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How To Throw A Dog Birthday Party Like A Boss

To throw the best birthday party for your dog there is lots to consider including a stylish outfit, games, goodie bags, decor, cake and much more! This guide will cover everything you need for your pups birthday celebrations.

2yr old labrador wearing birthday boy dog bandana blue for his birthday party
Cute black labrador showing off his birthday boy bandana at his 2nd birthday party

If you know exactly what you’re after, skip ahead with these links:-

1) Cost

2) Stylish Outfit

3) Venue 

4) Decor

5) Guest List

6) Games

7) Perfect Picture

8) Safety

To keep our guide as simple as possible, we have broken it down in steps of importance.

Step 1 -Cost

How boring right, to think about cost first, what a buzz kill right!

We totally understand but speaking from experience, it’s important to know how much you can spend on the party before planning begins. Our customers have done parties from $50 all the way to $15,000. 

To get the best value for money it’s important allocate your budget to the areas you think are most important.

Step 2- Stylish Outfit

Super cute toy poodle wearing a Small sprinkle sailor bow from Swanky Paws for her birthday
Pink Sprinkle Sailor Bow easily attaches to collar

To select the best birthday outfit you need to consider these things-

A) Budget

B) Size & Calmness Of Your Dog

C) Delivery Times

D) Can It Be Re-Used

You might have guessed we would say style comes next but everyone we meet agrees. 

The birthday outfit is the most important element of any pup paw-ty because it’s make the important memories count. No one wants to arrive to a party naked!

A) Outfit Budget

2 French Bulldogs wearing their cream tux bandanas for a wedding
Luxury dog tuxedo's can also be used for a stylish birthday outfit

Birthday outfits can range between $5-$200+ depending on if you chose a cheaper overseas purchase or opt for a higher quality or custom piece.

Common favourites include simple accessories like birthday bow ties, sailors or bandanas. Almost any dog is comfortable wearing them plus they look great & cost effective.

Our range of bows, bandanas, sailor bows & ID tags all have designs made just for birthdays. Personalise them with your dogs name for year round use.

Other common outfits include full body pieces like dresses or bundles with lots of products that go together.

B) Size & Calmness

Cute Dachshund wearing pink sailor bow on collar with Bling centre of crystals
This luxury pink sailor bow has a crystal covered centre

Many dog brands only offer sizing to suite a small % of breeds (usually small-medium).

This means many dogs can’t find it in their size because of being too tiny or a giant breed like great danes.

Swanky Paws offers our products in sizes for any breed from tiny puppies to big great danes, no one misses out!

Click Here for help with measuring your dogs neck size.

C) Delivery Times

Delivery times is an important detail to any birthday party item, not just the outfit.

Many overseas companies take over a month so we recommend sticking with Australia made to get it delivered faster, especially for last second parties.

If you’re in a real hurry with only a few days to the bday, Swanky Paws offers “Rush Order” at checkout to have the item sent next business day guaranteed (+$10).

C) One-Time vs Re-Use

 What’s better than a paw-some birthday outfit? One that can be re used next year or be year round!

For this reason we recommend quality products that won’t fall apart after a single use. Even better are multi-purpose designs like our bandanas that you can add their name to the back side & use it year round!

Step 3) Venue

Top things to consider when picking the venue to host dog party-

A) Venue vs Home

B) Dog Friendly

C) Fenced vs Un-fenced

D) Price/hr & Bond 

E) Amount Of Parking & Ease Of Access

F) Allowance For No. Dogs

G) Indoor vs. Outdoor

H) Carpet/Tile/Timber Flooring

I) Mess & Doggy Accidents Cleanup

There is actually lots to consider when it comes to picking the venue. Many don’t allow dogs or will restrict up to a certain amount or kg size. Common venues include dog parks, dog friendly hotels, regular parks & of course someones house.

Other times we have attended dog parties where there is not enough parking. Because traveling with dogs on public transport is difficult and often not allowed, everyone will need parking near the venue.

Consider the costs involved with using a venue vs home with possible bond & hourly rate for hire. You should contact local council for park use as they often have a cap on dogs/people allowed before you need to pay & get permission. (Often capped at 50-100 for free use)

Pro Tip: Most indoor venues don’t allow human food to be served with human food due to Australian hospitality law.

Step 4) Decor

Sprucing up the decor of the dog birthday is sure to increase the vibe and fun for the event.

Here are the most common items we find our customers add as decor for a dog bday party. Many of these are found with either dogs, bone, paw print etc design on them.

  1. Paper cups (for humans)
  2. Paper Plates (for humans)
  3. Birthday Hats
  4. Balloons
  5. Bone Shaped Treats
  6. Paw-Print Goodie Bags

You can go as small or as big as you want here, just be budget aware as it can add up.

