Three gray, black and tan puppies playing outside with a pink dog toy.

How to Throw Your Dog a Pawsome Party

Everyone likes an excuse to party, and what better reason than to celebrate your dog! It could be for their birthday, their gotcha day or just because. To help you be the most barktastic host, we have some tips for planning the perfect party for your pooch.

Who’s on the Guest List?

First things first: does your dog actually like other dogs (and people)? A party without guests might be a little boring, but there’s no point hosting one if your dog is going to spend the whole time hiding under the table. A private celebration may be the best idea for timid or antisocial dogs.

If your dog is a social butterfly, make sure they have met everyone on the guest list (and ideally they’ve all met each other) so that you can avoid any antisocial party fouls. You should also make sure everyone is up-to-date on their vaccinations and that all pet parents bring a leash with them in case there’s a canine kerfuffle.

What’s a Party Without Snacks?

A pack of partying pooches is going to work up an appetite pretty quick, so doggie snacks are a must-have — and their humans will probably get peckish, too. When you send out the invitations, ask if any guests have food allergies or sensitivities (the humans, too). This will help with planning your menu. Make sure you’re not serving anything that’s toxic to dogs, including any food you made for the pet parents (in case a cheeky dog sneaks something off the table).

If you’re having the party outdoors, some safe summer-themed snacks you could serve are frozen banana slices, watermelon wedges (without seeds or rind) and small pineapple chunks (not the core). Or you could make some pupsicles for a special treat that keeps the dogs cool, too. If you’re hosting a fancy foray, you could make your own barkcuterie board.

Don’t forget you’ll need plenty of water bowls and make sure you keep checking if they need to be refilled. It’s important that the dogs stay hydrated, and if you’re hosting a pool party, pool water isn’t the answer, due to the chlorine and other chemicals in it.

Location, Location, Location

If you’re planning an outdoor party, make sure it’s in a fenced area with plenty of shade and it has a designated bathroom area. If it’s inside, make sure it’s in a defined area that’s dog friendly and hazard free. No matter where you choose to hold your event, make sure it’s escape proof so you’re not chasing down a pack of excited runaways instead of enjoying the party.

Plan a Puppy Pool-ooza

A pool party is a great choice for a hot summer’s day. The dogs get to splash around and their pet parents get to relax poolside, too (when they’re not handing out barkaritas to the canine guests).

If there are dogs who are new to swimming or have difficulty swimming due to their age or health, make sure they have life jackets on. All dogs should have a way to easily get in and out of the pool — they shouldn’t be forced to jump. If the birthday party is for your 15-year-old dog and their senior friends, a kid’s pool that’s easy to get in and out of and doesn’t actually require swimming may be the best idea.

Dogs typically only swim for about 10 to 30 minutes at a time, so make sure you have rest areas and other activities for them to do. If you want to stick with a water theme, you could set up sprinklers for them to play in.

Once pool time is over, hose off the pups with clean water before they go home. Rinsing with water for at least 20 seconds will remove the chlorine and other pool chemicals and help stop the dogs from getting dry, itchy skin.

Throw a Birthday Pawty

What’s cuter than a group of dogs in party hats? That’s right, nothing. You can help your dog celebrate another trip around the sun by inviting their BFFs over for pupcakes and games. A pinata especially made for dogs can be a fun idea and a nice surprise when it bursts open. And don’t forget the party favors — like a food bowl with favorite treats and toys in it.

The themes for a dog’s birthday party are endless — tennis balls hanging from the ceiling, bone-shaped birthday banners or hot dog pictures everywhere. If you decide to liven up the party space with decorations, make sure the dogs can’t reach them, or if they can, that they won’t pose a choking or obstruction hazard.

Gather for a Gotcha Day Party

If you adopted your dog, you may not know when their birthday is. So instead of a birthday party you could throw them a Gotcha Day party on the anniversary of when you brought them home. A nice idea is to collect supplies or donations for the shelter your dog came from (instead of gifts for your dog), so they get to celebrate the day as well.

You Can Party with Furry Friends, Too

If you know kids who are big fans of everything pet-related, you could see if your local animal shelter hosts kid’s parties. Vetstreet explains this growing trend gives kids a fun place to have their party and it’s an extra income source for the shelter. Each shelter has their own party program, but it could include a behind-the-scenes tour, learning about pet care, making pet-related crafts or playing with some of the pets who need a home. Who knows, maybe some lucky pet will be adopted because of the party.


As your guests leave, you’ll realize that a dog party ends the same way as a human party — with lots of mess to clean up, food crumbs everywhere and a pooped pooch. But it’s absolutely worth it!


RELATED POST: What’s a Wedding Without Your Best Friend?


The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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