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Birthday Parties for Dogs

A party is a great way to show your best friend just how much you love them.  They make you laugh, keep you company and are always there when you need them.  There is nothing better to lift your spirits than their smiling face, wet nose and wagging tail.  Whether it’s a birthday party or just a ‘thank you’ party, a celebration in their honour is just the thing to show them just how much they mean to you.

Dog parties are becoming increasingly popular.  To some it is all about the dog and to others it is just an excuse to get friends around for a fun get-together.  Whatever the reason, dog parties are certainly memorable for the dogs, the kids and the adults.

Start with a party plan.  This will help you tick everything off as you go and makes sure that you don’t forget anything.  The venue is the next decision.  Of course, it could be in the backyard if it is suitable for a bunch of excited dogs but other options include the local dog park or the beach.  These give lots of room for running, playing and party games.

Spend some time choosing the doggie guests to be invited to the party.  Make sure that they are well behaved and sociable and that their owners are able to keep them in control.  Just like any celebration, great guests make a great party!

Invitations are a must!  Make your own using fun images of the host dog or cute cartoon characters or perhaps, if you are particularly talented, visit a craft shop and purchase some colourful card and cute cutouts.  Remember to include the date, time, address, dress code and the date for RSVP’s.

A party just isn’t a party without balloons but remember that while some dogs love them, others might become scared if they pop.  Place them high enough so that they look fun and decorate them with felt ears, eyes, nose and mouth or cover them with paw prints.  Draw chalk paw prints on the floor or along the path to add to the doggy theme.

Use white paper for a table cloth and draw on paw prints and bones.  Add some brightly coloured plastic tableware.  Dog bowls or even Frisbees make great plates for the doggy guests but let’s face it, when everything is served to them on the ground, it’s unlikely that the dogs are even going to use them!.  Remember to have lots of water bowls around for the dogs and keep them topped up throughout the day. Choose music to suit the theme of the party; it might even encourage guests to dance and don’t forget the paw-ty hats; kid’s ones work perfectly.  The elastic may need to be adjusted in length to fit on the dog’s head and they may not last very long so take photos quickly.

Photos from parties are always full of fun and bright colours.  Check out our “Pet Photography” fact sheet to find out how to take the best pet photos.

If you are not the best photographer, ask one of the guests to take on this job or put some disposable cameras on the table and let everyone have a go.  To add to the fun, have a themed backdrop on the wall and take photos of the human and doggy guests on Hollywood Boulevard, next to Scooby Doo or in amongst some palm trees.  Email the best photos to guests after the event with a lovely thank you letter and make a scrapbook for your own happy memories.

For table place cards, buy one bone shaped dog biscuit for each four-legged guest and use icing pens to write on their name.  Place each bone at the table where they are to sit.  They won’t last long but will look fantastic.

No party is complete without a ‘doggy bag’ of party favours to take home.  Decorate paper bags or Chinese noodle boxes with a paw print from the doggy host and fill it with delicious dog treats, both large and small.  Add a tennis ball or a dog-safe toy and don’t forget a ‘thank you’ card for attending the party.

Remember that humans love a party favour bag too!  Why should the dogs have all the fun?

It’s not a birthday or a party without a cake.  Try these recipes as cup cakes for individual servings or bake a large cake in the shape of a bone, dog or ball.  Instead of candles, decorate with rawhide chews or other long dog treats and place baked bone-shaped biscuits around the side of the cake to add to the theme.

Never feed dogs chocolate, even if baked into a cake, as it could make them very sick or even prove deadly.

Using carob in a “paw-ty cake” is still tasty and much safer.

Bacon Chicken Layer Cake
3 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
½ cup margarine, softened
6 eggs, beaten
½ cup oil
2 jars strained chicken baby food
2 cups finely shredded carrots
Plain yoghurt

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease & flour two 20cm round cake pans.  In a mixing bowl, beat margarine.  Add eggs & oil, mix well.  Add chicken and carrots. Mix until smooth.  Add flour & baking powder.  Mix. Pour into pans.  Bake for 1 hour.  Let cool in pan for a few minutes.

To prepare, place one layer on the serving plate and spread yoghurt over the top.  Place second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining yoghurt.  Decorate with crumbled bacon or bacon jerky.

Banana Carob Chip Cake
2 cups water
2 ripe bananas
1/8 tsp vanilla
3 cups wholemeal flour
½ tbs baking powder
1 egg
2 tbs honey
½ cup carob chips

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Grease and flour a 20cm cake pan.  In a bowl combine water, bananas, vanilla, egg and honey.  Add flour and baking powder.  Mix well.  Pour mixture into pan and sprinkle carob chips on top.  Bake for 75 minutes or until cooked in centre.  Cool and decorate.

Paw-ty Biscuits
280g wholemeal flour
1 tbs baking powder
315g unsalted natural peanut butter
1 cup low fat milk

Preheat oven to 190°C. Line trays.  In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and milk.  Stir in the combined flour and baking powder.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Roll out to 1cm thickness and cut into shapes.  Make small & large biscuits to suit any size dog.Place 2cm apart on tray.  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool.

Dog-friendly Frosting
Make a delicious frosting suitable for dogs by combining a tub of low fat cream cheese with 3 tsp carob powder, 1tsp vanilla and 1tsp honey.

Alternatively, combine 2 cups mashed banana, 1 tbs butter, 6 tbs carob powder, 2 tsp vanilla, 3 tbs plain flour and 1 tsp cinnamon.

There are lots of healthy options at Better Pets and Gardens which will let the dogs enjoy some snacks but remember that they will also be getting lots of food rewards when they are playing games with their friends.  The doggie guests will be too busy having fun than worrying about the food table.

Unlike humans, dogs only need a few bites of cake or treats for their party so don’t let them eat too much.  It would be terrible for guests to go home with an upset tummy.

Make ice cubes out of low-salt broth.  The dogs will love these on a hot summer day.  Throw them on the grass for them to devour or put them in their food bowls.

Make some doggy biscuits by choosing a solid canned dog food.  Take it out of the can in one piece and cut it up into discs.  Place these on a tray with greaseproof paper and bake them for about 30 minutes or until they become crispy.  Decorate them or break them up into pieces for smaller dogs.  These are a delicious but healthy dog treat.

Serve some bowls of Nuts and Bolts for the humans – they look just like dog kibble!  To make, preheat an oven to 180°C and line a tray with baking paper.  Combine 2 ½ cups Nutri-Grain, 2 ½ cups unsalted mixed nuts, 35g packet French Onion Soup Mix, 1 tbs lemon pepper and 1/3 cup olive oil.  Toss well and spread over the baking tray.  Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

If kids are at the party, paint their faces like puppies.  A black nose and a few black dots for whiskers work a treat but if you are really creative, try a dalmation or beagle.  Give the kids some headbands and some craft equipment to make their own dog ears and tail.

Add to the theme by serving bone shaped cookies and sandwiches and cupcakes decorated as puppy dogs for the human guests.  And don’t forget yummy hot dogs – these are a must!  For a bit more inspiration, remember that Scooby Doo ate Graham Crackers which are the same as our digestive biscuits and of course Snoopy loved ice cream in a cone.

Why not choose a theme for the party. Encourage both the doggie guests and their human companions to dress up for the occasion and use decorations to suit the theme.

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