Many of our customers opt for a modest set up with all the normal birthday parties items but with the added dog theme to it.

For example, swap out the regular paper cup for a paw print covered paper cup and swap party hats do doggy party hats, now it looks the part.

Where To Find/Buy Decor

Like regular birthday parties you can hire the big stuff from party hire stores or you can DIY.

There are heaps of youtube videos and blogs about ways to DIY the decor yourself.

Our favourite place to buy decor for dogs birthday parties in Australia is here-

Step 5) Guest List

French bulldog wearing a cute pink birthday girl dog bandana with pink glitter vinyl
Reversible "Birthday Girl" dog bandana with crystal and pets name on back

Top things to consider for the size of guest list & dogs included –

A) Amount Of Dogs

B) Venue Allowance For No. Dogs

C) Size & Breeds

D) Temperament

E) Amount Of Goodie Bags, Food etc

F) Amount Of Parking

G) Plenty Of Notice

Something important often left to the last minute is working out the guest list for the dog party.

Unlike a normal party, you don’t just think of the human attending, you need to think about their dog.

This is not just about having enough goodie bags & cake for everyone, it’s also about safety. How their dog will behave around other dogs, food & the environment chosen is very important.

Some dogs are sensitive to big dogs and other breeds might be aggressive when around food. Talking to the owners of all the dogs invited is important to avoid a possible scuffle between the dogs.

Step 5) Games

Our Top Simple Games For Dog Parties Are-

A) Best Dressed Competition- May the best dressed pooch win

B) Paw Painting- Dog friendly paint used to press paws on paper & framed

C) Tug-o-war- Long rope with a dog at each end

D) Re Call Race- Have the dogs held at one end of track and release. Fastest dog to their owner wins.

E) Sit N Stay Stand Off- Have everyone command their dog to stay. Take steps away in 10 second increments until a winner is decided.

F) Resist- Each dog has to resist eating their slice of cake or treats. The longest time wins.

All of these games are super easy to prepare for and execute even with lots of dogs.  Don’t forget to award prizes for the winners!

Check out our dog birthday games guide for more types of elaborate games & in depth guides.

Step 6) Get The Perfect Pic

cute cream french bulldog in front of dog cake showing off her birthday dog bandana
Professional photo of dog birthday bandana & cake

You want to get the best photos possible to remember the day and also share to socials like Instagram & Facebook.

A)  Camera Phones- These days the best pictures you can simply take on your smart phone. Proper cameras are always great but unless you’re going to enlarge the image to get put on a canvas, most smart phone work great.

B) Get The Outfit Neat- Something often overlooked until studying the pics later on. Be sure to straighten any bow ties, dust off dirt/grass from outfit and try take the pictures before cake messes it all up.

C) Even Lighting- Avoid photographing in places with both harsh & dim light. Best to take pics in all sun light or all shaded for consistent images without areas super bright or too dark to see.

D) Focus- For the best photos you’re going to want to try keep the dog/s still for a few seconds & looking in to the lense. Easier said than done but using a treat, strange noises or the dogs favourite ball can help get the pic, even with multiple dogs.

E) Reduce Distractions- Best way to get a good photo & group shot is to pick an area with the least distractions possible. Good idea to let the dogs sniff around for a bit first too to reduce the curiosity.

For an in depth guide to taking expert pet photos check out other blog, for the basics we recommend this-


Step 7) Safety

It may be boring but it’s important to be on top of these things when planning a dog party-

A) Heat/Cold- Consider if the day will be too hot/cold for outdoors or if indoor with air con is required. Some dogs have lots of hair which can make them extra hot & others no hair which makes outdoors in winter difficult.

B) Hot Pavement- On extreme heat days in Australia the pavements, concrete & roads can get extremely hot and burn their little paws. 

C) Vaccinations- Kennel cough and other nasties can spread with group activities. Be sure to check all the dogs attending are healthy & fully vaccinated.

D) Neutered- It seems obvious but we’ve personally seen woopsies at doggy parties. Be sure all dogs attending are de-sexed to avoid accidents… it can happen!

E) Calm Dogs- Some dogs can be aggressive with other size & breeds. Check your guests all know their dogs have been well socialised and calm in multi-dog environment.

F) Dog Friendly Food- This is one that has gone wrong lots of times. There is lots of food & ingredients from human food dogs can’t eat. Be sure the cake & any treats are pet-safe.

G) Emergency Plan- Like any normal event, plan for the nearest vet and transport encase of a pet emergency. Dogs can have allergic reactions, strokes, fights, dehydrate etc.

Check out our list of foods dogs can’t eat here.

Consider if the dogs coming are ones with double coats. If it gets too hot they might need a place to cool down.

the same can be said for dogs with little body fat on cold days will need coats or a place to warm up.


Other Things To Consider

Poop Bags

Goodie Bags

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