Man’s Best Friend

Is it lunch yet?

Celebrate your dog’s special day with a themed party complete with homemade treats, games and visits from their best friends! Pamper your pooch, but remember that safety always comes first.

As pets become more entwined in the lives of people, we find ourselves catering to our dogs more and more. Pets are considered part of the family and just as we commemorate our family’s birthdays with celebrations we can also plan parties for our four-legged friends. There are tons of pet party options, so determine what makes your pet happy and incorporate those elements.


Woofy Cookies
Peanut Butter Bones
Ice-Cool Tail Waggler

The theme of your party will vary based on the dog’s interests. Just as you would plan a party around the likes and dislikes of your child, the same goes for your dog party. Get to know your four-legged friend. Also consider his heritage; if he is a German Shepherd, a German-themed party would be great, with sausages as a main dish. Or if you have an Australian Border Collie, consider dried kangaroo jerky for appetizers.

Most dogs prefer being outside, so hold your party in a location like a fenced-in backyard or at a dog park (although the downside of the dog park is uninvited party crashers.) Of course, have a backup plan for inclement weather. Many doggie day care facilities and county or state parks also rent out for parties.

As for the guest list, remember not to invite dogs that your four-legged friend has not previously met and played with. With all the excitement of the event it’s a good rule of thumb to invite only close friends.

Minimal decorations are needed for your party, and contrary to what you may have heard,  dogs are not color blind but see fewer colors than humans. Dogs are dichromatic (they see only two primary colors—blue and yellow) whereas humans are trichromatic, meaning we see three primary colors—red, blue and yellow. So use blue and yellow for dog parties unless you have a certain theme such as incorporating a tartan plaid for your Scottish Terrier. Piñatas are great for dog parties, but remember that the guests can’t jump up and break them so put about four on the ground and spread them throughout the area. (Be sure to have a video camera handy to record the dogs breaking open the piñatas.)

Determine the party attire based on whether your dog is used to dressing up or wearing clothes. Dogs are used to collars, so provide decorative collars and party hats (though it’s a little harder to get the dogs to wear a hat). You’ll find a large variety at your local pet stores or online. If you do decide to supply costumes for the guest of honor and attendees, be sure the outfit doesn’t constrict the dog’s movement, breathing ability, hearing or even vision. The key is to have fun, but always put your dog’s safety first.

If you have a Labrador retriever or a dog that loves water, consider having the party at a river or creek. You could even set up small baby pools and sprinklers in your backyard. For activities, form teams with your dogs and hold relay races or have the dogs retrieve decoys. The team with the most decoys within a certain amount of time wins. Remember that dogs have a short attention span so five to 10 minutes is a long time for your canine friend. Some dogs love physical challenges and enjoy having a party with an agility course. You can set up a ring or tunnel for the dogs to run through and create teams with their two-legged parents. Also, for a nominal fee, a local dog school employee or obedience trainer may be able to chaperone the party to ensure the dogs play nicely.

Most dogs love food and their palate is easier to please than ours. Try to stay away from rich foods and, of course, chocolate. Give them a nutritious and delicious snack like Peanut Butter Bones made with molasses and peanut butter. Or if your dog is more of a chewy meat lover, try beef jerky treats. Most trainers use these for training or showing dogs.

Party favors are easy for this event. Small toys for each guest or a bag of Woofy Cookies are always appreciated. Remember, don’t give toys that have eyes or anything else a dog can tear apart and choke on. Rubber kong toys are an excellent choice because the dogs can’t chew through these. You can also include a  can of Cheez Whiz or a small jar of peanut butter.

Remember to have plenty of leashes and waste bags on hand, as well as disposable cameras. Not only will your four-legged pals be entertained, but your human guests will be too!

See Sources for Details

Woofy Cookies


  • 3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. wheat germ
  • 5 Tbsp. margarine
  • 1/4 c. plain molasses
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 1 c. water


  1. In a large bowl, combined flour, oatmeal and wheat germ. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  2. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F
  4. Carefully roll out the dough. Cut out your cookie shapes and place on oiled baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about one hour. Leave to cool. Store your dog party treats in an airtight container.

Peanut Butter Bones


  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. lukewarm water
  • 1 c. mashed potatoes
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. chunky peanut butter
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. rye flour
  • 1/2 c. rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c. all-purpose white flour


  1. Preheat oven to 325 ° F
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Put aside.
  3. Using a large saucepan, mix together potatoes, milk, molasses, chicken stock and peanut butter. Bring to boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add yeast mixture. Gradually blend in egg, wheat, rye and rice flours. (Add enough white flour to form a stiff dough.)
  5. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into a ball and roll to 1/2 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them about 1/4 inch apart. Gather up scraps, roll out again and cut additional biscuits.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool overnight. The biscuits should be the consistency of pizza crusts and are great dog party treats.

Ice-Cool Tail Wagglers


  • 4 oz. water
  • 8 oz. strawberry yogurt
  • 1 banana


  1. Using a blender, mix ingredients until smooth.
  2. Pour the mix into a variety of shaped holders like novelty ice-cube trays, small muffin pans, small paper cups (cut in half) or even purchase special bone shaped trays.
  3. Freeze.

Note: Remove paper cups before giving the dogs these party treats. If you use muffin tins, try spraying them with nonstick cooking spray first.