Now that we’re right in the middle of the dog days of summer, we thought it might be a fun idea to offer some suggestion on how to throw a dog party. Yes, a party for your pooch. And why not?  After all, our pets are part of the family. And more and more, people are celebrating the tail-wagging member of the household.

Like all events, dog parties can range from down-home casual to upscale. The choice is yours. But one thing is for certain, if you want your dog party to be a howling success (sorry), you’ll need to do some planning…

Put some thought into your guest list. You want to make sure that you and your dog are friendly with the other party animals. Make sure the dogs get along. A party can be soured by quarrelling canines. (Jack Russell Terriers tend to be aggressive with larger dogs and they like to get all the dogs barking.)

Keep in mind that some dogs are frightened by loud noises and might not do well at parties.

Make sure that the dogs are up to date on all vaccinations and rabies shots and treated for internal and external parasites.

Have plenty of toys and distractions for the dogs to make sure they don’t get restless.

You can make your own dog party invitations. If you’re feeling creative, you can make your own cards by stamping a paw print with a paw print stamp , and then writing your own personal message. (We’re rather fond of the “humans optional” gag.)

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Have the party outdoors so that the dogs can run around.

Set up treats and party favours for both dogs and people. Purchase, or make some doggie treats for all your dog’s canine friends. Make bone shaped sugar cookies for the 2 legged party goers.

Create your dog party theme with cut out paw prints that stick on everything; hang some streamers; cut out some dog bones from construction paper to dangle from the streamers.

Make sure that dietary restrictions or food concerns are known before the dogs eat anything. Read more on our home party catering services page.

Keep chocolate, strawberries and raisins away from dogs and make sure there is plenty of fresh water. On hot days, dogs need two to three times more water than they usually drink.

If the dogs wear costumes, they should be made from breathable fabric and shouldn’t restrict an animal’s mouth or nose.

Make sure the party environment is pet friendly by removing anything they can chew on, or, um, anything else on…

On that subject: Designate a “pooper scooper” area for the dogs.

Let neighbors know about your party (when it comes to a backyard filled with dogs, sometimes things can get pretty loud). Try and keep the excited howling to a minimum. (Yours and the dogs.)

Make sure that the guests are all in agreement about your “house rules.” Some owners like to think their dogs are model houseguests and so they don’t always pay attention to their dog’s behavior.

Don’t forget the games at your dog party.  A few simple party games are fun for both your 2-legged and 4-legged guests.  Here are a few suggestions…

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Treasure Hunt: You can lead your canine guests and their owners on a hunt for a hidden treasure (let’s say, a bone). Divide your guests into three or four teams. Have hidden clues set up around the backyard for each team. The teams will follow the clues to a secret map, which leads them to the “treasure.”

Obstacle Course Relay: Have dogs and their owners maneuver through an obstacle course. You can borrow, buy or make obstacles such as jumps, tunnels and ramps. There can be prizes for the pup that completes the course in the shortest time, the most creative interpretation of obstacles, the happiest competitor etc.

Best Trick Competition:  Pick three judges. (Human ones, that is.)  Then get the dogs to perform their best trick.

We’re all social creatures and a dog party is a fun excuse for people (and pets) to get together.  Yap (sorry), it‘s all about having a good time. Oh, and one last thing, don’t forget to make sure all your guests leave with a doggie bag.