It’s your buddy’s birthday and you want to do something special, because after all, he or she is your child. So what things are important to think about when throwing a birthday party for your pooch? A few key things are location (outdoor AND indoor options), invitations (inviting your pets besties, both canine and human), healthy snacks, fun games, and supervision! We will go into each of these aspects a little more below!
First and foremost, let’s discuss the importance of water and access to the indoors to cool down. Just like kids, dogs can get overheated easily. It is important to pay attention to the temperature and provide ample access to water at several different locations throughout the yard and indoors. Providing pets (and humans!) with an escape from the heat is so important; shady areas in the yard, access to an area with air conditioning or fans, and the blinds up to block the sun is crucial.
Next, and perhaps most important of all to the birthday pooch, healthy snacks! Please remember that some pets have food allergies and treats should be labeled appropriately. Since we are talking about throwing a summer birthday party, I thought I would share a few of my four-legged besties (Mojo), favourite recipes for summer goodies! Be sure to check them out in the recipe section at the end of this blog.
Water is a great summer option for some doggy fun and if you don’t have a pool of your own, hard plastic kiddie pools are a fantastic option as they are relatively cheap and wont burst when a dog’s nails scratch the side. Putting some heavy toys at the bottom that they would need to go fishing or “bobbing” for can provide hours of fun and it’s a great way for them to cool down! Tip – try multiple small pools for a bigger party with a large yard and a lot of guests!
Sprinklers are another great choice. These can provide entertainment for everyone. I don’t know if you have ever watched a dog play with a sprinkler, but watching them try to understand how it works and watching them bite the water is hilarious. Your canine guests can run though them, bite them or just enjoy the refreshing mist from a distance.
Alright, I am going to suggest something and you are going to say it’s crazy; Digging! I know this is not something that we commonly want to encourage in our pets, especially when they do it in the garden. However, when you create a safe, assigned space for them to do this without causing any damage it can actually be extremely enriching for them. A good option is a sandbox for children, or multiple small ones for a party. This can be tons of fun for our furry friends, especially when they can dig for hidden treasures you secretly hid before the party! Just make sure the fun stays in the sandbox!
Retrieval games – the classic game of fetch. Providing multiple different options when it comes to retrieval toys (balls, frisbees, ropes, stuffies) and having a station with several human guests playing fetch can contribute to keeping the dogs occupied and is another enriching game for them.
This one is super important: SUPERVISION!
Remember, our pets having a birthday party is strikingly similar to a toddler’s party. You will have pets (children) and owners (parents) attending, and the children (pets) require constant supervision. Sometimes our pets can play a bit rough and we need to step in to remind them to be gentle. They can also get into things they shouldn’t (like toddlers), despite out best efforts to “pooch-proof” the house and yard. Setting up “zones” or “stations” and having the human volunteers on rotating shifts supervising each activity and/or area of the yard can be very efficient in providing adequate supervision.
Food allergies are just as common in our pets as they are in children, so it is extremely important to ask all humans if their pets have allergies and to inform others. Tying coloured ribbons to the collars of the canine attendees with food allergies is also a great way to ensure they are kept safe and are given the hypoallergenic option. Labelling all treats with the ingredients is also very important.
It is a party for your dog, yes. However, your bestie would want you to have a good time at their birthday party, so make sure to mingle with the guests (two legged and four) and spend some time with the birthday boy or girl. After all, they mostly want to spend their time with you anyways!
-Kristen, Client Care Representative
RECIPES FOR SUMMER TREATS FOR PUPS
FOUR INGREDIENT YOGURT POPS!
- 1 large banana, frozen
- 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (no sugar added, avoid artificial sweeteners such as zylitol, which are toxic to pets)
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 regular size (17.6oz) container of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
First, cut the frozen banana and place in the blender, then add the peanut butter and honey.
Blend on high for three minutes, or until mixture is smooth.
Add the yogurt to the blender, blend on high for 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and thick like a milkshake.
Pour the mixture into ice pop molds or ice cube trays.
Put in the freezer and let freeze for about 2 hours or until solid.
Substitute vegan yogurt for pets with dairy allergies. Substitute Wow Butter for pets/humans with peanut allergies.
TWO INGREDIENT FROZEN CHICKEN BROTH BITES!
- 1 cup chicken stock (may increase quantity for higher yield if desired).
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (for added flavour and stinky breath fighting power!).
First, divide the chicken broth evenly into silicon ice cube trays (can use regular ones as well but silicone works best and they come in fun shapes!).
Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley into each “cube” and lightly stir.
Place in the freezer for about 4 hours, or until solid.
Substitute beef or vegetable broth for pets with chicken allergies.
WATERMELON DOG POPS
- 2 cups seedless watermelon.
- 1 cup coconut milk/water (regular water works as well).
- ¼ cup honey (optional for sweetness)
Take all ingredients and place into a blender, puree until mixture is a juice like consistency.
Pour the mixture into ice cube trays (regular or silicone) and let freeze for about 4 to 5 hours or until solid.