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Hosting a summer pooch party

Alicia is a freelance writer who covers everything from pets to cocktails, with cocktails being her favorite. Her loves in life include cheap wine, overpriced lattes, and avoiding exercise at all costs, all while trying to stay slim. She...

Celebrate the dog days of summer

Does your dog rule the house as the most spoiled member of the family? Gather up the rest of your dog’s best buddies this summer and host a party fit for the furriest member of your family.

dogs playing together

Treat your pup’s party just like you would a party for a child, and fill it with food, fun and all the things dogs love. You could even consider turning your pooch party into a fundraising event for the local animal shelter or an animal rescue group.

Decorate

Deck your party out with all of your dog’s favorite things like bones, balls and fire hydrants. Since your party will include the dogs' owners, prepare a table for the human guests, complete with items they can take home and use for their dog. Instead of plates, opt for new dog dishes. Instead of flowers, create centerpieces out of dog treats or toys. Wrap napkins and silverware with new collars or ribbons with personalized dog tags attached to each one.

Kibbles and bits

Offer food that both people and animals will love just in case the dogs sneak a bite. Consider grilling chicken or other meats and offering fresh veggies and fruit. Prepare dog-approved versions by portioning small amounts of food in small dishes or cupcake liners for people to feed to their pets. Make paw-print or bone-shaped cookies for your human guests to keep the theme consistent. Be sure to offer an assortment of drink options at a doggie drink bar with fresh water, chicken broth or beef broth.

Fun and games

If you don’t already have a pool, add a few small kiddie pools to your yard or turn on the sprinkler. Create a mini-agility course using things you already have around the house that dogs can run through or jump over. Of course, you’ll want to offer balls, Frisbees or other toys that people can throw to their pets. Consider offering a craft table where owners can make their own dog toys or decorate dog bandanas, collars or dog bowls.

Try making these DIY T-shirt toys >>

Party favors

Create a dog "candy" bar filled with homemade and store-bought treats. Let owners fill up little "doggie bags" of treats to take home after the party is over. Stuffed toys, bones or tennis balls are other great parting gifts for your guests. Other options could include more practical items like a new brush, a toothbrush or a portable water dish.

Paws for a cause

If you’d like to turn your party into a fundraising event or even an opportunity to help your friends find a new dog to take home, ask the local shelter if you can have photos of the dogs they have available. In some cases, they may be willing to bring a few dogs for you to show off to your guests. Use the dogs' photos as table decor or hang them throughout your space with information on the pets' personalities. Consider making extra copies that people can take home just in case they know someone who may be looking for a new friend. Ask guests to bring along a bag of food or treats that can be donated to the shelter.

Learn why you should adopt a dog from a shelter >>

Quick Tip

Make it educational by asking your veternarian or a leader of the rescue group to come speak about safety, health or the current need for animal shelters.

More for dog lovers

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