Oh, happy day! The Premier Pet Hospital team loves hearing how our clients commemorate their pet’s special anniversaries and milestones. Whether it’s your pet’s official birthday, the day you met, or their gotcha (i.e., adoption) day, every day is cause for celebration when you love your pet!

Here are five of our favorite safe, fun, and festive ways to honor your four-legged friend.

#1: Bake a pet-friendly cake

Can you really celebrate without cake? Pet-friendly cake recipes are readily available online, easy to prepare, and contain only basic, pet-safe ingredients (e.g., no chocolate, sugar, or xylitol). And before you stress about decorations and details, relax, and remember that your pet won’t care what the cake looks like—as long as it tastes good! 

If your pet has dietary restrictions or food sensitivities, or is on a weight-loss program, have your veterinarian review any recipes or ingredient lists before you begin baking. 

#2: Host a paw-ty or pet play date

If your pet believes “the more the merrier,” invite their four-legged friends for a celebratory play date. Keep the event exclusive (i.e., invite only known pet friends who are well-behaved and up-to-date on vaccines), and avoid unwanted party crashers, illlnesses, or fighting. 

If your home is too small to host such a fabulous fete, consider renting a room at a nearby dog training facility or doggy daycare. Bring plenty of toys and entertainment (e.g., games and activities) to ensure everyone—pet and human—has a good time.   

#3: Play paw-ty games with your pet

Take your pet’s celebration to the next level with games and planned activities, which are a great way to reinforce your bond and make lasting memories. Whether you’re a party of two or 20, these fun games are sure to enchant both ends of the leash:

  • Pet puzzles — Puzzles are a great one-on-one option for “private” paw-ties. You can purchase puzzles and games or DIY from materials found around your home. Check out our dog enrichment post and the ASPCA’s feline enrichment guide for a little ins-paw-ration.
  • Distance toss — Challenge owners to see how far away their dog can catch a thrown toy.
  • Egg races — Dog and handler teams walk together on leash while the owner balances a plastic egg filled with dog treats on a spoon. The team who returns to their chair without dropping the egg wins.
  • Obstacle course — Set up a DIY agility course to challenge dogs’ athleticism and obedience.
  • Limbo — Dogs and handlers must pass under an increasingly low bar without knocking or bumping the bar. 
  • Musical mats — This game is played like musical chairs except that leashed dogs must be on mats or dog beds when the music stops.

Although we believe everyone’s a winner when they spend time with their pet, consider amping up the fun by providing prizes for first place finishers.

#4: Book a pet photo shoot

Photo shoots are an extraordinary way to capture specific points in your pet’s life and can be a great annual tradition. Many professional photographers specialize in pets and offer unique backdrops and themes, or will come to your home or your pet’s favorite park. This option is best for pets who are well socialized and not frightened by unfamiliar people, places, or equipment.

If you’d rather stay close to home—or watch your budget—DIY photo shoots are equally fun and allow you to capture your pet when they are most comfortable and authentic. Select a secure location in or near your home, set up your tripod, and bring plenty of treats and patience to get that winning shot.

#5: Give your pet an experience-based gift

For the pet who has everything—or simply isn’t interested in run-of-the-mill treats and toys—consider an experience or adventure that engages their mind and senses. Some ideas include:

  • Host a controlled “hunt” — Awaken your cat’s inner hunter with an interactive toy such as a laser pointer or remote-controlled toy. Use prey-like movements (i.e., away from, never toward the cat) to stimulate the predatory behavior cycle (e.g., stalk, chase, pounce, kill).
  • Explore a new park or trail — Take your dog on a sniff-ari and let them follow their nose through a new trail or field. If local regulations allow, use a long non-retractable leash to give your dog a sense of freedom.
  • Join a training class — Training is a great way to celebrate the pet-owner bondand have a good time. If you and your dog have already mastered the basics, check out introductory classes in agility, therapy dog, dock diving, nosework, tricks, or canine parkour. Online training courses can be safe, fun experiences for fearful, reactive, or anxious dogs and cats. 

Our pets live in the moment—unencumbered by future fears or past regretswhich many believe is the reason why our pets have so much joy and enthusiasm, and why every day is a special occasion. And, while daily festivities and cake may be a bit impractical for owners, on your pet’s birthday, gotcha day, or any other special day, we highly recommend living it up—however you see fit.

At Premier Pet Hospital, we honor pets every day as if it were their birthday by providing exceptional veterinary care. Contact our caring team to schedule your pet’s next appointment.