Some owners ask whether it is worth celebrating their dog's birthday, whether they realise it is their birthday, and what to do for the occasion, so we will try and answer some of the common questions.
Does my dog know it's his/her birthday?
You may know the exact date your dog was born, or you may not, in which case you can choose an approximate date as your dog's birthday. Dog behaviour experts say that, depending on the breed, dogs have a mental age of a child between 2 and 5 years old. That means they are not really aware of dates or birthdays or when theirs would be.
However dogs do know when there are preparations for a special or different kind of day as they pick up on any change of behaviour from their owner and any change from the routine.
While they may not be aware of dates, they will for sure know it is a special day for them if you celebrate their birthday.
How to celebrate my dog's birthday?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your dog and will differ from dog to dog, you will know best as only you know your dog. If your dog is not very social with other dogs, focus the day on doing things he enjoys and spending a lot of time with him. If he enjoys walks, a very long walk somewhere different from his usual spots, paying him lots of attention, a lot of play time (more than usual) and with new toys will be fulfilling for him. If he enjoys swimming, put a paddling pool out for him, or take him to a safe lake nearby for the afternoon, and why not join him in the water to make it more special to him ?
More than anything giving your dog your full attention is what he will enjoy most.
If your dog enjoys agility, taking him to an agility course for the afternoon will make it special for him.
If on the other hand your dog enjoys the company of other dogs and is well socialised, in addition to the above suggestions, make his day special by taking him to a dog club where he will be able to meet other dogs, or invite his canine friends to your house if you have a garden. Let them sniff and greet each other first, to get (re)acquainted, then let them play and enjoy their time together, before starting with games or activities that you have prepared for them.
And of course no birthday is complete without treats and a cake !
What type of birthday cake for a dog?
Obviously, due to the sugar content and a risk to their teeth, never give your dog a cake for humans.
However a cake can be made from the many dog friendly ingredients and you will find many dog cakes in various outlets online and in some pet food shops. Or you may wish to make your own with suitable ingredients such as various types of cereals, flour, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, natural peanut butter, honey, shredded carrot, various fruits such as banana, apple, pear, peach, pumpkin, yogurt based sugar free dog safe icing, dog treats for decoration, and a meaty stick for a candle, and others. There are many receipes online.
What games to play?
Planning out activities ahead of time will make the day more enjoyable for all. Here are some suggestions:
Tug of war
Many toys are available for this and most dogs love pulling the toy in order to get it and run away with it. Try and match the dogs as evenly as possible.
Many dogs love this game and it's also a good way for them to exercise. Remember dogs who may not run as fast by sending a different ball closer to them to also give them a chance to participate.
If on a hot day, your dog and his canine friends may enjoy play in a paddling pool put out for the occasion, or playing with sprinklers.
A treasure hunt
Searching for dog treats is always a good idea, but do remember that a dog's sense of smell is way more developed that humans', so be inventive with hiding places, for example some treats on the ground, some hidden in shrubs, others higher up on low branches of a tree or bush, some under objects that can be moved, etc. Make it a challenge.
An agility course
If you don't have access to an agility course, you can make your own in your garden by setting up a few different types of obstacles, suitable for the breeds of dogs present at the party.
No birthday is complete without gifts! While a new collar, or leash may be good for you, it won't really make a difference to your dog. So we recommend opting for new comfy bedding, a large bone from the local butcher's, a cuddly toy if your dog is likely to enjoy it and not destroy it in 5 minutes, and new exciting dog toys that are different from what he/she already has. But what your dog will enjoy most is for you to devote extra time to him, to cuddle him, go on a long walk and to play with him, maybe even with these new toys.
Party bags & Photos
To thank your dog's canine friends for coming along, you may want to give them a little party bag to take home, with different types of doggy treats. And of course, more for the owner, no birthday is complete without photos of the day of your dog enjoying his day.
Your dog's birthday at DogStroll Daycare Center
Our staff like to make your dog feel special, so we celebrate the birthdays of each dog in our care. As we are closely involved with each dog and know them well, we plan the party's activities according to the dog's abilities and temperament, as it is his/her day.
Be sure that your beloved dog will be fussed over and have a very special day, and we will take photos to share with you.
At the end of the day your dog may still not know it was his birthday, but he will know it was a special and fun day, which is what a birthday is all about, isn't it?