and your dog doesn’t mind sharing the space with their friends, it’s important to make sure that the area is safe so they can roam free and any play is safe.
Making sure there are no hazards like garden tools lying around, covering ponds and pools, and checking all fencing are just a few of the ways you can keep partying dogs safe while enjoying the celebrations.”
Food and Drink For The Dogs
All the best parties have great food and throwing the ultimate dog-friendly party for your pup doesn’t need to be any different. However, feeding dogs together can cause conflict so it’s important that it is managed carefully.
Why not bake a batch of Pupcakes for your dog and their friends to enjoy, using peanut butter and other dog-friendly ingredients?
Or for something a bit different to treat your excitable pups, you could also whip up a Birthday Cake in a Mug. Just add together banana, egg and peanut butter in a mug and then pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds.
Top Tip: “If you are giving your canine party guests birthday treats, check for any dietary issues any of the dogs might have first.
“When it comes to serving up the treats, keep a good distance between the dogs and have each owner feed their own pup, to avoid any jealousy or potential arguments over food.”
Think Carefully About the Theme
Now you know how to handle food, the guest list and where to have a party, the next thing you may consider is the theme.
If you are keeping it a bit more low-key for your pooch’s party with some one-on-one bonding time, you don’t have to go all out with an extravagant theme. A ‘party’ for your four-legged friend could involve something as simple as taking them on a fun walk or a sniffari. The important thing is that you are devoting the day to your dog doing the things you know they love to do – that is the very best theme.
In fact, according to a recent survey, almost a third (31%) of pet parents celebrate their fluffy friend’s birthday by taking them on an extra long walk.
For those that know their dog will love an all-out theme for their birthday, it’s important to consider what your pup will actually enjoy and what won’t become too overwhelming.
Top Tip: “When it comes to themed parties, it’s important to remember that while humans might love fancy dress, your dog won’t! Dogs communicate with each other (and us) using body language and wearing costumes mask all this ‘dog talk’ and can easily lead to misunderstandings.
“Not only that but wearing clothes is totally unnatural for dogs and so can be stressful or worrying. Most dogs are used to wearing a collar however so if you really want them to have some party wear, bandanas could be the perfect solution.” Carolyn said.
Keep Decorations Out of Reach
There’s nothing like some decorations and balloons to really make parties feel special, but it’s important to be cautious when kitting out your space for your dog’s party.
For example, if decorations such as balloons and streamers are not kept out of reach then they can present a serious choking hazard for our dogs if they get their paws on them.
Not only that but balloons can be really scary for our four-legged friends because of the loud noise that they make when they pop.
It is therefore best that if you decide to decorate your party space, decorations are kept out of reach of our dogs.
Top Tip: “Wrapping presents in plain paper or even inside empty cardboard tubes or lightweight boxes can give your dog a great fun and enriching party game to play as they work out (with your help) how to unwrap their present.
“Avoid typical party wrappings as they can often contain glitter that can upset your dog’s digestive system.”
No matter what you choose to do for your dog’s special day, make sure you give them the day that they would want if they could choose.
Find out more about the Party Pack Below:
Time to celebrate your dog! The Party Pack is perfect for birthdays, adoption days, just because, and any other special occasion you can make up to treat your dog. It’s bursting with your dog’s favourite things, a tasty biscuit bone ready for you to decorate, Ollie the Octopus – a new tough, squeaky and tuggable chew toy from Beco – two packs of our tasty treats and a ‘party animal’ bandana so you can dress your pup up in style. Just watch out for zoomies during the grand unboxing.