On Saturday, we celebrated Izzy’s 8th birthday with a walk at the beach and an afternoon tea at The Beach Cafe on Waimairi Beach. It was a gathering of our closest friends – all who have dogs in their families.
Here are my tips for holding a successful dog birthday party:
- Know your guests – if your friends have a dog that is aggressive or anxious, then maybe these dogs are best left at home.
- Go for a walk first. Our party started with a group dog walk at the beach; everyone was tired and happy when it came time to sit down for food.
- Keep the number of guests manageable. I suggest no more than 15 people and 10 dogs
- Book the party in advance with the cafe so they can set aside an appropriate table location for you. In our case, I asked specifically for a table in the corner (away from the main entrance to the cafe) and where we had some shade and would be sheltered from the wind. Some cafes may want to limit the number of dogs they have on their premises – so they’ll be prepared for the arrival of your party.
- Serve dog-and human-appropriate fare – and keep them separate. No one wants to have an upset tummy after a party. I booked a set menu of sandwiches, savouries and cake for the humans. The dogs were given party bags of treats and I also baked the dog birthday cake which had layers of liver and salmon. I brought my own paper plates for the dogs to eat their cake – so there were no risks or concerns about hygiene.
- Casual dress only – dog parties are no place to become a fashionista. Tidy and casual dress is recommended. One of our guests was wearing leggings (a good choice) which came in handy when she was slobbered on by a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Finally, relax and have fun. If you are stressed out about arrangements, neither you or your dog will find the event enjoyable.
I’m happy to report a good time was had by all. Happy birthday, Izzy!
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand