Sure, it may seem a little over the top to some, but why not? After all, it's another reason to party! Of course, dogs will appreciate a party more than most cats or bunnies, but with the right combination of guests, the party will be a fun adventure for everyone.
First, create a guest list and send out your invitations. Your friends from the dog park and those who go out for doggie play dates should be first on the list. It is important to only invite dogs that play nicely and get along well with your dog. Constantly trying to quiet barking dogs or separate dog fights will kill the fun party atmosphere. Invite pets that you know are vaccinated and are healthy. If you aren't sure, you could write at the bottom of your invitation to make sure all animals are vaccinated. Only invite people who are comfortable and enjoy being around dogs. Small children should always be in the company of an adult to monitor their play.
Next, create decorations, gift bags and a menu. Check out Pinterest or your local party store for decoration ideas. Think of paper plates, cups, party hats and napkins with bone or paw prints. Balloons are fun for both children and dogs. Design gift bags and party favors, such as a cleverly decorated bag or mason jar filled with doggie treats to give out to each guest. I've seen adorable dog collar charms tied to the gifts bags. Kids love to help out with creating invitations, decorating and playing party games.
Make sure to hear their ideas and get them involved in the fun. Don't forget to order a doggie birthday cake or research creating your own. The ingredients should be safe for dogs which means no chocolate. I found a good recipe website that I will post at the end of this blog. Also check out Pups 'n Cups to order cakes and treats.
Prepare for you party by setting out a plastic swimming pool in the yard for the pets to cool off. Set up a wire enclosure if your backyard is not fenced in. Place tables for people food high enough so that dogs are not able to reach. Specially mark dog treats or put them into dog bowls so there is no question which treats are for human consumption and which are just for dogs. Keep extra paper towels, poop bags and cleaning products on hand for spills and pet clean-up.
Plan out games to play that are fun for dogs as well as your human guests. I have created a list of just a few:
1) Dunking for Hot Dogs - Fill a tub with 4 or 5 inches of water at the bottom. Place cut up hot dogs in the water. One-at-a-time, give each dog 10 seconds at the tub. Count how many hot dog pieces each dog eats. The most eaten wins a prize.
2) Snoopy Says - Have guests line up with your dogs. When everyone is ready, tell them "Snoopy Says Sit." Guests will then command their dog to sit. The dogs that don't sit are out of the game. This play continues with various commands such as roll over, bark, shake, etc. Guests can only command their dogs if you say "Snoopy Says" first. If not, and the guest commands the dog, they are out of the game. Last dog and guest completing all commands correctly wins a prize.
3) Have a best of show contest, best costume contest, silliest dog trick contest, etc with prizes for each.
4) Doggie treasure hunt - Hide dog bones or toys in the back yard and let guests help their pets find the treasure.
Hire a pet photographer to take some candid and professional photos during your event. I do not charge a session or sitting fee if there are at least 4 dog-owning guests at your party. Images can be viewed and photo packages ordered at the party and mailed to the guest's home. Purchasing a print of each dog at the party for your guests creates a terrific memory for your friends to frame at home.
Parties for other types of animals can also be a lot of fun. Unless your cat is a kitten or a very social cat, I wouldn't try inviting cats to a cat birthday party. But a fun cat-themed party for your cat loving friends is a great idea. Research food items that are healthy for your pet. Create decorations and party games that adults and children can both enjoy.
Dog Cake recipes: http://www.dogtreatkitchen.com/dog-cake-recipes.html
To order Dog Cakes: www.pupsncups.net
To hire a Pet Photographer: www.progressiveportraits.com