How to plan a party for your dog

Pets are part of the family too. Here’s your guide on how to plan a party for your dog.

We often attend our friend’s parties but I sometimes attend ‘puppy parties’ too. Although puppy parties may sound indulgent, they are a great excuse for people with a common interest to meet.  Surprisingly, what I have found is that conversation is really easy at these events – social boundaries are dissolved, while attention is focused on dogs having fun.  

Sure, some parties can be extravagant but what we’ve found is that simple is best. With a little time and a small budget, it is easy to plan a party for your dog. 

Tips to plan a party for your dog

Save the date and send those (digital) invitations

There are many dog-friendly locations you can choose to host your party. A neutral, public, dog-friendly space will help overcome any potential territorial issues. Ensure you include clear directions for the location in your invitation.

You can use one of the many free digital apps available to create a pretty invitation to share via Instagram (direct message or public post) and with relevant Facebook communities. Consider also creating a Facebook event page for your pawty. Some of the best fun we’ve had is attending a snag-pawty where we didn’t know anyone! Don’t be shy - your dog will help you start conversations immediately. Share your invitation online a few weeks before the party and a couple of reminders – one around three days before and one the morning of your pawty.

Get the pawty started

The good thing about dogs is that they’re easily amused! But it wouldn’t be a dog party without some games to help the pawty guests burn off some energy. A combination of dog-only and human and dog games are sure to get everyone involved:

  • First past the post – take two pieces of rope or streamers, one will be the start line and one will be the finish line. Lay the rope parallel about 15 metres apart. Ask each owner to line their dog up behind the starting line. One adult (or child under supervision) then stands behind the finish line with a bag of doggy treats. On the command, all dogs are released and most should run towards the treats behind the line. Every dog is a winner with a treat. Repeat two or three times to burn that energy!
  • Scavenger hunt – scatter some small dog treats and toys throughout the park for the dogs to enjoy their natural instinct to follow a scent. They’ll love the surprises they find.
  • Agility games – a variation of agility activities are always fun. We have an old cat tunnel that small dogs love to run through, a few balls and even a frisbee for the more agile dogs are easy and fun pawty games.
  • Play – some dogs just love to play with each other. Simply being with other dogs is a treat for many, so that could be the most fun of all!
Dog with balloons

Hip, hip, hooray!

 What dog doesn’t love food?! Dogs will love these easy, low-cost and healthy treats you can make for all to share during the pawty. If you have extra time available, pop a few of each treat in a doggy-bag for guests to take home. A brown paper bag tied with colour-string or paw-print ribbon is on-trend and an eco-friendly alternative to plastic or cello bags.

If it’s a birthday you’re celebrating, search online for dog-friendly cake recipes. You’ll be sure to find a recipe for even the most discerning palette. Or, if you prefer to outsource this step, there are many dog pawtisseries, specialising in dog-friendly cakes and cookies.

Good dog citizenship

As the Host, it’s your responsibility to ensure a wagging-good time for all. Help your guests practice good dog citizenship with these easy steps:

  • Choose a location that is dog-friendly, safe and secure. Consider a park or beach that you are familiar with to eliminate any surprises and potential hazards.
  • Make sure you have plenty of fresh water and water bowls available to keep the dogs hydrated.
  • Be mindful that with food and toy treats, some dogs may become possessive. Always ensure dogs are supervised.
  • Find a transparent jar, tie some ribbon around it and stuff it full of poop bags. No poop should be left behind!
  • Finally, remove any decorations, directional signs and debris before you leave. The environment should be left in the same (or better!) condition as when you arrive.

Pet care can be fun and you can host a pawty to celebrate graduation from puppy school, a birthday or a seasonal occasion such as Halloween or Christmas (it’s fun to add a fancy-dress element to these). 

Remember to reduce your dog’s daily food intake to compensate for any food-treats eaten at the pawty. Above all, enjoy meeting new friends and have fun!

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