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Have you ever hosted a birthday party for your dog? To break up the monotony of pandemic life, I’ve become a huge fan of finding fun things to celebrate, which obviously included my dog Sirius’ birthday on December 26th.
When planning a pandemic puppy birthday party, think about your dog’s favorite snacks, toys, and activities, and include the things your dog likes best in your plans.
One of the wonderful things about dogs is that they don’t experience anticipation or disappointment like humans do – which means they won’t be sad if this year’s birthday isn’t a puppy picnic or some other blowout bash. Your dog will be fully focused on the here and now – what makes your dog’s day special is the opportunity to spend time with you.
Here’s everything you need to know about planning a party for your dog:
When do you celebrate your dog’s birthday?
Dogs are always ready to party. If you don’t know exactly what day your dog was born, he can still host a birthday party. You can choose any day to celebrate and claim it as your dog’s birthday. If you’re looking for a viable option, pick the day your dog first came home – often referred to as “gotcha day”. Gotcha days are special because it’s not just an opportunity to celebrate your dog, it’s the start of your relationship together.
How to find a dog-friendly birthday cake
If you’re looking to bake a cake, there are hundreds of dog-safe cake recipes online, and you can even order box mixes to make it easy.
Are you looking for something less DIY? Dog bakeries make fresh baked goods for your dog’s special day and, just like a human bakery, often have pre-made cakes ready to be picked up.
If you don’t have a dog bakery near you or you don’t want to go out because of the pandemic, you can also have dog-safe cakes shipped straight to your home. I ordered cupcakes from Canine for a birthday party for my older dogs and was impressed with how cute the cakes were and how much my dogs liked them. Other popular options are Okra and Molly and Three Dog Bakery.
Where to find dog-themed party decorations
When my partner and I were planning Sirius’ birthday, we picked up balloons at a local store and used the contactless pickup option. (We said to the cashier, “Our little girl is turning four today,” but didn’t mention our little princess is a drooling Newfoundland weighing 105 pounds.) The balloons were for a delightful birthday photo shoot for Sirius’ Instagram made it and took over a month (and counting)!
Don’t want to tell the party shop that you have a birthday party for your dog? You can purchase dog-specific birthday party packages from Amazon that include balloons, banners, party hats, bandanas, and other decorations for your dog’s special day.
Unlike other aspects of the party, decorations are for people, not the dog. If chewed or eaten, decorations can be harmful to your dog. It is always a good idea to watch your dog around balloons and other decorations.
How to dress your dog in a birthday outfit
Don’t forget to dress your dog up for the special day! Party hats come in a variety of sizes, and the human ones fit most dogs. Dog-specific hats are also available, but it is important to make sure your dog is familiar with any headgear or clothing item.
First, follow these simple steps – make sure you have enough goodies on hand!
If at any point your dog becomes stressed or uncomfortable, take off the outfit immediately and start the process over at your next session. This will help you avoid a birthday breakdown and make the day stress free and enjoyable for your dog.
If your dog is less excited about getting dressed, or you don’t have the time to get your dog used to a new piece of clothing, bandanas can be a great option. Etsy has cute birthday-themed themes, options on the web, and gotcha day bandanas. Be sure to check the measurements of the headscarf to determine which size is right for your dog.
The best gifts for dogs (and dog owners)
Dogs are no exception to loving birthday gifts. If it is possible and safe to do so in your area, taking your dog to a local pet store for their own gifts can be fun. If you’re looking for a gift that you can get all year round, you can sign up your dog for a monthly subscription to BarkBox.
Would you like your dog to open his own gifts? To make it easier for your dog to unwrap presents, you can put a dog treat in the wrapping paper or in the gift box. Show your dog the gift and encourage and praise him for each engagement with the box. Just be careful while your dog is unpacking to make sure he is not chewing or otherwise eating wrapping paper, boxes, or duct tape.
The best birthday party activities for dogs
What better day than a birthday to help your dog do the things he likes best? I like to take Sirius on a water-themed excursion for her birthday, so we often visit the local river, ocean, or plan a private swim in our local dog pool.
If you prefer to keep things close to your home, you and your dog can still have a great time. Let your dog determine the direction you are going, or really let him stop and smell things for as long as he wants without being run with you. It’s also a great time to play tug, haul, or other games that your dog will enjoy. You can also set up a playground in your garden or in your house.