Dog Quality is all about helping senior dogs live their best lives and I believe in celebrating pooches of all ages every day, whether it’s with cuddles or by heading out for an adventure. However, with National Dog Party Day 2018 coming up on June 21, it’s an excuse to really get festive. In honor of the occasion, I’m sharing a few dog party ideas, as well as some tips for tailoring them to senior dogs. Here are ways to put together the perfect gathering for the holiday or to celebrate a furry family member’s birthday.
The Guest List and Party Invitations
Creating a guest list for your doggie birthday party or Dog Party Day get-together is the first step. Inviting every dog in your friend circle is tempting but you want to make sure all of the four-legged guests will get along so it’s enjoyable. For example, if your senior dog is anxious around high-energy puppies, stick with other more mellow dogs. As for invitations, Etsy and Zazzle have tons of unique, adorable options. I like the thought of using a picture of the pooch of honor as the background or choosing an invite that reflects the party theme. Put a dog-related postage stamp on it – USPS allows you to create custom stamps – and send it out a few weeks in advance.
Ideas for a Dog Party Location
If you’ll be having a small get-together, your house could be a great option, especially if you have a fenced yard. It can be a relaxed affair or you could even throw a pool party like @linusthecorgi. For larger gatherings, the dog park will give the pups more room to roam and play games. However, any outdoor, dog-friendly location, like a local beach where @spyro_dog recently celebrated, will do, but be sure to check if you need a permit or if leashes are required. If it’s your pooch and a few of his or her active friends, consider going for a hike. Bring along your Dogger dog stroller for your senior dog so they can take breaks as needed. For rainy days or if you’re looking for dog birthday party ideas during chillier weather, there are training centers, doggie daycare and play places that allow you to rent indoor space for pet parties like Petite Paws Playcare & Spa in Vancouver, Happy Paws Pet Resort in NYC, The Pooch Patio in Dallas and K9 University in Chicago, just to name a few.
Dog Party Themes and Décor
There are so many dog party ideas you can take and run with when deciding on a theme. Go subtle by sticking to a color palette and decorations reminiscent of a human party. Put up a few streamers, a Happy Birthday banner, balloons (if your senior dog is anxious about loud noises, hang them up high so they won’t get popped) and a doggie birthday cake. For inspiration, take a look at what Mixed Molly’s mom did for her décor. You could also take the classic doggy birthday party route with an all-dog theme complete with paw print items and a dog-friendly cake in the shape of a bone or even a bone-shaped piñata filled with dog treats.
If you decide on a full-on theme like superheroes, a dog movie or cartoon, such as Scooby-Doo or Paw Patrol, or a seasonal idea, make it a dress-up party and ask doggie guests to come in costume – only if they’ll tolerate it. Whatever theme you opt for, no dog party is complete without party hats; just ask @wolfgang2242. You can purchase party hats made especially for dogs, which will obviously give you a better fit. Of course, if your pooch isn’t one to wear a hat, a special birthday bandana or a bowtie like Finn Syfried wears could do the trick.
In addition to a theme for your décor and attire, an overall theme of giving back can make your dog’s day even more meaningful. One of my favorite dog birthday ideas comes from Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund. Since he already had so many toys, on his last birthday, he took his presents to his local Humane Society to give to dogs in need. If your dog is in the same boat with more toys than he or she can handle, indicate on the invitation that as a birthday gift, your pooch will be accepting donations of toys and supplies for a shelter.
Food Ideas for Dog Parties
The food is where you can get really creative! You can offer everything from puppucinos (Peter Parker the Dachshund’s favorite) to pupcakes from a pet store or dog-friendly bakery, as well as an array of gourmet treats. You can take a DIY approach too. Since National Dog Party Day is in the summer, whip up a batch of pupsicles. The easiest recipe is mixing low-sodium chicken or beef broth with water, pouring the mixture into a popsicle mold and freezing it. To round out the menu, try your hand at homemade pupcakes, such as these carrot peanut butter ones, or a cake like this beef and potato doggie birthday cake. Before tackling the food, ask if any of your dog guests are allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients. When it comes to human food, remember, when everyone’s having a good time, someone could inadvertently leave their food unattended, so it’s best to forgo any ingredients that aren’t good for your dog like chocolate.
A quality I love most about dogs is they find joy in everything. Keeping them entertained won’t be too hard, however, games and activities are always welcome. Try one of these game ideas for dog parties to liven things up:
- DIY Ball Pit – Fill a kiddie pool with tennis balls for a doggie ball pit.
- Musical Hula Hoops – Place hula hoops on the ground. You’ll need one less than the number of dogs participating. Space them out to avoid collisions. Have music queued up. When the music starts, pet parents will walk their dogs around the hula hoops on a leash. When the music stops, they’ll direct their dog to sit or lie down in the nearest hula hoop (two paws inside the hoop is good enough). Whoever is left without a hoop is out. Continue until one dog is the winner.
- Muffin Tin Treat Game – If you have a senior dog like myself and games that involve running around won’t work as well, this is another option. Grab your muffin tins and 12 tennis balls per tin. Break up a dog treat and hide a few pieces in the tin and cover them with tennis balls. Participant pooches have to sniff out the treat and then figure out how to knock the tennis ball out to get it. Or, if you’d prefer something simpler that doesn’t involve so many tennis balls, you can play hide and seek with treats much the same way by hiding them under cups and adding a few decoy cups.
- Simon Says – Have pet parents and their leashed dogs line up in front of the person giving commands. “Simon” will say directions like, “Sit” or “Down,” that get increasingly harder as the game goes on. The last dog remaining wins.
Don’t Forget the Goodie Bags
Put together goodie bags for all of your canine guests to take home. They don’t have to be expensive. They can include a few healthy treats, a ball or chew toy, colorful waste bags their parents can bring on walks, some Dog Quality dog socks or gift certificates to your favorite groomer.
Hopefully that gives you plenty of dog party ideas for National Dog Party Day or future birthdays for your senior dog. I’d love to see how you celebrate! Post a photo on Instagram or Facebook, tag us at @dogquality and use the hashtag #DogQualitySeniorParty.