Thinking about throwing a dog birthday party and looking for party ideas? We’re covering everything you need to know to throw a dog birthday party.
Don’t know your pups birthday? No problem— you can celebrate their adoption date (sometimes called a “gotcha day”) or any special date in your relationship.
When putting together a dog birthday, you need to consider the guest list, location, theme, and food. Our guide breaks down how to choose the right mix of party details to ensure your two-legged and four-legged guests have a doggone good time!
In addition to breaking down how to choose the right guest list, location, and theme for your party, we created three different downloadable dog birthday invitations for you to use.
Consider yourself a visual learner? Then check out our Throw Your Dog a Birthday Party Pinterest board for tips and tricks to make your pup party go smoothly.
While there are a lot of decisions to make when planning a party (especially for a pooch!), one of the most important things to decide is the guest list.
When you determine who to invite to your pet’s party, it will be easier to decide on things like the location and theme.
Pro Party Tip: If you are including kids at the party, consider their ages and different levels of experience with animals. You’ll want to balance the amount of supervision and attention needed by children and canines at the party.
Bring Your Pooch Parties
If your dog likes to play with other dogs, a birthday party is a great occasion to have a doggy play date. But one important thing to remember is that you want all the dogs present to have already been introduced.
A birthday party can be a stressful time for dogs that aren’t acquainted, so it’s best to get to know the new beagle down the street in another setting.
But if your dog already has a group of dog friends, like an obedience class, dog park regulars, or littermates, a birthday party is a very good time to get together.
If you find yourself doing any dog introductions aim to do them in front of the house rather than inside. This can help avoid any initial territorial tendencies.
Pro Party Tip: Be sure owners know they should stick around for the party, rather than just dropping their dogs off for a few hours. You may want to have a few pooch-less friends or family at the party to help with supervision.
Pup in the Spotlight
Will your dog be the only pup at their party? If you want to make your dog the center of the attention, invite your dog-loving friends and family over and dote on your one and only.
This is a great option if your dog is just too popular to get all their doggy BFFs in the same room, or if your pup prefers the company of humans.
If you’re a multi-dog household, then you can have the best of both worlds by giving the birthday dog some special attention while still having your other dogs enjoy the party.
Once you’ve decided on the humans and dogs you’d like to attend, you can choose the perfect location. If there are multiple dogs at the party, you will likely want to have the party outside— especially for large dogs.
A group of smaller dogs might be okay with spending a few hours indoors (with ample bathroom breaks), but you probably don’t want to have half a dozen Great Danes over for an indoor-only party.
Your home can be a great location for the party, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
What to Consider Before Hosting a Dog Birthday at Your House
- Do you have enough yard space?
- Will it be an indoor and outdoor party?
- How will the weather be?
- Do you have enough shade? If not, are you willing to buy or rent a shade structure?
Other Locations to Host a Dog Birthday Party
- Local Park
- Dog Beach
- A Dog Loving Friend or Family Member’s House
- Doggy Daycare
Parks will sometimes require you book space through the Department of Parks and Recreation, especially if you plan to use provided picnic tables, so check the regulations for your area.
If you’re lucky enough to live on the coast and want to host a beach party, be sure that the beach of your choice allows dogs (and be prepared to plan your party around the fact that other dogs will be out and about).
Choosing a theme might be the best part of party planning. If you check out our dog birthday pinboard, you’ll notice that people use all kinds of themes— from birthday princess and leopard print to dog yoga and backyard barbecues.
Whether you throw your dog a birthday every year or this is your first time and you’re worried it’s cheesy, go with the theme that seems like the most fun to you and that most fits with your dog’s personality.
Essentially anything that can be a theme for a human birthday party could be a theme for a dog party. (If you throw your dog a cat-themed party, please send us photos).
Want help with a theme? Brit + Co partnered with The Noseprint to create some great dog birthday DIYs and put together a dog personality quiz to decide what kind of party is right for your dog.
The most important thing about decorations is doing what is fun and manageable for you. If you love decorating for parties, don’t let your dog’s birthday be any different— go all out!
Although if you’re not one for decorations, it’s okay to skip them entirely or just go for some dog-themed plates from your local party store.
In the age of Facebook, it is easy to forget about invitations, but party invitations are a great touch!
If you want tangible invitations that are perfectly tied to your theme or feature a photo of your dog, we recommend visiting your local stationery store or checking out Etsy.
