It’s your dog’s special day. Maybe you know their real birthday or maybe you’ve simply picked a date to celebrate — either way, you’re ready to shower your furry friend with some truly memorable festivities. In a day and age when nearly 50 percent of Americans have a dog — many considering themselves “pet parents” rather than dog owners — there’s never been a better time to throw an epic dog birthday party. A dog birthday party, you may ask? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered with all the adorable trends and tips for hosting a fiesta your dog will never forget.
1. Send Party Invites
First things first: make a dog-friendly guest list. Invite your canine and human pals, being mindful of dogs that get along well with each other and, depending on your party guests, with children, too. Select a few of your dog’s favorite friends that they enjoy playing with. Then comes the fun: picking the perfect invite. A handwritten invite is sweet and to the point but you can also go all out with a note attached to a toy or bone too.
2. Make Tasty Pupcakes
Turns out many DIY dog treats are easy to make with ingredients you likely have around the house (and tasty enough you might be tempted to take a bite). For a summertime shindig, keep the oven off and whip up some frozen berry treats or try a pupsicle: mix low-sodium beef, chicken, or vegetable broth with 2/3 cup of water, then shake and freeze. If you’d prefer something you can pop a candle into (and be careful! Dogs don’t totally get fire), try any of these 10 recipes for pupcakes — your dog will be begging for more.
3. Give Dog-Friendly Favors
For this piece of the puzzle, you’ve really gotta get in the mindset of a dog. What do you most want in life? Mmm . . . treats! Kongs! More treats! Take a fresh spin on your favorite party favors and pack up a special cellophane bag filled with awesome treats. Pups want party favors just like the rest of us, try these easy and cheap treats for each dog to make them feel extra special. Toss in a bouncy spiny ball, stuffing-free fox, or a simple rope or flying disc, and you’re in business.
4. Play Dress-Up
Get your guests into the birthday party spirit with some custom dog party hats like these from Etsy. Some dogs may be more inclined to sport their hats than others, and that’s OK – don’t wanna force the issue. They may kick them off immediately but make sure you get a picture with them all first for the memories. But if you have a clothing-inclined canine, you could even pick up a personalized birthday outfit so they’re looking especially cute for their special day.
5. Have a Doggy Piñata
When in doubt, give a dog a bone. Pack a piñata full of dog treats — it’s fun for everyone at the party. Clear out the dogs and have the humans go at it with a blindfold. Then . . . release the hounds! The dogs will go wild for the treats, and the humans will enjoy reclaiming their youth. Since smashing away at an actual dog feels kinda weird, we recommend this adorable bone-shaped piñata instead.
6. Send Dogs on a Scavenger Hunt
Take a cue from a classic easter egg hunt and send your canine guests around the yard on a treat-filled scavenger hunt. Fill colorful Kongs (or your favorite fillable dog toy) with treats and scatter them throughout the yard. Then let your dogs sniff out the goods. They’ll enjoy the hunt and the reward; you’ll enjoy watching them go wild.
*Note: Actual plastic easter eggs can crack or even wind up eaten by overzealous dogs, so it’s important to supervise and only use dog-safe toys.*
At the end of the day, celebrating your dog’s birthday is all about appreciating the bond you share with your best friend. So enjoy their company, have a treat, and do whatever it is you two love best, whether that’s taking a hike, curling up on the couch, or playing an extra game of fetch. Nothing can compare to that companionship our dogs provide, so give your dog a little extra TLC and have a happy birthday!