Dog birthday party etiquette. What does that mean for you? When it comes to a dog birthday party, well, there's a lot to consider. In fact, the etiquette of attending a dog birthday party is a lot like attending any other kind of birthday party.
The following advice is given both for the people throwing the dog celebration--be it a Bark Mitzvah, an adoption anniversary party or a birthday bash--as well as the guests.
Dog Birthday Party Etiquette: Invitations
As the host you want to make sure you give your guests plenty of time to plan for your party. You can invite them with traditional paper invitations or e-invitations. (Check out the adorable dog-theme ones on Evite.com.) Be clear on the invitation if other dogs are welcome.
As far as guests go, please RSVP. Whether you've been invited by text, phone, Facebook event or paper invitation, please let the host know if you are coming. There's nothing more frustrating when planning a party than not knowing how many people are coming. And this is from someone who, before started a dog business, wrote books about wedding planning.
Speaking of who is coming, only those invited should show up. This includes both humans and fur babies. Did the invitation include yours and your dogs' names? Then by all means, bring them along.
This is assuming that your dog behaves well among other dogs. I realize some dogs are serial sniffers or happy humpers, but those that act aggressively or violently against other dogs or people should probably sit the party out. So be a good dog owner and leave your pup at home.
Dog Birthday Party Etiquette: Food
As far as what else to serve the humans and the four-legged guests, I would suggest anything that dog and people friendly and safe. I'm thinking carrots, chicken, rice, bananas, etc. Check out the ideas on our Pawsome Doggie Pinterest board on dog birthday party ideas.
Dog Birthday Party Etiquette: Gifts
Unless the host has specifically requested no gifts, you should always come bearing one. Remember how mom always said not to show up at someone's house empty handed. Whether you give a dog birthday gift--meaning something specifically for the dog to enjoy--or a gift for the dog owner or pet lover is up to you.
May we suggest our new awesome dog birthday gift options right here on Pawsome Doggie? We've got the Mittsy Tough rope pull toy, great for dogs that are tough on toys. Then there's also the Happy Birthday tennis balls that come in a three pack. So puppy friends can play along with the birthday dog.
If the birthday dog doesn't play well with others when it comes to new toys, as the host you might want to hold off on opening the gifts while your furry guests are still around. The last thing you need is a dog fight.
Dog Birthday Party Etiquette: Favors
Sometimes shopping for favors to give your guests, as a thank you for coming to the party, can be the most fun part of the planning. With puppy party favors, you can go a couple of ways.
- Food and treats. You can go with food, such as homemade dog treats or biscuits you might have bought at your local pet bakery.
- Practical presents. What dog owner doesn't need poop bags? Drop a roll or two in paw print bags, and you've got a ready made favor. Even better buy mini bottles of hand sanitizer in bulk and add them in with the bags. I know that I always keep hand sanitizer in my dog walking bag.
- Toys. You can also send each dog home with a new toy. I'll give another nod to our new Happy Birthday tennis balls. In addition to being a great gift for the birthday dog, I think they're a pawsome party favor, too.
Dog Birthday Party Etiquette: Thank Yous
I believe that thank yous are always required after you've given a party and received gifts. However, I also believe that the rules on thank you notes have relaxed a bit. Sure, you can send a hand written or paw stamped thank you by snail mail. But if your dog has an Instagram feed or a Facebook page, you can also send out a thank you shout out to those that attended the celebration.
If you don't have a famous pup, well, a digital thank you would be fine as well. A text, tweet or Facebook message should be fine--just as long as you acknowledge the gift in one way or another. And don't wait too long to send them--maybe a week or two max after the party.
I'm hoping that this post on dog birthday party etiquette is the first of many posts I'll write on dog etiquette. If you have a question or etiquette situation you'd like me to address, please post a comment here.