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Dog Birthday Party: How to Throw the Ultimate Bash

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Celebrating your pup’s birthday is a fun way to show them some extra love on their special day. And what better way to do it than with a dog birthday party? After all, they are part of the family. If you already throw a yearly dog birthday bash for your furry friend, you are not alone. According to the Humane Society, 77 percent of pet owners celebrate their pup’s special day by throwing a party or buying them a gift or special treat. 

But before you send out those invitations, make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Here are some tips to help you throw a fun, safe and successful birthday party for dogs.

Dog Birthday Party Planning

Planning a dog birthday party should be fun and far from stressful. Like any festivity, start planning well in advance to secure all the necessary items, such as the location, cake, and party supplies. Here’s a checklist to help you plan your dog’s birthday party.

Pick a date and time

Choose a date that’s on or close to your dog’s actual birthday (or adoption date). Weekends are typically best as to not interfere with work or school schedules. You may also want to reach out to some of your guests in advance to see if they are available before confirming the date and time. 

Choose a location

Pick a safe, dog-friendly location that your pup likes. This can be your backyard, a local dog park, or a dog birthday party venue. Be sure to check the weather forecast: if it’s too hot or cold, you may want to have the party indoors.

Decide on a budget

Dog birthday parties can get expensive depending on how many guests are attending, how elaborate your cake and decorations are, and if you need to rent a venue. To be sure you don’t go over your budget, decide how much you want to spend in advance and factor all of these things in before inviting your guests.

Make a guest list

You’ll want to invite your pup’s best pals and their humans to the birthday party. Keep in mind the venue size, as well as your budget for food, drinks, desserts, party supplies, and dog birthday party favors.

Invite guests

Include your theme in your dog birthday party invitations. You can send invites via email, an online invitation service like Evite, or social media. Be sure to send out your invitations at least two weeks in advance, as well as a party reminder a day or two before the big day. 

You should also mention any rules or safety requirements in your invitations, such as supervision and bringing leashes for each pet. “Make sure you tell the dog parents that they will be required to come and supervise their own dogs,” says Charlotte Reed, a petrendologist and producer/host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Pet Buzz. “I do not allow dog parents to just drop off dogs at my parties.”

Dog Birthday Party Prep

Have fun with the planning process as you work through the following details:

Pick a theme

Set the mood for the party with a fun theme. This could be a superhero or princess theme, or a famous dog from a movie or TV show like The Secret Life of Pets or Scooby Doo. But even a simple theme will do, such as a luau, winter wonderland, or fun color scheme.  


Decorations are essential for creating a fun and festive atmosphere. You can look for dog-themed decor or tablecloths, balloons, banners, or streamers based on the theme you’ve chosen. And don’t forget to buy paper or plastic cups, plates, napkins, and utensils for all the guests. 

Set the menu

Decide if you’ll be serving a meal (for the human guests) or just snacks and dessert. Some common meals are BBQ, sandwiches, or pizza. “We recommend easy grab-and-go bites because everyone will be running around keeping up with their fur babies while snapping those IG-worthy moments,” says Luke Silverman, founder and CEO of Bark Social, a dog social club and birthday party venue.

Serve specialty drinks

Specialty cocktails and mocktails are a hit at every party. Silverman recommends serving human specialty drinks and matching with dog-friendly versions, such as pupmosas, puptinis, or puplomas, using dog-safe ingredients like whipped cream, broth, or watermelon

Decide on dessert

Whether it’s a dog birthday cake, pupcakes, or some extra-special dog treats, you’ll want something to serve to your birthday boy or girl and all of their friends while you sing “Happy Birthday.” Doggie desserts can be homemade or purchased at a local dog bakery. You’ll also want to provide a dessert for the pet parents, such as cookies or cupcakes.

Dog-proof your dog birthday party venue

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure your dog’s birthday party spot is safe, secure, and completely dog-proofed. If the party is in a backyard, check that there are no holes in fences, sharp objects, foxtails, or anything else that could harm a pup. You can use a gate or fence to block off any sections of the yard that are not safe for canine visitors. Also consider having a secluded area to use if a pup gets a little too rowdy and needs a “time out.” And be sure to provide plenty of water and doggie poop bags!

Dog Birthday Party Activities and Games

Once the initial meet and greets wear off (there will be plenty of rear sniffing!), have a few simple games and activities planned that will engage both the dogs and their humans. Based on whether you will be indoors or out, there are several fun birthday party ideas for dogs that will make your pup’s party a real hit. 

Silverman suggests interactive activities, such as bobbing for apples, dog-friendly cookie decorating, or “Pupcasso.” This is “where each dog and their owner receives a board with dog-safe ‘paint’ (peanut butter)…when the dog licks the peanut butter, [their] tongue acts like a paintbrush and spreads the paint into a freeform design,” he explains.

Other fun activities to consider are a dog trick contest or a puppy piñata filled with treats. And on a hot day, you can keep the party cool with water games, such as swimming pool fetch, water tag using a toy water gun, or a sprinkler agility course, where humans and their pups run through an obstacle course of sprinklers. Just don’t forget to provide prizes (dog treats) for the winners!

Making Your Dog’s Birthday Party Extra Special

To make your furry friend’s big day unforgettable, here are a few additional dog birthday party ideas and details to consider:

Party favors

Dog birthday party favors are always a hit at a canine celebration. Consider treats or dog “cookies” from a dog bakery to be enjoyed another day, since your pup will likely have had more than enough treats for one day by the time the party’s over. You may also want to share a cute favor for the pet parents too! Paw-shaped soaps, doggie ornaments, or even a festive koozie are all fun ideas for your human guests.


Every party needs music! Make a playlist of fun party songs and be sure to include some dog-themed tunes, such as Who Let the Dogs Out? and Hound Dog.


If your dog isn’t opposed to wearing clothing, you can pick out a fun birthday shirt, bandana, or party hat for them to wear at their party. This will make for great pictures, and your pup will love all the extra attention! Just make sure your pup is comfortable in whatever attire you choose; never force an outfit on a dog. 

Birthday gift

Don’t forget a birthday present for your furry friend. This could be anything from a new toy to a special treat. 

Take lots of pictures

Capture the memories of your dog’s birthday party with lots of photos. You can even hire a professional pet photographer or delegate a friend to take some candid shots of your birthday pup and their furry friends.