Your pet is a part of the family, and when their birthday rolls around, you like to pull out all the stops to celebrate another year of unconditional love, affection, and loyalty. Your pet may not understand a birthday party’s meaning, but you can bet they will be excited when you shower them with attention, treats, and presents. Our Emerald Animal Hospital team loves any excuse to celebrate our four-legged friends, and we’re sharing four tips on how you can throw your pet a safe and memorable birthday party. 

#1: Give your pet the purr-fect present

Show your pet some birthday love by giving them a present that will engage their mind and body. Consider these ideas for safe and entertaining gifts your pet will love:

  • Interactive puzzle feeder — A puzzle feeder promotes your pet’s natural hunting and foraging instincts, and encourages them to problem solve to get to their tasty food.
  • Durable chew toy —  An appropriate chew toy will keep your pet entertained and can help prevent tartar accumulation on their teeth. But not all chew toys are created equal. Give your pet a chew toy that is large enough that they won’t choke, durable but not overly rigid, and—to prevent bacteria buildup—can be routinely disinfected. Regardless of the toy you choose, always supervise your pet when they are playing with a toy. Safe and appropriate chew toy options include:
    • Rubber and nylon toys
    • Large balls
    • Rope toys
  • Orthopedic bed — A comfortable, supportive, and healthy resting place is important for your pet’s wellbeing, and considering the amount of time all pets spend sleeping, a high-quality bed is essential. Orthopedic pet beds are designed to provide complete support and cushion your pet’s joints—especially their hips, knees, and elbows. While they can be pricey, orthopedic beds can significantly improve joint stiffness and discomfort in pets with arthritis, and hip and elbow dysplasia. Every pet appreciates a comfortable napping spot, and an orthopedic bed is the perfect birthday gift. 
  • Dental chews — Your pet’s dental health is as important as your own. Without regular dental care, your four-legged friend can suffer from painful periodontal problems, but also heart, liver, and kidney damage. In addition to regular brushing, provide your pet with dental chews that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Registered Seal, which have been proven effective in slowing plaque and tartar accumulation. Your pet will love the tasty flavors, and you’ll feel good knowing you are supporting their dental health. 

#2: Serve up delicious pet-friendly treats 

A cake is a birthday celebration staple , but a cake made for humans—filled with sugar, chocolate, and other potentially dangerous ingredients—can make your pet sick. Rather than nix the birthday cake, find an online pet-safe cake recipe that uses pet-friendly ingredients such as applesauce, carrots, xylitol-free peanut butter, and bananas. Gather the family, sing Happy Birthday, and let your pet dig into their very own cake. To prevent your pet from overindulging and having digestive issues, keep portion sizes small. In addition, forgo putting candles on the cake, which pose a fire hazard.

#3: Play party games with your pet

By providing an outlet for their energy and curiosity while naturally relieving stress, enrichment activities positively influence your pet’s behavior and health. Enrichment activities are the perfect gift for your pet’s birthday. To exercise your pet’s body and stimulate their brain, play these pet enrichment activities with them:

  • Hide-and-seek — Your pet has a fantastic sense of smell and enjoys games that require using this sense to track down a special item or food. Start by showing your pet the toy, kibble, or yummy treat. Have your pet stay while you hide the item nearby.  Then—with excitement—tell your dog to find it, and let them sniff out their treasure. 
  • Obstacle course — Get creative and set up an obstacle course in your home, using existing items such as chairs, tables, boxes, and brooms—anything to help get your pet moving. Lure your pet up, over, under, and around the obstacles. The goal is to make your pet move, think, and have fun.
  • Dig blanket — Place treats inside a rolled-up blanket, secure the blanket with hair ties, and let your pet dig their way to the treats. This game enables your pet to use their natural digging instinct, enjoy a good workout, and earn a reward. 

#4: Give your pet the gift of good health

The best gift for your pet—a gift that lasts all year—is preventive care. Regular wellness examinations will help prevent disease and prolong your pet’s life. Annual wellness exams allow your veterinarian to check for subtle illness signs that may not be obvious but can be better treated or managed through an early diagnosis. Regular screening also provides your veterinarian with your pet’s baseline values for future comparison. 

However you choose to celebrate with your pet, they will appreciate the extra attention and love on their birthday. Keep the party going by scheduling your pet’s wellness exam with our Emerald Animal Hospital team.