10 totally paw-some dog birthday party ideas
Dogs provide us with companionship, all kinds of cuteness and infinite amounts of love — so, the least we can do as pet owners is extoll their brilliance on their birthday on Instagram (of course!) and beyond.
No matter the occasion — a dog birthday party, gotcha day, bark-mitzvah, or simply Love Your Pet Day — or your budget, there are so many creative ways to fete the furry wonders who’ve changed our lives for the better.
If you plan to go big with the festivities (think: paper invites and a lengthy guest list) or small and more intimate (your dog, a party hat and your camera phone) only one key ingredient is needed: fun!
"It's all about celebrating the connection we have with our pets,” says Arden Moore, the author of “Dog Parties: How to Party With Your Pup.
From a DIY ball pit destined for Boomerang greatness to insanely adorable Instagram backdrops for the all-important birthday post, we found 10 ideas for those craving a barking good time.
1. Make it an un-fur-gettable morning
Every dog has his day — and what better way to start it than with doughnuts? Dog Eat Cake pet bakery in Boston ships these delightfully pet-friendly “doghnuts,” as they’re called, all over the U.S. (prices start at $2.75). Whether it’s a party for two (just you and your dog) or something more elaborate, they can work to accommodate you by thoughtfully planning your entire birthday bash right down to the “invites and bone display” — just BYOD (bring your own dog!) If you’re all about some doughnut DIY, peanut butter bacon doughnuts do exist, and you can make them in your own kitchen with some guidance from SunnyDayFamily.com. Either route you choose, we fully expect some taste-testing (by you!) for curiosity sake.
2. Order an Instagram-ready photography set
Let’s be honest, it’s really all about the picture you share on social media — and, of course, the love you have for your cutie! The Styled Set, which launched in September, works magic to create a whimsical photo backdrop that are totally adorable and can eliminate the stress of going the DIY route. There are a fleet of photography backdrops to choose from (starting at $14) and accompanying decor like balloons, tissue paper balls, marquee and letter boards can all be purchased separately.
“We especially love creating ‘First Barkday’ sets for puppies turning one! For pet parents, this occasion is just as momentous as a human baby turning one and is a big deal on Instagram,” says Marissa Shapiro, owner of The Styled Set. “Some of our customers even hosted birthday ‘pawtys’ featuring a photo booth for their four-legged friends.”
3. Choose a “paw-ty” theme and run with it
Take it from the pros who do this for a living: personalization is best, especially when choosing a dog birthday party theme.
"Many people love to include cute, sweet touches related to their specific pet when planning a dog birthday party or will schedule games to play [that] they know their dog loves, like bury the bone, Frisbee or pet swimming pool," says Adina Slotsky, the founder and CEO of Hollywood Pet Parties, which provides dog event catering in the Los Angeles area.
It’s also smart to think of what your human guests will like — paw-gria, anyone? — and then work to incorporate a doggy theme. The most important thing, though, is ample servings of fun, which can come in the form of activities, like a doggy version of “American Idol” (where owners serenade their dogs!) or Simon Says, when canines are charged with imitating their owners.
"Dogs feel our happiness,” Moore says. “This game provides a good way to sneak in training.”
4. Treat your pup like royalty
For the pup that’s all pomp and circumstance, a canine crown is definitely in order. Modern Beast’s 100 percent wool felt crown ($14) will signal — in a variety of fun colors! — who reigns supreme on his or her birthday, and every day for that matter. It’s a fun birthday style you can easily replicate on your own. PrettyFluffy.com provides a free template and suggests using felt, scrapbooking paper, skinny elastic, a hot glue gun and a fancy disappearing ink pen, because in the age of Insta: details are everything!
5. Celebrate with custom chalkboard art
This first-day-of-school trend has made its way to the furry set, and we couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re a pro at putting a chalk pen to a chalkboard, then you can make your mutt’s birthday message your next project, or call on a pro to whip up a digital file to print and frame on your own. LainyBugsDesigns on Etsy does them for dogs and humans (prices vary) with a turn around of 72 hours, plus delivery (rush orders are also available). We guarantee at least one of your friends will ask how you did it — and how you feel about them stealing it!
6. Bake your own pupcakes
The internet is overflowing with pupcake (a.k.a. dog cupcake) recipes to suit every dog’s taste. Peanut butter, blueberry, pumpkin and more — if your dog celebrates most enthusiastically with his or her mouth, this may be the birthday option for you. Make a sheet of cupcakes for all your dog’s friends at the dog park (always ask owners if their dogs can partake!) or just make a treat for the only mouth that matters. Gifts that come from your very own kitchen are filled with the most heart and are sure to get mucho Insta-hearts.
7. Order a “paw-ty” in a box
Parties are fun. Party supply shopping? Not so much. Pawty In a Box has several party packages to choose from — Shabby Chic Pawty, Unicorn Pawty, Pupstache Pawty, Black Tie Pawty and Disco Pawty — that take the Pinterest-ing out of the party planning equation and bring the fun right to you in a handy box. Inside are just enough supplies for a gathering of your dog’s best buddies: eight invitations, eight party hats, four bowtie accessories, four flower accessories, eight mini bowls and stickers, eight pupcake wrappers, eight pupcorn boxes, eight treat bags and stickers, eight placemats and one party banner. Whip up some pet-friendly pupcakes, fill up those pupcorn boxes with treats and you have yourself a birthday bash.
8. Create a personalized dog birthday shirt or bandana
The best part about birthdays? Telling everybody about it! HeatherRogersDesigns is just one of the companies that does that for you with personalized dog shirts emblazoned with the birthday boy or girl’s name. For dogs that don’t do clothing, Barkopolis Brand’s reversible bandanas are a more simple accessory and come custom embroidered — lest anybody fur-get what the day is all about.
9. Bake a cake or order something custom
There are cakes, and then there are CAKES. You know, the kind of cakes you can’t eat because they’re so pretty. The Spotted Dog Bakery produces insanely Instagrammable pet-friendly eats, like their 3D custom portrait cake (which they deliver nationwide, DM for details) featuring your pet’s intricate likeness. If narcissism isn’t your dog’s thing and you prefer something fresh from your own oven, pet-friendly cake recipes abound on Pinterest. Just choose your dog’s favorite flavor and top your creation off with dog treats.
10. Give the gift of a doggy ball pit
It’s what Amazon Prime was invented for: late-night orders of random supplies for your dog’s big birthday! Your pup will have a ball — or 40! — when you fashion an impromptu pit out of a plastic baby pool or other large container and fill it with colorful pet-safe balls for them to swim around in (minus the water). Throw your pup’s favorite treats in the mix for an added challenge, and significantly more action in your Boomerangs.
Read next: 101 things to do with your dog