Let’s Throw a Dog Party!
Americans are obsessed with our dogs. Why wouldn’t we be? Dogs don’t judge us. They love us unconditionally and they are way more consistently cuddly than even the most affectionate partner. It’s not surprising that the vast majority of dog owners consider their fur friends to be part of the family. So, why not celebrate your best friend by throwing her a party and inviting all of her friends?
What is a Dog Party?
If you mention to your non-dog friends that you’re throwing a dog party, they’ll probably mock you mercilessly. You have two options. You can either realize that you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life or you can invite them and show them that a dog party is as much for the humans as it is for our four-legged friends, and even your most avid dog hater friend can’t deny the cuteness! Okay, you probably shouldn’t have dog hater friends.
Who Should You invite
Throwing a dog party can be a bit more risky than throwing a kid’s party. For everyone’s safety, you should only invite dogs that you already know get along. Have them meet at a neutral place, like a dog park, before inviting them to your home. There might be times you have to exclude your closest human friends, or at least exclude their dogs, just because your dog and theirs don’t have the right chemistry.
Where to Throw a Dog Party
Milo is ready to party 🙂 pic.twitter.com/4GBNQclQla
— Texts from my dog (@dogtextings) March 5, 2018
In most cases, it’s best to throw a dog party in someone’s backyard — the bigger the yard, the better. There are some parks that might allow dog parties, but you should always ask the parks department. Unless it’s a particularly large dog park, it’s not recommended that you throw a dog party at a dog park. Of course, you can host the party inside your home, but for obvious reasons, outside is probably better.
If your home is not dog party ready, contact local doggie daycare facilities. They may be willing to rent you space for a few hours. Another option might be a local beach or lake. Some of the dogs will love the water and it will give anxious dogs room to breathe. Again, check with any relevant local authorities.
Nana had a birthday party for her dog. Love it. pic.twitter.com/kABaBWbzHp
— Meg Oldham (@mho1997) March 12, 2018
Fun Ways to Decorate
The nice thing about decorating for a dog party is that the dogs don’t care. Have fun, on your terms. Do a theme party, or don’t. You can fill a piñata full of treats. You can hang doggie balls from trees. Or, you can use streamers. It’s not recommended, though, that you use fireworks or noisemakers. They could scare some dogs.
What to Serve the Dogs
When you have a large group of dogs, be generous with the treats, but limit them to treats that are eaten quickly to avoid fights over things like bones, that aren’t immediately snarfed up. Many dogs like apple slices and carrots and they’re low calorie for those doggies who are watching their waistlines.
Along with treats (homemade are wonderful, but not necessary), serve a dog cake and dog ice cream.
Recipes for Dog Cakes
Baking a dog cake can be easier than baking a human cake. Love from the Oven has one that looks amazing. Here’s a recipe that looks just like human cake and humans can eat it, but don’t expect it to be sweet. It’s basically doggie meatloaf with a mashed potato frosting.
The dogs will love it!
A dog's birthday party. Wish him a happy birthday! 😀 pic.twitter.com/3qJzITwQ1F
— Back To Nature (@backt0nature) March 4, 2018
Better than Basic Water Treats
Make sure there is plenty of clean water for the dogs to drink. Spread bowls throughout the party. Add a little chicken broth or fish oil to make it even tastier. If it’s hot, freeze some chicken broth and some watermelon. The dogs will adore them!
What Not to Serve the Dogs
Dogs and humans do not have the same digestive systems. There are foods that you and I wouldn’t think twice about eating but that are poison for dogs. Most people know that dogs can’t eat chocolate, but did you also know that grapes and many nuts are bad for them? Not to mention onion, garlic, and anything with Xylitol, a common sugar substitute that poisons dogs.
We can’t stress strongly enough that you are asking for trouble if you serve the dogs bones or other long-lasting chews. That’s when fights break out. Only serve food that’s eaten quickly to avoid resource guarding.
What If the Dogs Don’t Get Along?
Even if all the dogs know each other, there could be problems. It’s very important that the dogs are supervised and the moment a dog’s body language begins to stiffen or a dog shows his teeth, pull your dog out. Most of the time, tension eases immediately, but if not, it might be time to call it a day, at least for the dogs having a hard time.
Games for the Dog Party
Dogs like to play games as much as people do. Hide lots of balls and toys around the party. You can even play games like musical chairs for dogs.
Have everyone line up with their leashed dog in front of on-the-ground hula hoops. Make sure there’s one less hoop than there are dogs. Play “Who Let the Dogs Out” and when the music stops, each dog has to be sitting in a hoop along with their person’s foot or they’re out.
You can create a low-cost obstacle course. Offer treats and toys to the winners.
What to Serve the Humans
Now that the doggie menu is taken care of, it’s time to think of humans. Since the party is likely outside, you can barbecue or serve finger foods. Be sure to keep food high off the ground so dogs can’t get to it. If you want to get really creative, make human meatloaf cupcakes. Serve sweet cake to the humans as dogs are enjoying their savory cake.
Should You Serve Alcohol?
Drinking heavily while you’re supposed to be supervising dogs is not a great idea. Serve light alcohol, if any. A sangria is refreshing. Be sure to have lots of non-alcoholic drinks, so people can stay on their toes while their dogs are playing.
Don’t forget the party favors. Fill festive bags with dog treats and small dog toys. They don’t have to be expensive. Dogs aren’t snobs, which is one of the many reasons we love them.
Note: It’s not advised that you throw a dog party on occasions like the 4th of July. Loud noises are guaranteed to scare at least some of the dogs, which can set off a chain reaction.
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