Dog years and human years might not be quite the same, but we know this much to be true: A dog birthday party can be just as fun, if not more so, as a human birthday. And it’s really not any trickier to organize! (In fact, your pup probably has a lot fewer specifications when it comes to the venue and the menu than some of your two-legged buds.) This is an excuse to throw a party with a bunch of pups, so let’s get down to the doggone details so you can host the most fun dog birthday of all time.
Dog Party Venues
You know what they say: Location, location, location. If you’re going to host the best dog birthday party of all time, step one is to figure out where the action is.
If you or a friend or neighbor (or your dog’s friend or neighbor) have a big, fenced-in yard, that’s an ideal spot. You want to give everyone enough space to run around without having the option to make a break for it and throw an afterparty at a second location. Parks—both dog parks and the human kind—are an obvious go-to, and many cities have some sort of big, cool gazebo or picnic area you can rent or reserve for your pup’s big day.
Of course, weather is a factor for any outdoor birthday venue, so an indoor option might be preferable. Consider dog-friendly breweries near you (just check out our taproom etiquette guide before you go), or look up your local doggy daycare—many have event rooms you can rent for your pup paw-ty.
All in the Details
You know your dog better than anyone, so there are a few things to consider here. Are they going to be chill with a ton of guests around? (And just as importantly… are their friends?) If the answer is yes, go ahead and do your own 101 Dalmatians-type get together. If not, maybe keep the list to a few close, personal canine friends.
Scheduling-wise, a weekday might be chiller if your dog doesn’t love crowds, but weekends tend to make it easier for everyone to gather their pack and get out the door on time. Don’t know your dog’s birthday? That’s ok! You can celebrate on their Gotcha Day too!
Dog Birthday Party Games
No party’s complete without some fun-filled activities! Plus they’re a perfect opportunity to provide your guests with fun toys or delicious treats as prizes. Here are some ideas to keep four- and two-legged guests entertained and happy.
Pin the Tail on the Doggy
Blow up your favorite photo of your dog (check with your local FedEx or office supply store for rates, but it’s pretty affordable), hang it on the wall, and play a classic game of “pin the tail on the doggy.” Don’t forget to blindfold and spin your guests!
Sit ‘n Stay Contest
Put both humans and canines to the test with a simple sit and stay contest. Line everyone up, and see which dog holds their stay the longest.
DIY Dog Photo Booth
Decorate a wall with a fun backdrop, make props using photos of your dog’s face, or use foam board to create a big photo frame, and encourage everyone to snap a souvenir photo. You can even make dog birthday hats for all the guests!
Dog Birthday Party Themes
Next, it’s time to pick a theme… or not! If you’d rather keep it loose, ask yourself: What kind of activities does my dog dig? Is it literally digging? Maybe find a sandbox and bury some new toys in there. If you’re outside in the summertime, set up a sprinkler or a kiddie pool. Need some party theme ideas? Look no fur-ther:
- Pampered pooches (facials, pawdicures, spa’w water–give ‘em the works)
- Costume party
- Pup stars
- Your dog’s fave decade
Dog Party Treats and Snacks
Snacks are crucial when it comes to making sure everyone has a happy dog birthday, and we’ve got plenty of ideas to ensure that everyone leaves with a full belly.
Birthday Treats for Dogs
First things first: Make sure there’s plenty of fresh drinking water available. You can even jazz it up with broth-flavored ice cubes or rubber toys that float.
Next up: treats. Try tracking down a dog bakery nearby—many make dog birthday cakes and customizable canine cookies with your dog’s name, face, or favorite toy. Some pups are lucky to live in a city where there’s a dog treat food truck just for them, many of which are available for birthday parties and private events!
If you have time and baking ability, you can also try your hand at homemade dog treats. There are plenty of recipes out there for biscuits and cakes—most use peanut butter and pumpkin, but otherwise it’s a lot like making baked goods for humans.
Birthday Snacks for Humans
If you want to feed the humans, too, have fun with the dog theme! Throw together some gourmet hot dogs, whip up a batch of puppy chow, and pair the food with a dog-themed cocktail. There’s the Salty Dog (vodka, grapefruit juice, salt), the Colorado Bulldog (vodka, coffee liquor, cream, cola), or a gin and juice (you know, because Snoop Dogg’s always sippin’ on it). There are also many dog-themed beers out there (Chocolate Lab from Wisconsin Brewing is a personal favorite).
Got tips and tricks for throwing the ultimate canine birthday bash? Bark ‘em out in the comments! And please, please tag @sidewalkdog in your doggy birthday pics.