For your pet’s birthday celebration, you put a lot of thought and consideration into planning the festivities—creating the guest list, developing a menu, and coming up with fun activities. All parties take substantial planning, but when you need to keep the celebration pet-friendly, you have to consider the safety of your two- and four-legged guests as well. Our Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital team wants to help make your pet’s birthday party a memorable occasion, so we’re offering a few tips on how to plan a safe, but enjoyable, celebration.

#1: Bake pet-friendly pup-cakes

What’s a birthday party without a cake? Avoid the typical birthday cake loaded with sugar, fat, chocolate, and other harmful ingredients, and opt for baking your own pet-friendly version. No matter your pet’s preferred taste—savory or sweet—you are sure to find the perfect recipe online for a simple, healthy cake. If baking is not your forte, simply open a can of your pet’s favorite food, and adorn it with a few treats. 

#2: Whip up a batch of pet-healthy ice cream

Most pets are lactose-intolerant and cannot handle ice cream’s dairy, sugar, and fat levels without getting sick. However, if you believe that every birthday cake needs a scoop of ice cream on the side, whip up a pet-friendly option. For dogs, puree a mixture of banana, xylitol-free peanut butter, and yogurt. Freeze the concoction in a bone-shaped mold for special effect! Most cats prefer meat-flavored ice cream, so blend a can of their favorite food to a smooth consistency, add a bit of water, then pour the mixture into a fish-shaped mold to freeze.

#3: Let your pet choose their gift

Watching your dog browse the pet store’s aisles is a joy to behold as their tail wags in delight. Let your pooch wander the aisles and pick the perfect gift—or more than one. Ensure your dog has the opportunity to check out a variety of goodies, including treat puzzles, fetching toys, chew toys, or stuffed toys—and let them choose their favorite. 

Although your cat cannot safely explore a pet store’s aisles in search of a new toy, you can bring home several gifts they can investigate. Upgrade your cat’s boring scratching post to a climbing tower with a hideout and several scratching surfaces, or swap out their old stuffed mouse for a robotic one that invites interactive play.

#4: Spend time with your pet

Your presence is most important on your pet’s birthday. Dedicate a chunk of time to sharing your pet’s favorite activity, whether it’s hiking a new trail, playing a never-ending game of fetch or snag the feather on the wand, or snoozing on the sofa. Spending extra time with your four-legged friend on their special day—and regular days too—helps reinforce the bond you share.

#5: Set up a pet photo shoot

Commemorate your pet’s special day by setting up a photo shoot that includes a variety of birthday-themed props. Outfit your pet in items that fit well, such as a party hat, festive collar, or bandana. Snap photos of your furry pal devouring their cake and ripping open their gifts, and remember to take some selfies of the two of you together.

#6: Invite pets and people—Or not

Some pets are social butterflies. Others are introverts who prefer to cuddle on the couch with their favorite person. Before creating an extensive guest list, consider whether your pet really wants to celebrate with 50 of their closest friends and family members. If your furry pal enjoys the company of other pets, be sure to add their four-legged friends to the list. Keep in mind, though, that large gatherings can cause some pets to experience anxiety. Although your pet may have played well with another dog in the past, behavior can change from having fun in a one-to-one setting to showing aggressiveness in a noisy crowded situation.

#7: Schedule your pet’s annual wellness visit

We know—no one wants to think about a health checkup on their birthday, but scheduling your pet’s annual wellness visit helps ensure they will be healthy enough to usher in their next birthday celebration. So, give your four-legged friend the best birthday gift ever by scheduling their wellness visit with our Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital team.