Dogs are part of our families, so of course they deserve a special party to celebrate their big day, too! This past weekend, we threw Bentley a party for his second birthday and we couldn’t have been happier with the results. In this post, I’ll give you all the details and information that went into planning this special event. For each individual section, I’ll list some ideas for you followed up by what we did for Bentley’s recent party.
STEP 1: WHERE
Arguably the most important part of any event is the location. Did you read the last blog post that I wrote explaining how to find dog events in your area? Any of the locations that you typically go for dog events are a great place to start because you already know that they are dog-friendly! If you haven’t seen that blog post, here are some ideas for you. I have been to dog birthday parties at each of the following locations:
- Doggy daycare locations
- Outdoor bar/restaurant patios
- Dog parks
- Wedding venues
- Park pavilions
- Someone’s backyard
- Dog cruise (yes, really!)
When trying to choose from the various locations on this list, try to keep in mind how each would impact the party. Opting to host your party at a bar patio may mean that the dogs will need to remain on their leash in a much more controlled setting as opposed to someone’s private backyard where they could run freely. Choosing a location such as a dog park would mean that there will likely be other dogs there since you can’t necessarily rent out a public dog park. Privately renting out a doggy daycare location will have a rental cost associated with it, while a park pavilion may not.
For Bentley’s party, we rented District Dogs Navy Yard location play-park in Washington, DC. District Dogs is a dog daycare, spa, training, and walking service. They rent out their play space for special occasions, which we certainly deemed Bentley’s birthday to be!
Of course all venues will have size constraints, which leads us to…
STEP 2: WHO
Now that you’ve identified your venue (and your size limitations), it’s time to put together your guest list. This is another place where finding dog events in your area helps introduce you to other dogs and their parents. We have been very fortunate to meet and stay connected to a group of dogs that live in the DC/MD/VA area because of these wonderful events. Your guest list could include your family’s dogs, your friend’s dogs, your Instagram friends, your doggy daycare or dog walker friends, or anyone you could imagine!
The guest list comes down to constraints put on you due to size of the venue. If you’re limited to a certain number, you need to think through who you would like to invite. If you have much more space, you can broadcast the event to a wider audience. For example, District Dogs’ event rental location had a maximum of 15 dogs. We brainstormed our guest list based on the dogs that we see most often and those that invited us to their birthday parties as well. As a contrast, last year we held Bentley’s birthday party in a dog park. We were able to post on Bentley’s Instagram story saying that we would love to see anyone who could make it.
If you’re not sure who to invite, you can broadcast via social media channels (think Instagram story or facebook group). If you are hosting the event at an establishment, you can even ask them to share the event details and encourage others to come!
STEP 3: WHAT
Now you have a location for your party and a group of people/dogs that will be coming. “The what” encompasses all of the details after that and is entirely up to your discretion. What will the dogs do during the party? What will the humans do during the party? What will everyone eat? What will the decorations be? Will there be party favors?
Luckily, the first two questions are pretty easily answered. Last I checked, if you put a bunch of dogs in a space together, they typically entertain themselves while simultaneously entertaining the humans. Depending on the space, you could have options for agility and training items. The humans are typically entertained by trying to capture this all on film!
Since you may not know where to start with “the what,” I will go through and show you what we did for Bentley’s birthday party in hopes that it will give you some ideas!
Food for the dogs is a must! Almost every party that I’ve been to had treats for the dogs as well as birthday cake or cookies (dog-friendly of course). The party package that District Dogs offered came with a dog birthday cake and plenty of treats for the dogs. I also baked additional pupcakes and frozen treats since it was a hot day! Our package also included some drinks and snacks for humans as well.
We decorated a photo wall that everyone could use to take pictures in front of! This included some decorations that I bought from party city and target as well as some birthday signs that I was able to make myself on my cricut.
Decorations for the party were also provided by District Dogs, but I brought along some additional balloons (like a “2” foil balloon), party hats for the dogs, and bone shaped confetti!
I wanted to thank all of our guests for coming (some from up to four hours away), so I made goodie bags for each of the dogs. The bags included a squeaky toy, a bone, some birthday treats, and an easter egg with a thank you note inside since Bentley’s birthday was on Easter this year.
I’m sure every person has their own definition and image that comes to mind when you hear “dog birthday party,” and that’s what makes this even more fun. When throwing a birthday party for your dog, nothing is too ridiculous. Trust me. I hope I’ve given you lots to think about when planning your own, and if all else fails, that’s why Pinterest exists. (Which is where this creation started for me!)
Have you hosted a dog birthday party? How did you do it? Do you have any tips? Tell us in the comments!
I’m Kelly and I am the human that pretends to be my golden doodle on instagram all day (@minidoodlebentley)! I’m a math nerd and CrossFit enthusiast who has recently married the man of my dreams. My love for travel, dogs, and prosecco is unmatched and it would be a life dream to travel the world with Bentley!