Happy Birthday to Your Dog
Is your special furry friend having a birthday soon? Just because they may not be aware of things like time and aging doesn’t mean you can’t make their birthday an incredible one. With how much our dogs enhance our lives, and especially during these challenging times, why not find any excuse to celebrate something? Crown & Paw is here with some ideas to help you make the most of your dog’s birthday.
What If I Don’t Know My Dog’s Birthday?
Don’t worry! With how many of our dogs are adopted from shelters or found out in the world, plenty of people don’t know their dog’s actual birthday. That shouldn’t stop you from celebrating all of the amazing things that you love about your pet.
Some people choose to simply make up a birthday for their dog. It can literally be any day that you want, in any month that you want. That’s the glory of our pets not having a calendar on their smartphones. If that works best for you, there’s absolutely no shame in choosing a random day to celebrate their birthday.
Many people choose to celebrate their dog’s “gotcha” day instead of their birthday. Your dog’s “gotcha” day is the day that you brought him or her home with you. In fact, “gotcha” days are also commonly celebrated by people who have adopted human children! It’s a sweet way to celebrate the day that your dog joined your family, even if you don’t know when they technically entered the world.
Let’s be realistic, though. Much like having a birthday party for your toddler, having a birthday party for your dog is about celebrating your bond more than their actual birthday. It’s difficult to be a pet parent sometimes, especially if you have a puppy or have recently added a new dog to the household. Celebrating their birthday is a way to also give yourself a little praise for all of the patience and understanding that it takes to raise a dog… and you deserve that!
How Should I Celebrate?
However you want! Honestly, the sky really is the limit when it comes to canine birthday celebrations. It really all comes down to your dog’s special, unique personality. Much like you wouldn’t throw a unicorn birthday party for a child who is into monster trucks, you don’t want to throw the “wrong” birthday party for your dog.
That’s why the first order of business should be taking a look at “who” your dog really is. Is your dog a social creature who loves going to the dog park and making new friends? Is your dog incredibly food driven and would do anything for a cookie? Are they shy and reserved? Your answers to those questions can really help you plan the best, most appropriate birthday party for your dog.
Unfortunately, with the current world situation, big parties and get-togethers aren’t recommended. That means that you may have to be creative with exactly how you celebrate. Many places still allow trips to the dog park as long as you’re socially distancing, but make sure that you’re being as safe as possible.
In addition, if you’re not used to taking your dog to the dog park, a special occasion may not be the best time to start. While many dogs enjoy going to the dog park, some get stressed out or even aggressive when they’re around other dogs. Finding that out on your dog’s birthday is probably not the birthday surprise that you were looking for.
When you’re considering who to invite to your dog’s birthday party, it may be best to limit the number of dogs unless they are regular playmates. While dogs may get along with each other well under normal circumstances, big parties with a lot of people also create a lot of excess energy that some reactive dogs may feed off of. Don’t create a situation that may stress your dog out if that isn’t your dog’s personality.
What About Gifts?
Of course you should give your dogs gifts! While they don’t have opposable thumbs to open the gifts, that doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy tearing them open. You don’t even have to wrap them at all. We promise that your dog will be just as excited even if they aren’t wrapped.
There are a few categories of gifts that are great for any doggie birthday party.
You can’t really go wrong with giving your dog new toys. The amount of dog toys out there continues to multiply, and every dog’s personality has a gift that goes along with it. For the heavy chewer, there are dog toys that were designed specifically to hold up to a high amount of abuse. For the dog who enjoys squeaky toys and stuffed animals, you can find toys in nearly every shape, size, and color. There are even niche dog toys for plenty of different hobbies and pop culture favorites. As a pleasant side effect of buying your dog a new toy, you’ll also get at least a few hours of peace!
If your dog isn’t really into toys, you can give them the gift of being more active with them. Since dogs don’t really understand presents anyway, if you make them a promise to try to be more active, you both win. Plus, they won’t know if you break it! Getting outside into nature is great for both of you, and fresh air can really help elevate the mood and break up the day to day routine.
You should also give yourself gifts! You’ve done a great job raising your dog, and you deserve to do something nice for yourself too. One of our favorite gifts to celebrate any dog’s birthday is to have a pet portrait made of them. Pet portraits are the gift that keeps on giving throughout the entire year, giving you a way to showcase your pet on the walls of your home in a unique way. Everyone who enters your home will smile when they see it, and you’ll be able to remember your dog even for years after they’re gone.
Should I Get My Dog A Cake?
Yes, you can absolutely get your dog a cake… with a few important things to remember.
First, and most importantly, dogs can not eat chocolate. While it may be tempting to get a human-style birthday cake, chocolate is actually toxic to dogs. You don’t want to turn your exciting birthday party into a trip to the emergency vet, so stick to dog-friendly treats that they can safely eat.
If you’re feeling particularly crafty or just love to bake, you should consider making your dog a birthday cake on your own! There are plenty of different recipes out there that can guide you to create the perfect cake out of dog-friendly ingredients like bananas and peanut butter. It doesn’t have to be a traditional cake, either. You can make dog biscuits, cookies, or any other type of canine treats you think that your dog would enjoy. It’s their special day, after all!
They also make dog-friendly ice cream, which is available at most major grocery stores. It’s the perfect complement to any doggie birthday cake (or pupcakes, if that’s more your style). Always check to make sure that your dog (or any other dogs that may be attending the party) isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients before letting them partake, though.
One Last Important Thought
As much as we refer to our dogs as our furry children, it’s important to remember that they are animals at the end of the day. We can throw them birthday parties and talk to them like they can understand us, but there can be real danger in actually treating them as though they were humans.
Dogs are pack animals, and they crave order, boundaries, and direction. While spoiling your dog and giving them treats, toys, and other goodies isn’t a bad thing, make sure that you’re not going too far. Dogs without rules often end up with behavior problems that make everyone’s lives more difficult.
That also means that you shouldn’t have any guilt over not being the perfect dog owner! Dogs have short memories for most things, so feeling like you stayed out too long and made your dog sad or feeling like a horrible person for stepping on their tail accidentally… let it go! You’ll remember it much longer than your dog will, and they forgive you immediately. Forgive yourself too, and stop holding yourself to such a high standard!
Doggy birthday parties are all the rage right now. Celebrating the unique energy that your dog brings into your life is an exciting and important way to honor your dog’s place in your life. Even though your dog might not know it’s his or her birthday, or even know that the party is about them, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a celebration of their life.
Crown & Paw is all about anything that showcases the special love between a dog and their human, no matter what else is going on in the world. Your dog is always there for you; it’s time to return the favor.