Our pets are extensions of our families. So, when it’s their birthday, it’s only natural to want to celebrate! Although dogs and cats probably don’t understand what a birthday is, they’re sure to enjoy being showered with extra love and attention.
The traditional trappings of a birthday party are probably not appropriate for your furry friend, however. You want this celebration to be festive and safe! Fortunately, it’s easy to help your pooch or kitty feel extra special as they turn a year older. Here are a few tips.
1: Get a pet-safe cake
Birthday cake is a staple at any birthday celebration. Unfortunately, cake made for humans is filled with sugar and other ingredients like chocolate that can make our pets sick. This doesn’t mean your pet has to go without, though!
There are tons of pet-safe cake recipes available online, or you could purchase a pet cake made by a local bakery. These cakes use pet-friendly ingredients like applesauce, carrots, peanut butter and bananas. Some are even grain-free for pets with food sensitivities! And the best part? Many of these recipes are just as tasty to humans as they are to pets!
Of course, you don’t want your pet to overindulge. Too much cake—even of the pet-safe variety—can make your dog or cat sick or at least ruin their balanced diet. Opt for small portion sizes. You can always save ingredients by making a cupcake!
2: Swap decorations for comfort
While humans may appreciate festive decorations like balloons, streamers and confetti, these items will probably go unnoticed by your pet and can pose choking hazards. You don’t want your birthday party to be spoiled by a surprise trip to the vet!
Instead of decorating your home for your pet’s birthday, upgrade your pet’s favorite spaces with a bigger, cozier bed or a new fluffy blanket to curl up with. Or, help your pet look festive and fun with a new bandana, collar or outfit. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures to commemorate the occasion!
3: Surprise them with a new toy
Some pets have a favorite toy they never part with, while others get bored of toys quickly. Regardless of which group your pet falls into, they’re sure to appreciate a present on their birthday! Pick out an age-appropriate toy (or a few!) for your pet to surprise them on the big day.
If your pet loves to help unwrap gifts during the holidays or your family’s birthday celebrations, wrap up their gift, too! This provides a little challenge and mental stimulation alongside a fun reward. They’re sure to have a blast digging into the present and unwrapping it on their own to get to the toy inside.
Another option is to let your furry friend pick out their own gift. Take a trip to the pet store and help your pet browse the aisles, then buy a toy that seems to pique their interest. Since your pet is the one doing the picking, they’ll be more likely to play with it later!
4: Go on a pet-friendly adventure
Dogs and some adventure-prone cats love exploring, so treat your pet to a fun activity with a pet-friendly day trip! Visit your pet’s favorite trail or park or go somewhere entirely new and give them an engaging experience. No matter where you go, bring your pet’s favorite frisbee, ball or toy to play with and just have a blast!
You may even be able to surprise your pet with playmates. Invite some of your dog’s furry friends to join you in the park for some socialization and playtime.
5: Give them extra TLC
Your pet’s birthday should be all about them, so feel free to spoil them with tons of cuddles, pets and kisses! “Pampering” might look different for every pet. You might give your pup a massage, brush your cat or enjoy hours of snuggles on the couch.
Above all, remember that your pet’s birthday should be about what they enjoy, so don’t push them to be social or play if they’d rather relax alone! The last thing you want is for your pet to feel stressed or overwhelmed on their special day.
Going the extra mile for your pet on their birthday will ensure they feel loved and special as they enter a new chapter in their lives. Be sure to fill their day with safe and fun memories that you both can cherish.