It’s no secret that your dog is your fur-baby. So when your pup’s birthday is just around the corner, you want to make the day extra special. But if you’re like most of us two-legged folks, we’re more used to throwing parties for human children – not dog children. What’s a dog-parent to do?
When you want to do something special with your dog, the best place to start is (drum roll please) with your dog! It’s always best to first and foremost take into consideration your dog’s preferences and temperament when introducing something new and different (and fun!). Your dog might be the life of the dog park, but tucks their tail at the mention of a groomer. Or maybe your furry friend can fetch a ball like there’s no tomorrow, but wouldn’t be so great on an off leash hike.
Here are five different ways you can celebrate your dog’s birthday this year. Each idea is individual, just like each and every dog. Consider your pup’s preferences, and have a blast!
- Throw a Party
The only thing better than playing with a dog is playing with LOTS of dogs! Why not invite your pup’s friends over for a birthday party? Contact the owners of the dogs your pet knows best. Maybe you met them through the dog park, doggie daycare, or your dog walker. Invite a small group to the park or your backyard for some extra special playtime.Naturally with all those excited, wagging tails, the dogs are going to want to run around a bit. So give them time to do that! But it can also be fun to provide some activities. Have a costume contest with prizes for the most creative. Host a show featuring trick demonstrations. You can even set up a kiddie pool to keep the dogs cool and happy on a warm day. And if you’re having trouble thinking of party games, Care.com has some great ideas. Don’t forget your camera!
- Get Outside
Maybe your dog isn’t the life of the party, but still loves to run and play. Make your dog’s birthday a time for the two of you to bond in the great outdoors!If you live near a mountain, forest, or nature reserve, consider taking your dog for a day hike. Depending on your dog’s temperament and the local laws, this could be a great time for your dog to explore and play off leash. Always be sure to double check what the rules are before letting your dog off leash.Of course not all hikes have to be in the woods. Maybe you live near the ocean or a beautiful lake and want to take advantage of that. Long walks on a dog-friendly beach can be a fun way to get some running and swimming in on your dog’s special day.Getting outside also doesn’t have to be exclusive to country dogs. Give your city dog a little outdoor time too! Is there a new park in your neighborhood? A bigger one across town you’ve been dying to try? Your dog’s birthday is the perfect opportunity to explore somewhere new. Check out Pet Friendly Travel for a complete guide to off leash parks and beaches in the United States. Grab your dog’s favorite toy, and have a ball!
- Give Your Dog the Spa Treatment
Let’s face it, some dogs simply prefer the glamorous life over roughing it on a hike in the woods. If your dog is the type to wag their tail at just the mention of the groomer, why not give them a spa day?A simple bath and haircut is a great way to make your dog feel extra special on their birthday. If your dog has regular grooming appointments, try scheduling one on their birthday. Contact your local groomer and let them know it’s your pup’s special day. Maybe they’ll give them a little extra TLC!For some dogs, a regular grooming appointment may not be enough. If you want to treat your dog to a little something extra, consider a spa day. Doggie spas are an up-and-coming business trend, and offer a wide variety of amenities. In addition to standard grooming services, some spas offer manicures, facials, massage, hair dye, and even Reiki! Consult with the spa technician before moving forward with one these specialized services. Because remember, it’s your dog’s special day! You always want to make sure they will enjoy their spa day experience.
- Bake a Cake – or Other Tasty Treats!
There’s no denying it – almost every dog you meet is in love with one thing: FOOD! Bake something extra special for your pup’s big day.The sky is the limit when baking for dogs! With the right ingredients, you can make your furry friend anything from cakes to cupcakes, cookies to ice cream. But be sure to check the recipes! Not all food is created equal, and some things may upset your dog’s tummy. Check out All Recipes for some great cooking inspiration.Maybe you’re not the baking type? Not to worry. Other avid bakers have got you covered. Entire bakeries have opened up all across the country, exclusively making tasty morsels for dogs. And if one of these bakeries isn’t in your area, be sure to contact your local pet supply shop. Many smaller pet stores carry well-made, local dog treats that you’ll feel great about giving to your dog.
- Gifts, of Course!
A new toy is always a thrill! Maybe there’s a new style of chew toy you’ve been dying to try. Or perhaps your pup just destroyed their last ball. Whatever the circumstance, a new toy can really turn a dog’s day around.But what to buy? If your dog isn’t too picky, try purchasing something new. Do you play fetch every time you go to the park? Switch to a pull rope for a little variety. Does your dog spend hours chewing on flavored bones? Try a Frisbee this time.Maybe your dog is a little more particular. If your dog loves to play fetch, try hunting for an upgraded ball or Frisbee. If your dog tends to chew right through the toys, go for something more durable. Want to keep playing as the sun sets? Search for glow in the dark or LED toys. Go to your local pet store and ask what they have in stock. As an added bonus, choose something that will be engaging and fun for both of you. And then go play!
Of course none of these ideas are exclusive. Combine them, mix and match, and get creative! Choose activities and treats that are suitable to your dog’s temperament, capabilities, and preferences. You know your dog best! Remember, this is a day for you and your fur-baby. Make it a special one. Happy birthday!