Ain’t no party like a doggy party! It’s time to celebrate National Dog Party Day and throw a bash that’ll have your guests throwing their paws into the air (and barking like they just don’t care!).
My philosophy is simple: if there’s cake, count me in. When I learned that June 21 marks National Dog Party Day, I just had to find a way to celebrate (read, indulge) with my boyfriend’s dogs Blue and Cody, as well as their neighborhood buddies.
Forget about keeping the festivities quiet – let’s par-tay like we’re pups.
First things first: How big do you want to go? Just a handful of your dog’s closest friends or a full-blown block party? Consider the venue. Can your yard hold a crowd? What if it rains? Can your living room handle a pack of excited canines who have been scarfing down treats and goodies in varying degrees all day? Barktail Tip: Maybe you should consider your local off-leash park.
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Who to invite: Put your neighbors on the list for sure. What about buddies from the dog park, his obedience or agility classes, as well as your friends and family who have dogs? Non-dog people can be a buzzkill if they aren’t engaged in the activities. Also be careful that pooches invited know how to play-nice with other dogs and kids alike (or make it a kid-free party). Barktail Tip: Try to balance males and females. Opposite sexes tend to get along better.
Prep your backyard: This is to ensure it’s not only safe but poop-free. Be sure to do a thorough search of the area for any doggie doo-doos and ensure pet parents are provided with the tools to poop ‘n scoop after their little guy during the party. Refrain from using pesticides in the days leading up to your event, put away the sharp gardening tools and fence off the more delicate perennials that are certain to be trampled during the activities. Barktail Tip: Be sure to provide a shady spot for partied-out pups to rest.
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Furkids activities: Dogs love agility games – jumps, tunnels and hoops as well as fetching discs, balls, soft toys. Make sure you have plenty of toys to avoid an unplanned tug of war and if your yard is sunny, a plastic kiddie pool filled with water or a sprinkler they can run under will keep them both busy and cool. Barktail Tip: Pet parents love bragging rights so be sure to include some fun competitions (with prizes) for best behaved, smallest, biggest, best dressed (if a themed party).
Healthy treats: Have more than a handful on hand as rewards for winning at games, behaving well or just because it’s a party and indulging one day won’t hurt him. But be sure pet parents are the ones doling them out to ensure upset tummies don’t ruin your day… or their evening! Think along the lines of mini carrots, low-cal treats or just a quality kibble. Dogs don’t care! Barktail Tip: We’ve got plenty of fun and easy recipes for healthy dog treats.
Party memento: Invite guests to sign a white picture matte. Take a group shot (which can be emailed to all guests), print it out and frame it with the autographed matting. Barktail Tip: A white toy or Frisbee can also be a great autograph “book” for guests to sign.
People pleaser: It’s not a party if everyone isn’t having a good time, so be sure to take care of the plus-one human your four-legged guests brought with them. Why not invite a professional groomer or trainer to deliver a little impromptu lesson? Or a photographer who can capture special moments and with the family and friends on social media ( Barktail Tip: Pick up some inexpensive doggie-themed cookie cutters to whip up some appropriately shaped cookies or finger sandwiches.
Cake! While some might argue that any type of regular cake mix (non-chocolate) baked in a dog-bone shaped pan is sufficient, you know Rover deserves better. Take some time to go online for all kinds of dog cake recipes that include ingredients such as peanut butter, bacon, turkey, carob, carrot, or yogurt, and topped with fit-for-Fido frosting! Barktail tip: Look for recipes that freeze well, so you can prep in advance or save after the big day.
Loot bags: For departing guests, swag bags never go out of style and are welcome by pet parents (yay freebies!). Fill them up with homemade treats, a little thank you card, a small toy, trial size version of pet shampoo or even a $5 gift voucher to a local pet store. Barktail Tip: If your guest list is not too extensive, try to customize the loot bag to match the pooch. Smaller treats for little guys or sunscreen for hairless/white-coated dogs.
If you’re throwing a party to celebrate National Dog Party Day, we’d love to see your pictures! Please post them in the comment section below or on our Facebook wall.
Mary Simpson is an animal-loving writer and communications professional. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen. She enjoys running, politics, exploring local wine regions and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.