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Are you among the percentage of pet owners who throw dog birthday parties? If not, you might be missing out on some big fun — for both you and your dog. And before you decide that it’s the silliest idea ever, think about it: people having fun, dogs having fun — what could be better? We have some tips for throwing a fun, safe, and manageable party to celebrate your dog.

Their birthday, of course. If you don’t know your dog’s actual birthday, choose the day you brought them home, or the day you first met.

This depends on the time of year. In warm weather, your large fenced yard is ideal. If you don’t have a fenced yard, consider your local dog park or a dog beach. For inside parties, you’ll obviously want a dog-friendly locale, like a local doggie daycare or obedience school. Whatever the location, make sure it’s escape-proof.

As much as you may wish to invite every friend you’ve ever had, first take into account your dog’s personality. Is he an outgoing, friendly pup that gets along with people, other dogs, and kids? Or does he prefer the company of a few familiar canine pals? Perhaps your dog is more people-oriented and not comfortable around a lot of other dogs. This should determine who’s invited. Regardless, it’s better not to invite dogs he’s never met; a party isn’t the best place for them to get to know each other.

Get creative and choose a theme or keep it casual. If your dog is into it (and you are into it), this could be the perfect time for a dog costume or hat. Every party needs activities. If it’s hot out, you could fill a kiddie pool, so the dogs can take a dip, or set up a sprinkler. A basket of new tennis balls will entertain your canine guests. Or combine both ideas and fill a kiddie pool with tennis balls: instant bouncy pit for dogs. Fill a bucket of water with tasty snacks, and let the dogs play “bobbing for treats” (maybe one at a time). You could also fill Kong toys with treats and hide them all over the yard. Of course, all of this needs human supervision, since, as with children, what starts out as play can end in a tantrum or a squabble.

Food and Drink
What’s a party without food and drink? For the humans, consider dog-themed treats, like mini-hotdogs and sandwiches cut into bone shapes. How about a big pot of chili served up in a giant dog food bowl and trail mix that looks like kibble? Use dog-themed cookie-cutters to make cookies for your human guests. For drinks, there are several beers with dog-themed names to go along with the usual soda and water.

The birthday dog and his friends deserve some special treats, too. You can whip up some delicious birthday party dog treats that are healthy and tasty. Make sure you place several bowls of fresh water around the venue, too. And, of course, the dog birthday cake (and even dog ice cream, too!). Whether you bake your own with dog-friendly ingredients, or buy a dog birthday cake kit or ready-made dog birthday cake, your dog will enjoy it all the same.

Don’t forget the goody bags. Send your canine guests home with some treats to enjoy after the party’s over.

Dog parties share similarities with children’s birthday parties: lots of excitement and noise, a great deal of mess, maybe some disagreements, fun, and a bit of chaos. There are so few times in life when we can enjoy pure simple happiness, and what could be happier than a bunch of dogs, playing freely, misbehaving joyously, and generally having a great time?

Related article: How to Celebrate Your Dogs Birthday
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