Dog parties…non-dog-people don’t ‘get it.’ However, throwing your pup a birthday party is probably more common than you would think. According to Zenger News, a poll of 2,000 pet owners showed that 1 in 5 threw their dog a birthday party last year. Not to mention, a dog birthday party is a great excuse to get close friends (and their dogs) together and have some fun. If you are struggling with ideas on how to entertain your guests, here are 14 exciting dog birthday party games that are sure to be a hit with both the humans and the pups on your guest list.
1. Fetch & Frisbee
A classic game of fetch is always a crowd-pleaser at dog birthday parties. It’s simple, yet incredibly satisfying for dogs who love to chase. With a collection of tennis balls or bouncy balls, you can plan a lively competition. This is my dog, Lacy’s favorite pastime. She absolutely lives to play fetch and loves to dominate the game.
For those looking for a twist on the traditional game, introduce a frisbee into the mix. This high-flying alternative is perfect for dogs that have a bit more energy to burn. The dog that successfully snatches the frisbee and brings it back in the least amount of time can be declared the winner of the challenge.
2. Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a classic scavenger hunt? The best thing about this idea is it can include both the pups and humans. Split your guests into teams and give each a sheet with different categories of things they have to find around the neighborhood.
They can take their dogs on leashes and photograph their pup in front of each item they have to find. For example, if they need to find a specific street sign, they can have their dog sit in front of the sign and take a photo.
The first team to find the highest number of items in the least amount of time is the winner of the game.
3. Backyard Obstacle Course
Construct an obstacle course with different stations featuring ramps, jumps, tunnels, and weaving poles. The versatility of this setup allows you to adjust the difficulty based on the agility of the party guests, ensuring that every pup can participate.
As each dog navigates through the course, celebrate their completion time or just their sheer enjoyment. The obstacle course is not only a crowd-pleaser but also a great way for dogs to burn off some of that birthday cake energy.
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4. Puppy Photo Booth
This idea is not necessarily a game, but a fun activity your guests are sure to love. Put up a fun backdrop, get props and accessories for the pups, and take lots of pictures. If you want to keep it on the cheap side, take your own pictures on each other’s phones. The best part? Your guests will have adorable photos as keepsakes from the party.
5. Muffin Tin Game
Leverage your dog’s sense of smell with the Muffin Tin Game. Fill a few cups in a muffin tin with delicious treats or bits of dog-friendly peanut butter, and cover all of the cups with tennis balls. Challenge the party dogs to sniff out the tasty treasures. It’s a fantastic game that encourages problem-solving and provides a tasty reward for the dogs.
6. Bone Hunt Extravaganza
Embrace the thrill of the hunt with a bone hunt extravaganza. Whether you’re at a local dog park or your backyard, you can hide milk bones (or any small treats/dog bones) around the area. At the go signal, unleash your doggie guests to find as many hidden treasures as they can.
7. Musical Mats
Musical Mats, a dog-friendly variant of musical chairs, prompts dogs to find a mat to sit on as soon as the music ceases. With one less mat in each round, it’s a playful elimination game that ends with one final pup triumphing as the ultimate sitter.
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8. The Hot Dog Gobbler Game
The Hot Dog Gobbler Game is a fantastic hit at any canine celebration. Dogs partake in a splashy feast as they snap up pieces of hot dog floating in a small kiddie pool — crowned winner is the fastest muncher.
9. The ‘Which Hand?’ Game
A fantastic way to incorporate dog treats and mental stimulation into play, The Which Hand Game taps into a dog’s keen sense of smell. Pet parents conceal a treat in one hand and dogs guess which one holds the tasty prize — a joyful challenge for dogs and a testament to their amazing olfactory abilities.
10. Relay Races
A relay race is a classic way to burn off energy while having a good time romping around the backyard. You can have a classic race where you start the dogs at the starting line and see which dog races to the finish line the quickest or you could do a relay style and include the humans as well.
11. Simon Says
Everyone knows the childhood game, Simon Says. The most obedient dog is sure to take home the prize during this game. Prepare a series of commands like “sit” or “stay.” When a dog ignores the command, they are out of the game. The last furry friend standing is the winner.
12. Dog Painting
If you have a smaller group and want to get a little artsy, this activity is extremely fun to watch. This idea was actually shared on Good Morning America.
- Buy white canvases (available at most Dollar Trees) and put several non-toxic paint colors onto the canvas.
- Spread xylitol-free peanut butter onto a plastic Ziplock gallon bag or plastic wrap.
- Put the plastic wrap over the paint-splatted canvas. Ensure your canvas is completely covered with no holes.
- Now, have your dog LICK the peanut butter.
- Watch as they “paint” the canvas.
These also make for great party favors guests can take home as a fun keepsake.
**Make sure you supervise your dog to ensure they are NEVER actually licking the paint.
This game does not need a lot of explanation but would be fun to do during a dog birthday bash.
14. Door Prizes
The last idea on the list is having door prizes for different themes of your choosing. The winning dog in each category gets a special prize (homemade treats, small toys, etc.). Ideas for different categories could be…
- Dog with the best bark
- The best dressed pup at the party
- The smallest furry guest
- The largest furry guest
Dog Birthday Party Games FAQs
How do you keep different sizes and breeds of dogs entertained during party games?
To keep a diverse group of dogs entertained during party games, choose activities that have variations for different sizes and breeds. Include games like the which hand game or bone hunt for scent-driven dogs, and set up an adaptable obstacle course or have tennis ball fetch for those more physically inclined. Always monitor the play to ensure all dogs are engaging safely and happily.
Are there any dog birthday party games that humans can participate in as well?
Yes, there are many dog birthday party games where human guests can participate alongside their pets. Games like the scavenger hunt, photo booth, relay races, and musical mats are designed to encourage joint participation. Not only do they offer a fun way to deepen the bond between owners and their dogs, but they also add a lively atmosphere to the party.
Can you have dog birthday party games indoors?
Absolutely, there are several dog birthday party games that are suitable for indoor spaces. Games like the Muffin Tin Game, musical mats, and the dog painting activity are perfect for a fun indoor celebration. Ensure enough space and move fragile items out of the way to create a safe play area for your canine guests.
What are some creative treat-based games for a dog’s birthday party?
Creative treat-based games for a dog’s birthday party include the Muffin Tin Game, where dogs find hidden treats beneath tennis balls, and the bone hunt, where treats are concealed for dogs to discover. Trick and treat contests, where dogs perform tricks to earn treats, also provide stimulating and rewarding fun. Such games not only keep the dogs engaged but also reinforce positive behavior with delicious rewards.