E-vites are another popular option, and you may even be able to find a cute animal card or upload a photo of your dog.
If you’re hosting a dog birthday where your pup will be the only canine in attendance be sure that your invitees know, so there aren’t any mix-ups about who is on the guest list.
While it’s a little more work than a human party, planning dog-friendly food for a dog birthday party is easier than you might think. One must have is cake dogs can eat. When it comes to cake for dogs, you have plenty of options!
DIY Dog Birthday Cake
If baking from scratch is your thing, there are lots of easy dog cake recipes out there (you can find many on our previously mentioned birthday pinboard). Many cake recipes for dogs use ingredients you probably already have in the house or can easily get, and are edible for humans too! If you and your dog plan to eat the same cake, be prepared for the fact that cakes for dogs will be less sweet than the cake you’re used to.
If humans won’t be eating your dog’s birthday cake, then feel free to top it or fill it with biscuits, kibble, or bully sticks! We suggest making a pinata cake and filling it with your dog’s favorite treats!
Dog Cake Mix
Buying a dog birthday cake mix gives you a sense of accomplishment and low cost of a DIY cake but with a well-tested formula. There are many different options available online, so you can probably find one that works for you even if your dog has special dietary needs.
Some bakeries offer canine-friendly options, or there may even be a dog-centric bakery in your area. This will require some research, and will probably be easier to find canine bakeries in larger cities. There are also companies that ship dog baked goods nationally. These delivery options are often cookies and “pup cakes” rather than birthday cakes, but can still be an excellent choice.
Treats and Chews
If you’ll be sharing dog treats at the party, look for smaller options (like Protein Puffs or Whitefish Cuts). These quick to eat treats are perfect for keeping pups happy and rewarding them for good party behavior. Save more intensive chews (like bully sticks and bones) for the goodie bags. You want to avoid creating situations where dogs are likely to get territorial or aggressive. Even the most well-trained or docile dog can get cranky if they feel there are too many other pups that might snatch their chew.
Dog-friendly human foods are a great snack for dogs. Always double-check that the food is safe for dogs before putting it out on a party platter. We suggest carrots and apples, which are easy, widely available, and typically inexpensive.
Dog popsicles, or pupsicles/pawpsicles, are a great option for a dog birthday party, especially during the summertime. These are both an engaging activity and will help keep dogs cool. Pupsicles range from water-based to broth or another liquid (like coconut milk). You can use an ice cube tray, a popsicle form, or a silicone mold to make your pupsicles.
Here are some recipes to try:
- Watermelon Pupsicles
- Strawberry & Blueberry Yogurt Pops
- Yogurt Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Dog Treats
If none of these recipes appeal to you, Kol’s Notes also has a great mix and match infographic on how to create your own pupsicle recipes.
When it comes to human food, typical party food still applies (everyone loves a good veggie platter and some chips), but there are also a lot of opportunities for cute puns and play on words.
Our favorite dog party-appropriate foods are:
- Breadstick Bones
- “Fetch” Pretzel sticks
- Puppy Chow
- Pupcorn – Birthday Cake Popcorn and 7 Healthy Homemade Popcorn Recipes
You may also want to have fruits and vegetables that are good for both people and dogs. We’ve already mentioned carrots and apples, but you can also consider blueberries, roasted sweet potato slices, and cucumbers.
While cold cuts are a great option for humans, but best not to share with pups— the high sodium in cold cuts and processed meats is not good for dogs.
Backyard Water Park
Waterslide anyone? Barkpost created an excellent guide to making a backyard water park for your dog. The tutorial is pretty simple, and water-loving dogs will go crazy for it!
Fetch is so ubiquitous when it comes to dogs, it might not seem like much of a party activity. But we all know that a group of dogs can go crazy for a good game of fetch! It’s a good idea to have multiple balls or frisbees on hand and don’t bring out your dog’s favorite toys because they could get destroyed or absconded with.
If you have space in your house or yard, set up a photo booth for people and their dogs. All you need is a simple backdrop (which could be a white sheet or cute fabric) in an area that is well lit. If you’re willing to spend some money you can hire a photographer, but many people will be happy to take selfies or ask someone at the party to take their photo. For cute props, you can go the DIY route or visit a party store and find funky glasses, hats, and more.
In addition to games and activities, you should also provide an area for pups to relax and get away from the action. Be sure this area is shaded. It is also a nice touch to pick up some pillows and blankets from a secondhand store and put them out for dogs that need a break.