As the baby-boomers are taking the lead, in ever-growing numbers, as pet owners, so is pet spoiling and the ‘special pet events’ phenomenon. Baby-boomers, who are primarily empty-nesters are replacing their grown children with pets and spoiling those pets as they used to spoil their children.
Pet parties are one of the newest crazes; birthday and holiday parties with and for pets. They include activities and goodies for both the pets and their humans. Pet ‘birthday’ parties top the list, especially for dogs and then cat parties rank as a distant second. They vary from a group of pet owners and their pets going to lunch or dinner at a pet friendly restaurant to parties at the park or backyard house events. Pet-care facilities (doggy daycare sites and pet hotels) are another option to consider if you don’t have room for a home party.
As with Halloween… with pet ‘dress-up events’ or just petsblog your pet at a conventional gathering or party, there are lots of factors to consider. Will the pets on the guest list get along? Are your human guests pet focused enough and willing to keep an eye on their pet as well as maintain a pet positive environment at the party for everyone, while still having a good time themselves? And is your pet the type who likes being around other animals and groups of people, or is this party really for you?
There are many restaurants that are pet friendly these days so will cordon off an area, as they do for kiddy parties, for your pet event; some even supply decorations and goodies.
But if you prefer to do it yourself and go all out, here are a few suggestions:
Indoor Party Activities:
o Pick a fun theme. Party favors and decorations are now available for most types of pet parties.
o Have each doggy (kitty, bird, monkey, pot bellied pig, etc) guest come in costume and have a mini-fashion show or have your guests and their humans come in matching costumes! Give prizes for best costume(s), funniest, most original, etc.
o Bring Kong type toys, one for each doggy guest, filled with cheese or peanut butter; catnip or tuna for the kitties.
o Have plenty of training treats, snacks and biscuits on hand and hold contests for best sit, stay, shake, roll over… (perhaps for most finicky for the felines?).
o Bring a good supply of rope toys for a doggy tug of war! You’ll find that sometimes the humans will participate as well.
o Paw mural painting can be done inside or out as long as you cover the floor well.
Outdoor Party Activities:
o A silly pet trick contest is a great event, indoors and out, but outside parties lend themselves to a greater variety of tricks. Give a prize for 1st, 2nd and 3rd or just for first prize and then give a treat to the others for participation.
o If you have mostly the same types (or breeds) of pets or groups that are the same sizes, dog (or piggy and kitty… if you can motivate them) races can be fun. (Dachshund or Chihuahua races are always funny.)
o Bring enough balls so there is at least one ball or Frisbee per doggy guest and play free-for-all fetch or wands with fake birds, small balls or catnip toys tied at the end for the cats.
o Agility equipment events like a tunnel for the dogs to race through is a good addition; make sure you have lots of training bits or other treats to offer them when they run through successfully!
o Water activities like swimming events in the pool for certain dog breeds during the warm season are possible activities to consider, or bobbing for biscuits using a small tub or kiddie pool with water and then tossing in some biscuits. Whoever gets them out the quickest wins!
o Also, if at the park, make sure you consider safety issues like portable fencing or stakes to attach leashes, so the dogs and their humans can relax for awhile.
o Make sure there is plenty of water – Provide separate bowls for each pet guest (possibly personalized for them to take home) filled with mineral, filtered or even Smart(TM) water.