Celebrating Your Birthday Dog

Planning a pet party for that special birthday dog in your life? At a loss for what dog party decorations work best? While fun and style are crucial, don't forget to keep things safe for your canine guest-of-honor.

While there are a lot of dog bakeries out there now, nothing beats homemade birthday goodies even for our dog friends. A favorite recipe for some dogs is a "liver brownie" frosted with cream cheese. Baked in a bone-shaped pan, make sure you have enough to go around as it's lip-smacking good.

If you want to ensure that each guest feels welcome, send out invitations in the shape of a dog-tag. Print the guest-dog's name on the front and include the detail on the back. Continue with the theme by purchasing nylon webbing (usually 1" works best), and use fabric paint to decorate it to look like a collar. Write the guest's name on it (don't forget the details like a buckle or sparkly diamonds), and use it to mark each place. A nice party favor to send home with each guest is a tennis ball (appropriately sized, of course) with his name on it.

Safety is important, so make sure every guest has his or her own place to eat a piece of cake. Also, it's important to have at least one human for each canine guest. It's best to hold the party in a neutral, fenced-in location with all the dogs off-leash. If there are children present, make sure they know how to behave safely around dogs.

Some favorite dog birthday party games are: Bobbing for tennis balls, musical obedience, and hot dog races. Bobbing for tennis balls involves placing tennis balls in a small swimming pool so that dogs can grab one out. This game is especially great on a hot day.

Musical obedience is a lot like musical chairs. Instead of chairs, though, the idea is for the dog's handler to get the dog to sit on a square of carpet or towel when the music ends. Make sure to keep the circle a little bigger than you might for a kids' party.

In hot dog races, the dog has to carry a hot dog from the start line to the finish line (about 10 feet away). The dog with the most hot dog left wins-not necessarily the one who gets there the fastest!

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