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5 Ways to Celebrate Your Dog’s Gotcha Day

No party animal can resist pupcakes and scavenger hunts.

by Casey Gueren
August 2, 2022
happy dog with birthday cake in dog bowl

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Your last birthday party may have included a bottle of wine and a Zoom screen, but the novelty of a virtual fête was likely lost on your dog. Their Gotcha Day” is the anniversary of the day they were adopted, and as such, is deserving of a proper party — so what if they can’t read a calendar? According to the American Pet Association, 22 percent of dog owners celebrate their pet’s birthday, so it’s hardly a rare occurrence anymore — even more of a reason to celebrate. Below, all the party essentials necessary to throw your pup a proper bday bash.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

1. Let them eat cake

birthday cake treats

The way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach. Fortunately, if there’s one thing we all learned during quarantine it’s how to bake. Dozens of dog-friendly recipes, from carrot cake to peanut-butter pie, are a click away. But if you only mastered sourdough, that’s where boutique biscuit company, Bocce’s Bakery, comes in. Just don’t be tempted to sample their mouth-watering peanut butter, vanilla, and carob birthday cake treats yourself. And if your dog doesn’t have a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with a home-cooked steak dinner.

$5 at Amazon
birthday cake treats

The way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach. Fortunately, if there’s one thing we all learned during quarantine it’s how to bake. Okay, maybe you haven’t mastered sourdough and baking dozens of carrot cake or peanut-butter treats sounds more tempting for the humans in your household — but that’s why boutique biscuit brand, Bocce’s Bakery, exists. On the other hand, if your dog doesn’t have a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with a home-cooked steak dinner.

$5 at Walmart

2. Design a scavenger hunt

the toy came in different colors

Although splurging on your pet is nary a rare occurrence, it’s best to invest in toys that you know will stand the test of time (and your pup’s chompers). Your spoiled dog will never tire of new toys, but rather than splurging on the umpteenth indestructible one that will assuredly be reduced to a pile of stuffing before their special day is over, hide treats in this Sudoku-inspired brain game as a fun birthday party activity of hide and go seek.

$32 at Dog & Co.

3. Host a dog park party

the blue party hat with red tip

Though you might insist on a private karaoke room before letting loose with your own inner circle, your dog won’t object to reveling with their best friends and gate crashers alike at the local watering hole, a.k.a. the dog park. A good host never forgets party favors, and you can ask pet parents to pay it forward by donating cash or supplies to a dog rescue (perhaps the one where you found your pup, if they are adopted). Party hats included.

$14 at Modernbeast

4. Splurge on designer duds

5. Commission a portrait

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Casey Gueren

Casey Gueren is a writer, editor, and content strategist. You can find her work at SELF, BuzzFeed, Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and others.