Dog days of summer puppy pool party
Who says pool parties are just for people? Help pets and owners beat the end-of-summer heat together with a water-themed canine celebration.
At a pool party for pets and owners, the water play is the main event -- but a pool becomes quickly crowded if it's the only option. Create a space for both pets and people to keep cool out of the pool.
Set up sprinklers and wading pools in a side yard as a makeshift splash-pad for the party. Include water buckets stocked with chew toys that absorb the water for your guests to play splashy games of fetch with their pets.
Add another level of fun by incorporating mini waterslides or a slip-n-slide and arrange the area into a wet and wild obstacle course for pets and owners to run through together.
For your furry guests' safety, keep a watchful eye on pets around any plastic sprinklers, as they can become choking hazards if a pet decides to turn it into a chew toy.
Check out the PetCo - Chuck It amphibious dog ball toy >>
Water isn't just for fun at a pool party -- outdoor party guests, both human and canine, need to stay hydrated. Provide plenty of bottled water for the owners, or save some cash and the environment by mixing up pitchers of refreshing summer beverages like iced tea or fruity slushes.
Set up several water stations around the yard for your canine guests with several bowls at each spot for multiple pets to refresh themselves at once.
The basic backyard barbecue menu of burgers and salads will do for human fare -- but for pets you may want to consider baking up some fresh doggie treats. Pet-friendly recipes are also available for foods that can be served to both pets and their owners.
Freeze up a few ice cream cakes for a refreshing dessert option. Humans can handle any ice cream you'd like to mold into a cake pan, but a puppy cake requires special attention. Pick up ice cream that's both fat-free and lactose-free to make the pet cake, then decorate the dessert with doggy biscuits.
Restaurants may have stopped calling their take-home containers "doggy bags," but the concept makes for a great take-home party favor. Put together an array of bones, biscuits, chew toys and doggy cookies in a gift bag for your pet-owner guests to take home as a special treat for their puppies.
Include photocopies of the nutritional information for all the treats in the gift bags so that the owners can check them against their puppy's allergy or dietary restrictions. Also, keep the stash of doggy bags out of reach and hidden away until the end of your pool party to keep pet guests from getting into their treats too early.
Presumably, human guests will get along regardless of how they feel about one another, but pets are another story. Ask guests to provide you with basic information on their pet's size, sex and temperament to ensure that all canine guests will get along at the event.
Also keep a watchful eye on male dogs around one another to prevent any quest-for-dominance altercations before they begin.