How to Plan a Puppy Shower for a New Dog
When it comes to welcoming a new dog into your family, you may be like the millions of Americans that adopted a dog at the holidays. But that’s not the only time of the year for getting a new pet. There are animals available year-round at rescues and shelters.
In our family, we have adopted four dogs over time, and they all joined our family at different times of the year. We adopted one in August, two in November and one in April.
Regardless of when you, a friend or relative welcome a new dog into your family, it might be fun to plan a new puppy shower. What is a puppy shower? Exactly like it sounds—the dog version of a bridal or baby shower.
I’ve put together these seven tips for planning a new puppy shower.
1. When to throw a new puppy shower
If you’ve adopted an actual puppy, the best time to throw a party to celebrate your new canine is after the puppy gets his or her first vaccinations. That usually occurs when the dog is about 12 to 18 weeks old.
If you’ve adopted an older dog, you may want to wait a few weeks until the dog has settled into his or her new surroundings. I know that with the dogs we adopted, it took about three to four weeks for the dogs to start acclimating. For example, none of our dogs barked when they first came home with us. But by the one-month mark, they were barking with reckless abandon at the mailman, UPS truck and more.
2. Guests to invite to your puppy shower
To help socialize the new puppy, invite a mix of adults, kids and dogs. If possible, try to time when guests with dogs will be arriving. It’s ideal to limit pet guests to no more than two at a time.
Keep an eye out to make sure your puppy is not overwhelmed. If you go the open-house route, which can last longer than a “regular” party, you may need to put your puppy into the crate for a break after a few hours.
3. Designing a new puppy shower invitation
If you want to go old school, look for invitations printed with dog bones and a pink or blue ribbon to reflect your new dog’s gender. You can also include playful text such as “Sit. Stay. Join us for a Sip & See paw-ty for our new puppy!” Or, “We’re planning a pawsome time to celebrate our new pup, and we hope you’ll join us.”
Specify the party rules, such as the hours for the party and that other dogs are welcome. However, be explicit that those with aggressive pets or whose pup’s housetraining is questionable should keep their dogs at home. Ask that all dogs arrive on a leash. Have everyone, especially guests bringing pets, RSVP so you can coordinate their attendance.
4. What food and drink to serve at a puppy shower
Offer delicious pet-themed food for humans. This could include dog bone shape cookies you make with a cookie cutter, or bowls of popcorn that you label “pupcorn.” For healthy snacks stick with fruits and veggies that dog owners could share with their pups safely.
Snacks can be served in dog bowls, and a specialty “Salty Dog” drink can be served for adults along with non-alcoholic “Puppy Punch.”
For the dogs attending the party, make sure there are plenty of water bowls in convenient places. You want to make sure the pups all have access to fresh water. Try to keep puppy treats on a separate table away from the human food.
Of course, a new puppy shower would not be complete without a puppy shower cake. Definitely choose a cake made from pet-friendly ingredients. May I suggest our dog bone cake pan along with a dog cake mix for a DIY puppy shower cake.
5. Fun activities to do at a new puppy shower
While everyone takes turns holding and playing with the new puppy, you can have face painting for kids to transform them into puppies themselves, complete with a puppy nose and whiskers. The party can also include a fun game of puppy Bingo.
You could have a dog-themed movie playing in the background (skip Marley and Me to avoid tears). You could also have a dog-themed Spotify soundtrack queued up with songs like “Who Let the Dogs Out?” on it. With the pet guests, you may want to organize a few group “potty breaks” outdoors as well.
6. How to decorate for your puppy shower
You can draw chalk paw prints on the walk leading up to your house. You can also place sticker dog prints on the floor inside the house leading to the backyard where guests can take their pets outside.
If your home isn’t conducive to hosting the puppy shower, consider booking one of those places where you can have a dog birthday party. They’ll come pre-decorated, and will have everything you need on hand to have a dog-friendly celebration.
7. Great gifts to get a new canine member of the family
When it comes to giving gifts to dogs, I tend to stick with items that my own dogs love. So this would include Nylabones for chewing, KONGs to fill with treats or peanut butter, and my dog Sadie’s favorite squeaky balls, which look like mini tennis balls.
May we suggest some dog party favors as gifts?
If you want to splurge on a gift, every dog owner should have a Furminator brush. It’s awesome to use in the weeks between grooming appointments to keep your dog’s coat under control.
Another option, especially if you know someone getting a puppy - look into a pet subscription gift box or mystery bag!
Not a dog owner or dog lover but invited to a puppy shower? Well, you can always give a gift card to a store where the new dog owners will be able to shop.Finally, don’t send your guests home empty handed. Consider making human and dog cookie treats for “Doggy Bag” party favors. You can probably find paw print party favor bags on the cheap at your local dollar store.