Sometimes unexpected, quirky parties are the most entertaining. Dogs can be a kid’s best friend, so celebrating the pet’s special day puts a smile on everyone’s face–including the birthday canine. Childless couples might want to celebrate the birthday of their hirsute dependent. Dogs are Americans’ favorite pets–more than 77 million dogs call U.S. households home. Animal lovers spent more than $45.5 billion on all domestic companions in 2009.
Some dog birthdays are for humans, while others really aim to please four-legged celebrants. Parties that focus on small children and family pets work best at home.
Summertime parties in the backyard allow children to run around barefoot and pets to circulate amongst guests freely. After all, who wants to spend his birthday on a leash? True dog parties need a beach, river or lake location where a dog can be a dog. Canoes and kayaks keep water dogs happy, while a soft blanket spread for a lakeside picnic site suits mature birthday dogs well.
Making Tails Wag
Dog parties should be happy parties. Nothing pleases people more–and perhaps serious dogs less–than festive party dog outfits. Large dogs can wear traditional paper-cone party hats secured with elastic string under the muzzle. Party favors made from decorative tissue paper and small dog treats are inexpensive to make and fun to watch being shredded. Just make sure to wrap human treats in different paper than Fido’s favors. Birthday dogs should celebrate at the table with her best human friends–ottomans make less slippery alternatives to chairs.
Dogs like meat, potatoes and vegetables–preferably all mixed. Doggie meatloaf shaped into a birthday patty is an affordable and healthy canine party treat. Some dogs are allergic to chicken, but ground beef or lamb, available in dog food stores or at a grocery, is a tasty alternative. One or two eggs work as binder and any cooked mild vegetable, such as carrots or peas, makes good filler. Mix the meat and vegetables with ground boiled potatoes, pat into a football shape and bake for about an hour at 350 degrees F. Whipped potatoes piped through a pastry bag makes a decorative savory frosting. Children probably will demand exactly what the birthday guest eats, so make a duplicate meatloaf with quality kid-appropriate ingredients–just make sure it looks identical to the first loaf. Low-sugar and low-fat bone-shaped cookies are treats both species can enjoy, but don’t use chocolate–it contains ingredients toxic to a dog’s system.
People feel comfortable around dogs, and dog parties can help bring shy kids out of their shell. Give introverted children special duties with the birthday dog. You could have the child prepare the dog for the party by brushing him or walk him around to meet other guests. These special jobs will keep the child too busy to feel awkward. Dog birthday parties also help teach children about caring for animals and about generosity.
“It’s my party, and I’ll bite if I want to…” are lyrics no mom ever wants to contemplate. Any dog can act unpredictably. Even the mildest pet has bad days and disaster can strike when Ginger snaps after one too many tail tugs. Monitor interactions between small children and pets. Avoid exposing old or nervous dogs to large active groups.