Written by S. Bowyer

     Every year, humans recognise and celebrate their birthdays. Gifts, cake, outings, and friends and family to share it with. In the dog world, it's becoming a practice also. Families are spending a good amount on their beloved fur babies, be them private home parties, or exorbitant shindigs for many dogs that attend the events. 

     I decided to look into the different tiers of dog celebration and seek out how far owners go to congratulating their pooches on another successful 365 days. 

     Dog birthday celebrations are not limited to the pristine little puppy that was bought in its youth. Enthusiasts claim that aged dogs from the pound are included too. They suggest if dog owners do not know their dog's birthday, to choose a date and stick to it each year. Love does not ignore our loved ones we didn't see pre-adolescence.

 

GROUP BIRTHDAYS

     First, let's meet Annie, a young dog who had her birthday at Miss Daisy's dog camp, where she and all her small friends have an amazingly fun, and activity-filled day: 


     The birthday party includes dog cake, desserts, games, and a teacup ride for Annie and all her dressed-up little friends. 

     Group birthdays such as this are becoming the rage, sometimes in public places and other times in people's private homes. Doggy party-goers suggest parties should not exceed 10 dogs. 

     Jeanette Farren, who works at Diggidydoggydaycare in Victoria, told Dog's Life magazine, "all doggy guests need to be well-socialised and trained, and the owners need to be trustworthy as well as ensure their dog is under their command at all times."

     Experienced dog party-organisers state that when inviting other dogs, ensure they are not aggressive or undesexed, and they are toilet-trained if the location is indoors. Also, that food intended for the human guests is kept away from dogs, and dog-friendly treats made available. 

     Dog partiers play games such as Musical statues (remain still when owner states), Simon Says, speed games (who will race and finish first), hide and seek (who will find the hidden treat first), and some even attend to dog contests, dogs awarded ribbons such as Cutest dog or Best party animal.

     Dog Logic Montana are a facility that have training and boarding kennels, as well as dog spas, and monthly birthdays. They celebrate the dogs' birthdays for the month collectively, inviting animals with a birthday approaching to attend their month. They also have a special yearly Christmas party: 

 

 

 

PRIVATE PARTIES

     Petee, the Labrador, is having a more private birthday:


     Petee appears to be having a private party, which is common for shy dogs or cautious owners. The party consists of presents and treats for the birthday boy or girl, and human-only guests, who are given treat bags to take home for their dogs. Goodie bags can include homemade treats, pigs ears, doggy biscuits, liver treats, and a myriad of dog-friendly alternatives to cakes, frozen desserts, and snack foods.

     Goodie-bag-only celebrating is suggested if one of the invited dogs is aggressive, but you still want the human to attend and share some treats with their pup.

     One dog owner in the UK, Karen Chamberlain, spent £5,000 on her dog, Lola's "100th" birthday. Chamberlain hired a beach club for her dog to enjoy, while wearing her £150 dress, and her £100 tiara. Lola's 100th became a special event, after she nearly died in a housefire, where a coffee pot melted and caused toxic smoke to fill the house. Her owner saved her life, rescuing Lola from the poisoned home.

     Chamberlain says, "People think I'm mad -- I've been called 'barking' more than once -- but it's only common sense to me that Lola should have had a tutu and a throne for her 100th birthday, considering her rocky journey in life."

     John Bradshaw, anthro-zoologist, says, "These commercial developments seem to come along in the States first and then spread over here (the UK). It is part of a general trend to treat dogs more like people."

HAVING YOUR PARTY

     Dog owners planning to hold a party for their pooch have many options. Websites suggest that once you decide on a party and choose your location, then it's time to create invitations (with an attached dog treat), and buy your dog-friendly food and game props.

     Choosing a cake opens a new world. You can either bake your own dog-friendly cake, using online recipes (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/doggie-birthday-cake/) or select a pre-made cake from a retailer.

 

 

 

      One retailer even had a treat for your dog's feline friend.

 

      Retailers also sell a collection of treat bags, either usable for take-home treats for guests, or at the party.

 

 

     Pupcakes Bakery  have a mini-treat pack including a Donut, Pupcake, Pupchocs and a mini Snap, Crackle, Pup treat. Their larger pack includes a Birthday Bone, 4 Pupcakes, 4 Snap, Crackle, Pups, a Gourmet biscuit and a packet of Puptreats.

      But how prevalent have dog parties become? A user asked on Yahoo! Answers how many people celebrated their dog's birthdays with the following results: 

      "I do not throw parties but I do recognized both their birthday and their adoption day by giving them (and the rest of the dogs in the household) a special treat. If we have a dog class or event that day I will sometimes make homemade dog treats and take them to class to share." -- Keezy

      "Sure I give him a special treat and wish him a happy birthday and tell him I am so happy to have him for my wonderful companion. Of course he does not understand the birthday thing but I have no doubt that he hears the love in my voice." -- Julia

      "I make a little cake out of canned meat with no bi-products and raw vegetables for my big Bich-poo, then take her on a trip to Petco, Petsmart, and the dog park. That's as much a party as she wants!" - Howl

      "I did once but, none of the dogs seemed interested. They played a bit but it wasn't anything spectacular. My dog wouldn't even eat cake. It was expensive and a total waste of money so, I celebrate it just with him now and give him a special bone or toy." - H

      "I celebrate by getting him new toys and he has his 4 to 5 dog friends. I invite them over to play with my dog and let my dog be happy and give him a little sweet thing on his birthday to make him feel happy and always remember that day every year!!" -- Kashish

 

      Dog birthdays are yearly opportunities to show our dogs we love them. Whether it's a quick pat on the head, a few friends over, or a huge bash at the local dog care facility, it's something many owners are now including into their yearly list of goals.

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