Hosting a dog birthday party is a fun way to celebrate your best friend (or for some people, your "fur baby"). We host parties regularly at our dog lounge in Chicago so we know a thing or two about what makes a party memorable. We've come up with a list of 15 ideas that can make your dog's birthday party as memorable as the daily love and companionship he/she gives you!
Make sure you've selected your dog friendly venue (more info below), invited all the guests and their pooches, and get ready to be creative.
IDEA #1: HAND OUT "DOGGIE BAGS"
Everyone loves leaving a party with a little something for their pup, and the cutest way to make your own "doggie bag" is to make it feel human. We like creating our treat-boxes to look like doggie takeout. Chinese takeout shaped cartons come in tons of colors and sizes. We like to use what they call "kraft brown" so we can decorate with something like this $5 cute pawprint stamp.
ORDER MASS QUANTITIES/BIG PARTY/COMMERCIAL
MAKE YOUR BOXES SILLY
If you're feeling silly - you can put a cat photo cutout on cardstock peeking out of the box like we did below. It just makes people giggle.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR BOXES
SMALL QUANTITY ORDER & COLORS
Since you probably won't be ordering 100 boxes the next best place to order from is from Amazon. Don't want basic brown? You can get any color and quantity you want such as these adorable hot pink ones (25 of them for just $10). From that link they come in a variety of colors and prints and you can get starting at just $10.
IDEA #2: FEED YOUR GUESTS SNACKS OUT OF "DOG BOWLS"
We like to make dog birthday party food something memorable by filling up cheap dog food bowls with human food and setting them out on the tables. There are lots of shapes and sizes and colors you can order online - everything from bone shaped bowls to bowls with bones on them. Or if you're feeling classy and modern and want to spend a little extra, you can go with a classic stainless steel bowl look on the tables to display the food you're serving.
IDEA #3: SETUP A
DOGGIE PHOTO BOOTH
Photo booths are ALWAYS a hit at a doggie birthday and you can make your pooch's birthday party memorable with photos that everyone will be excited to share online and even print out. HIRE A PHOTO BOOTH
Depending on your budget - you can hire a photobooth company professionally. If you want them social media savvy we recommend TAG PRINTS.
DIY/MAKE YOUR OWN PHOTO BOOTH
If you or one of your friends own an iPad and want to make your own dog photo booth on a budget like we did - you can order a gooseneck floor setup iPad stand, some photo studio lights, and install this $60 app from Simple Booth to take the photos. That's what we use for all of our doggie parties and events in Chicago. Setup a high bench or ottoman for your guests to sit on with the dogs and order custom photo booth props such as silly masks, signs, and more to make the booth more fun!
IDEA #4: BOOK A DOG FRIENDLY VENUE
Sometimes your apartment or house can't accommodate as many of your furry friends and human friends as you'd like - not everyone has a big backyard or room to host and that's okay. We recommend looking up a dog friendly venue in your area that you can rent for your party. Some regular venues will allow you to bring dogs in as long as you promise to cleanup.
We host parties at our dog lounge in Chicago but plenty of cities have options for venue rentals. The best way to start your venue search is to look up local directories. Sometimes you can find a bar, or even a dog daycare facility that will allow you to rent the space hourly and bring dogs with. A good place to start your search is using keywords or sites like Bring Fido or even starting with a search of reputable places on Yelp.
IDEA #5: PLAY DOG GAMES
Dog birthday party games are a fun way to keep your guests feeling silly and entertained. We recommend rousing human games of:
DOG GAMES AND COMPETITION
You can also have competitions with prizes to see whose dog is the most well behaved, can jump the highest etc. Come up with a list of things you can test the dogs on and then give rewards or cute certificates!
