Your pet is a beloved family member, so why not celebrate their birthday in style? Throwing a birthday party for your pet is a great way to mark another year spent with your furry pal by your side, but you should take precautions to ensure your pet enjoys the event and that everyone involved stays safe. Our Parker Center Animal Clinic team shares do’s and don’ts for throwing an enjoyable and safe birthday party for your four-legged friend. 

DO invite a few trusted friends and pets who get along well

The key to a successful pet birthday party is to keep the gathering small and to be selective about your guest list. Invite a few good friends that have pets who already know each other and have played together well on other occasions. A small, social group of pets who are about the same size works well. If your pet prefers human company, invite a few of your close friends to shower your furry pal with love.

DON’T force shy or nervous pets to participate

Not all pets are party animals. Houseguests, noise, and unfamiliar pets usually frighten cats, so you should likely forgo throwing a party for your whiskered pal. Friendly, outgoing dogs thoroughly enjoy get-togethers, but you’ll need to consider your furry pal’s temperament, likes, and dislikes carefully to determine whether they will enjoy a small gathering. Dogs with anxiety, who are reactive around other dogs or strangers, or who guard their toys or food may not be the best party honorees.

DO hold the pet party in a secure outdoor area

A pet birthday party location is crucial because the setting must be secure enough to keep all guests, animal and human, safe. A large, outdoor, securely fenced yard or a basement or rec room that does not have slick flooring are good options. You should host your four-legged friend’s birthday party in a setting that has enough space for everyone to run and play, and step away when the mood strikes. In addition, the area needs to be secure to prevent pet guests from escaping and becoming lost. To help prevent pets’ collars from being damaged during playtime, suggest they be removed, and recommend that your pet-owning guests have their furry pals microchipped before the event.

DON’T leave canine partiers unsupervised

To help ensure their safety, dogs who are interacting must always be supervised. Everyone who’s monitoring the four-legged partiers should be fluent in canine body language, ensuring they know how to differentiate noisy play from aggressive behavior. Have a few pens or crates on hand so you can separate pets or give them a break as needed. Keep the party to a few hours’ time to prevent partiers’ boredom or exhaustion, and ensure all partygoers have access to plenty of water.

DO serve pet-safe foods and goodie bags

Because the party is in your pet’s honor, ensure you serve pet-safe foods. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and foods sweetened with xylitol are toxic for dogs, so you should also avoid serving your human guest foods that include these ingredients. Bake or purchase a pet-safe cake for the four-legged partiers to enjoy after singing happy birthday to the guest of honor. Send pet guests home with goodie bags that include healthy treats and a toy to commemorate the day.

More ways to celebrate your pet’s birthday

If parties aren’t your furry pal’s idea of a good time, you can still celebrate in style. To make your four-legged friend’s day feel special, consider these fun activities:

  • Go on a special outing — Dogs are always up for a trip to the park, beach, pet-friendly shopping center, or forest preserve trail. Ensure your pet receives their monthly flea and tick preventive before spending time in nature.
  • Buy your pet a gift — Take your social dog to a pet-friendly store to pick out a special birthday toy, or pick up a toy or treat yourself and surprise your four-legged friend. Puzzle and interactive toys make great gifts, as do stylish clothing, leashes, and collars.
  • Play your pet’s favorite game — A rousing game of fetch, chase, or tug is emotionally and physically rewarding for your pet.
  • Upgrade your pet’s bed — A new bed or blanket can wrap your furry pal in luxurious softness and comfort.
  • Pamper your pet — A brushing session or at-home massage will leave your pet feeling relaxed, happy, and loved.

Although a birthday trip to the veterinarian may not be at the top of your pet’s gift list, their health is one of the best presents you can give your furry pal. Learn more pet birthday celebration tips and schedule your four-legged friend’s next routine wellness and preventive care visit with our Parker Center Animal Clinic team.