What better way to celebrate your best friend's birthday than by throwing your pet a festive soiree? Break out the new toys, decorate with some bones or catnip, and serve some pet-friendly cuisine. It's time to party with your pooch or feline, so try these simple ideas for honoring your pet.
First things first: Decide where to hold your pet's party. Depending on the kind of pet you have, your options might vary. With dogs, a local park or wildlife reserve is a good option to give the birthday pooch and its guests plenty of room to explore. If you have a fenced-in backyard, your home can be a safe option as well. Just remember, with a pack of dogs in your house, things can get a bit wild, so consider hosting the event outdoors.
For your cat's birthday party, close to home is probably the safest bet. Make sure your animal gets along well with other animals before bringing them into your home. If your pet is more of a homebody, invite friends and family to celebrate and ask them to leave their pets at home.
Every party needs a theme! Simply look to your favorite famous dogs and cats to create a fun party theme. In a recent Petcurean survey of more than 1,200 U.S. cat and dog owners, Lady and the Tramp, Toto, The Cat in the Hat, and Hello Kitty topped the charts when it came to top dinner dates for your pet. Consider these popular pets and create a spin-off of your favorite for the party. Clifford the Big Red Dog, Garfield, and Scooby Doo also are well-known characters that can make for a festively themed event.
Since your pet's main focus is likely on the food and toys rather than the fancy decorations, decor can be kept at a minimum. A fun banner hung by your pet's food and water dish, some bone- or fish-shape balloons, or pet party hats are all fun and simple ideas. If your pet doesn't mind dressing up, find a fun party outfit to set it apart from the other party guests—think hot pink tutu, crown, or bow tie. A colorful bandanna or fancy collar will do the trick, too! TIP: Just because it's your pet's party doesn't mean you can't dress the part. Don cat ears or paint on whiskers to get into party mode. Provide your guests with ears, or take turns painting each others' faces to match the pets.
When it comes to your pet's preferences, the most important part of the party is likely the food. Whip up a homemade cake for your pet, making sure to use pet-appropriate ingredients. If your pet has a sensitive stomach, try making homemade treats with peanut butter, seafood, or cheese flavors, steering clear of the fancy pet-safe frostings and other elaborate additions. Or, if baking isn't your strong suit, go to your local pet store and pick up a special chew bone or biscuit or some fresh tuna flakes or catnip. And don't forget food for the pets' owners! Puppy chow, bone-shape sugar cookies, hot dogs, or fun "pupcakes" are all festive ideas to go along with the theme. For a parting gift, fill doggie bags with tasty treats for your guests to take home. Learn about poisonous foods, plants, and household items to keep your cat safe. Learn about poisonous foods, plants, and household items to keep your dog safe.
Lucky for you, pets don't demand new cars or bikes; they simply want their owners' love—and perhaps a new toy now and again. Pick out a new rope toy, catnip mouse, bird toy, or tennis ball for your pet to play with. If your pet already has enough toys, consider donating extras to a local animal shelter or charity to help pets in need. If you have guests coming to your party, consider setting out a jar to collect money for the charity of your choice, or have each guest bring a toy or treat that you can box up and take to your local shelter.
A pet party isn't complete without a few games. Have a friendly competition with your pet and its party guests by seeing which one knows the most tricks—each pet is a winner of course, so make sure to have plenty of treats on hand! Or, if your pet is better at exploring, hide treats in the backyard and release the hounds, letting them feast on what they find. If you have a rambunctious group, consider going for a walk around the neighborhood to burn off some energy, or visit a local dog park. (Many dog parks require up-to-date rabies vaccinations, a current city license, and a dog park permit/membership. Make sure to check your local dog park requirements before you go.)
Don't forget party pics! Capture your pet party and create a fun scrapbook for your pet with pictures of each year's party. Share your pictures on Twitter and Facebook so everyone can see how much you love your pet. Maybe you'll spark interest in friends and family to throw their own beloved pet a party. Check out the BHG Pets We Love Facebook page, and make sure to post your pet party pics!