IDEA #6: BAKE PUPCAKES
Dogs attending the party will want a fun treat to munch on and following a recipe for healthy pup-cakes can be a great way to keep them satisfied and your guests in adoration of your creativity and cuteness. We like to top ours with tiny dog bones. This is our favorite recipe for a cute black and white pupcake:
2 Tablespoons carob powder 1/2 cup rice flour (We used organic brown rice flour) 1 tsp baking powder 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt 1 free range egg
Frosting: 3 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt 1 ½ Tablespoons creamy peanut butter (unsalted with no added sugars)
Preheat oven to 350ºF / 175ºC
1. In a small bowl, stir together carob powder, rice flour and baking powder. 2. In a separate bowl, mix coconut oil, Greek yogurt and 1 egg until well combined. 3. Add carob/rice flour mixture and stir until mixed. 4. Spoon mixture into mini muffin pan. Bake for 12 minutes. 5. While pupcakes are baking, prepare frosting by stirring together Greek yogurt and peanut butter in a small dish. Transfer frosting to a plastic zip bag, cut a small hole in one corner and pipe on top of cooled pupcakes.
** The above recipe is for treats only and should not replace your dog’s regular meal plans. Always check with your vet about any new additions or changes to your dog’s diet.
* Makes 12 mini pupcakes.
* Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
* Note, the coconut oil may begin to surface during baking. If desired, place pupcakes on a paper towel after baking to absorb.
IDEA #7: DOG BALLOON ARTIST
Hire a balloon artist to create some dog balloons for all of your guests prior to arrival. Have them make enough so that if some pop you'll still have enough to send your guests home with!
IDEA #8: HAVE THE HUMANS
DRESS UP LIKE DOGS
Giving the humans a chance to play dress up can add an element of silliness to the party. You can give out awards for the best costumes such as "Most likely to be mistaken for a real dog". Or - if you want to just add a minimally fun element to the party with minimal effort but silly dog ears - check out these ears on etsy that your partygoers can all wear.
IDEA #9: CREATE DOG BEER /
We love to have chalkboard writable drink dispensers filled with low sodium chicken or beef broth and ice. We label them with silly names such as "Long Island Iced Beef" or "Chicken-Tini". These drink dispensers are ALWAYS a huge hit and people love the creativity. You can simply order short, fat plastic cups online and garnish with an apple slice or carrot peels.
IDEA #10: MAKE A "HOT DOG" BAR
If you're pup has a summer birthday, doing a "hot dog" bar can be a silly pun and play on words for serving up some yummy food. We recommend Applegate hot dogs and a smorgasboard of different dogs like sausages, bratwurst, etc. and creating a fun spread of condiments.
IDEA #11: SETUP A TEMPORARY DOG TATTOO STATION FOR HUMANS
Let the dog owners and lovers at the party wax poetic and show their commitment to their best friends by putting on temporary dog tattoos. Etsy has a great selection you can purchase from local artists. Make sure to put out wash cloths, water bowls, and a trash can.
IDEA #12: SETUP A TEMPORARY DOG TATTOO/CHALKING STATION FOR DOGS!
Let the dog owners and lovers show their artsy side by using stencils and chalk pens to draw on their pooch. Anyone can do it, it's non toxic, safe and a fun way to keep your attendees engaged. If you have it in your budget, order a grooming table to put the pooches on for the station - otherwise setup some sort of raised bench or ottoman area so the humans can reach their pooch without having to bend over.
IDEA #13: SOCIAL SCAVENGER HUNT
Create a social scavenger hunt for your guests. Here's an example of one we've used at our dog lounge. Create a list of dog related questions such as "Find a person who lets their dog sleep on the bed" or "Find someone whose dog was a rescue". This allows your guests to socialize, interact, and get to know each other. Have everyone start at the same time and then offer a prize for the first person to turn in a sheet with a full set of signatures.
IDEA #14: MAKE PAW, BONE OR FIRE HYDRANT SHAPED HUMAN FOODS
Bone shaped sweet treats, sandwiches, or otherwise make cute food items. You can easily order a fire hydrant shaped cookie cutter and then use it to cut cheese, meats, or even make rice crispy treats in a bone shape.
IDEA #15: DOGGIE BALL PIT
Order a cheap kiddie pool and tennis balls (sometimes you can get used ones for cheap from a play it again sports) or some cheap plastic play balls and fill up the doggie play pit. Let the dogs jump and dive as they find their own fun in a pit full of multi-colored balls to chew and chase.
We hope these 15 ideas sparked some creative juices for you and that you'll have a wonderful party. If you live in Chicago, consider booking your celebration with us at SIT Social: A Dog Lounge!