Our pets often become beloved family members, and it is natural to want to include them in family-oriented celebrations and parties. Unfortunately, most parties – with loud music, special foods, numerous guests and energetic entertainment – are not pet-friendly. Instead, you can plan a pet party to celebrate any special occasion or holiday, including your pet's birthday, adoption day, a training milestone, a show ring victory or just to share a joyful time together.
Why Parties Can Be Good for Pets
We love parties as a way to connect with friends and family members, try new things, enjoy treats and relax with a break in our daily routine. Parties can do the same for pets with supervised socialization, mental stimulation, exercise and entertainment. A party can be great for bonding, can reinforce training and can help your pet feel secure in new and unique situations. To be a safe and comfortable party, however, it is important to plan a pet party with your pet's needs and preferences in mind.
Everything You Need for a Pet Party
A party for your pet needs all the same elements as any party you might plan, including…
Invite other pet owners to the party, including animals your pet is already familiar with as well as a new guest or two. Your pet's litter mates, parents or offspring can be ideal guests. Also consider inviting your veterinarian, your pet's breeder or former owner or other guests who will enjoy seeing and interacting with your pet. Take care, however, that any other animals you invite will be compatible with your pet's personality and behavior so you can avoid any unpleasantness at the party.
A party is easiest to arrange at your home, but is your home equipped for the needs of multiple, excited pets? Consider overall space, fencing and the animals' energy as well as parking, seating and other needs of human guests. A local park – especially a pet-friendly option like a dog park – may be a better venue. Other options include a more out-of-the-way picnic area or even a training class that can accommodate several pets at once for a fun group session.
Pets won't notice party decorations, but a few fun accents can make the atmosphere more festive and will be enjoyed by human chaperones. Consider animal-themed items, such as bone-shaped placemats, paw print napkins or animal-shaped balloons. Just be sure all decorative items are out of reach of pets, especially if they may pose any threat or hazard to excited animals.
Snacks and treats are a must-have at any party, including one for pets. A good supply of pet treats is essential, but take into account the special dietary needs or allergies of any animals that will be attending. It usually won't be necessary to provide a full meal, but be sure plenty of fresh, clean water is available. Consider visiting pet-friendly bakeries for gourmet goodies that are suitable for pets, such as doggie cookies or similar items to make a party menu.
What will different pets do at the party? Many pets will simply be thrilled to have new companions to play with for a few hours, or you can create pet-friendly games such as an obstacle course, games of fetch or similar playtime favorites as entertainment. A pet costume contest, a kiddie pool to splash in, a personalized training session or other activities can also be part of the party schedule.
Gifts are often brought to human parties, and your guests may want to bring gifts to a pet party as well. If asked, advise guests on welcome items, including your pet's favorite treats, brands, sizes and other information in case of gift-giving. You can also suggest guests to donate to a local shelter, or collect donations of money or materials during the party to take to a shelter afterwards. You might also want to make goody bags for your guests to take away as a fun reminder of the party, but be sure any items in the bags are suitable for each pet.
While you're planning your pet party, don't forget the needs of the human guests! Be sure there is enough seating, delicious food, suitable drinks and good entertainment for everyone attending. At the same time, be sure the humans aren't so distracted that the pets are left unsupervised or unsafe.
There is one more thing you need to be sure to have at a pet party – the means to clean up properly. You ought to provide extra bags, litter boxes or other necessities as needed. If you choose a public, pet-friendly place for the party, be sure your pet and its guests are all cleaned up after, as well as all other trash disposed of after the party.
A party is a great way to celebrate, and with proper planning, you can have a pet party to celebrate the great relationship and fun you have with all your four-legged family members.