Given that a furry pal’s lifespan is usually shorter than ours, we, the doting pet parents that we are, really want to celebrate their milestones one way or another. It can be as elaborate as booking a pet-friendly place or maybe as simple as celebrating  the event at home or with some friends at the park. There is a sense of gratitude and happiness that we want to savor, be it a birthday, adoptaversary, or rescueversary.

“It’s all about love and family,” shares Karla Kangleon, pet party planner at All4PETSparty.com. As an animal welfare advocate, she wishes to inspire others to be compassionate and respectful of all life forms through celebrations for pets. Any type of celebration serves as an opportunity to bond and connect with loved ones, friends, and the rest of the community.

The best part of pet party planning for Karla is creating the concept and interviewing pet parents to figure out what theme fits. Each party is unique; it helps to plan and prepare to ensure that aside from throwing a successful pet party, you also get to fully enjoy the experience.

Here are some things to consider.

1. Space

Choose a place that is appropriate for the star of the party. Is your pet sociable? Is it best to set up a little banquet at home?

While there is no place as comfortable as our own homes, places like The Paw Club in Pasay and Bark Central in Eastwood provide ample space for both humans and pets.

The Paw Club has the ambience of a nice restaurant perfect for hanging out, with the option of being outside. Bark Central, on the other hand, is very Instagram-worthy and more equipped for play. The Whole Pet Kitchen, a little deli in San Juan, is great for going on a bark-ery date with your pet for a quick meal if you want a simple treat to mark the occasion.

2. Décor

Decorations set the vibe of the party. DIY (do-it-yourself) projects are always fun to do, somehow therapeutic, and cost less, but note that they take time. A thoughtful assortment of ready-made party supplies may be a big help if you are racing against time, but it might cost a bit more.

3. Guests

Is it going to be an intimate party or one with a bunch of guests? Do you want other pets to come and join the fun?

Make sure that you send out an invitation. A Facebook event could be very useful in keeping in touch and giving little reminders to your guests about the details of the party. If your guests are invited to bring their pets with them, having them bring their vaccination records is the norm, as with all pet events.

Although being in an environment with multiple pets could look cute in theory, it is important to err on the side of caution if a pet seems unwell. We want to ensure safety for all animals and their parents.

A dose of mindfulness also makes a big difference in maintaining the fun. Always keep pets on a leash and make sure to respect each animal’s space. Advise your guests to be attentive and don’t force interactions among animals.

4. Gear

If your guests are bringing their pets, have multiple bowls of water around the area. Have some yummy treats for humans to give to animal companions to establish positive associations with being in a party and around other animals.

A bucket of ready-to-use cleaning tools will do the trick when faced with a literal party pooper. Pet cafés usually have designated staff to watch for such accidents and to keep the area clean.

5. Food

What is a party without some serious chow, right? Pet-friendly cakes and desserts are available everywhere nowadays and are most often the highlight among a big spread of food.

Pet cafés and dog parks offer a variety of menu items that cater to both animals and humans. All4PETSparty.com and Whole Pet Kitchen use holistic recipes with only the freshest ingredients for their beautiful cakes. You may bring these cakes home to your pets or share with guests. Yes, our pets can have their cake and eat it, too!

Animal-friendly cupcakes, cookies, and nibbles also make very good giveaway items. If some aren’t too fond of eating in public, or if human guests have animal companions who don’t like going out, giving out edible party favors is a sweet gesture.

6. Services

If you are up for the big shebang and want to have the best time, a party planner is your best friend. Karla of ALL4PETSparty.com is a great host who knows how to keep the party alive. And if your budget allows, a professional pet photographer can make sure the event is documented well.

I know we will always try to do it all ourselves, but really, anticipate that you will be too busy with your animal companion and guests. You deserve to be in the moment, to look great in the pictures, and to enjoy the party!

Party Time, Excellent!

The true spirit of the occasion is always one of love for our animal companions. If a human party can be fun, then a pet party should be twice the fun!

Let’s admit it. Most of us don’t even dream of throwing a bash for ourselves, but for our pets, we can go the whole nine yards! It is not out of frivolity; the goal is to stroke fur rather than ego. It is, after all, an experience to remember.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s March 2019 issue.