In the next article in our series about luxurious pet professions, we delve into the world of pet party planning and how throwing bashes for animals came to be. Who knew that furry festivities had health benefits for pet parents and pets? Here’s what to expect when planning an event, plus some tips and tricks for success!
by Caroline Wilson, owner/head editor & writer of /redpen
Have you ever been to a party and found yourself playing with the host’s dog rather than communicating with other party guests? Yeah, me too–multiple times.
Now imagine a party where all the guests are pets.
I know it sounds a bit ludicrous, but pet parties are becoming more and more common. In this age of extravagance, we’re not the only ones getting pampered –our critters are receiving the same luxury treatment. The statistics on exactly how many people celebrate their four-legged friends’ birthdays vary from study to study; the most trusted, from the Purina Pet Institute, shows that about 43% of dog owners and 29% of cat owners throw birthday parties or celebrate in some way. Some use their pet’s actual date of birth while others use the day that their pet came into their life. Hayley Mehalco, founder of Puppy Parties NYC says that, “For a lot of people, their pet is their first ‘child’,” and therefore deserves this celebration. Their furry friends, who can’t tell the difference either way, appreciate the attention regardless.
Believe it or not, there are health benefits to having a party for your pet. Creatures of all kinds need socialization to reduce the production of fear-related hormones. When animals are thrust into unfamiliar situations without past socialization, neurological signals start to pump adrenaline and corticosteroid hormones into their bodies–just like they would in humans. This can send your furry friend straight into “fight-or-flight” mode, which could end badly for them, yourself, or others in the area. In addition, those corticosteroid hormones decrease blood flow to the kidneys, decrease immune system function, and promote muscle breakdown, because the body is focused on staying alive–even if there’s no real threat. Imagine a poorly socialized pet going to the park for the first time. A situation that is perfectly safe–but one they’re unfamiliar with–could inadvertently have a huge negative impact on their health. Now, think of how hard it would be to administer a veterinary exam or groom a pet that hasn’t been properly socialized. Our animals, particularly cats and dogs, learn appropriate and inappropriate play behaviors through socialization. Bite inhibition–the realization of what point a bite causes pain–is achieved by puppies and kittens through socialization and play.
What’s more – there are even health benefits for your human party guests. It’s long been proven that interacting with animals does wonders for human health. Simply touching and petting dogs, cats, and pets of all kinds increases the presence of positive hormones and decreases that of negative ones in our body. Even watching our creatures socialize with one another–especially when they do something cute or funny–is good for us. The smile and/or laugh that we experience can produce serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins–the feel-good chemicals.
So what can you expect when you throw a pet party?
If you’ve ever hired a party planning service for a human event, then you’ve already experienced most of the pet event planning process. Things like location hunting, setup and cleanup, and themed invites/thank yous are standard for both people and puppy parties. Most companies provide a couple different “party packages” so you can choose what is best for your critter. Several of those packages include a personalized animal-safe cake to chow down on, personalized invitations (with your puppy on them!) and organized games for your furry guests.
Hayley says that it’s important to keep calm when planning a party, “Planning any type of party can be a lot of work but don’t let stress get the best of you.” A professional in the event planning industry, she knows that it’s a lengthy process and always takes extreme care with her guests.
At the end of the day, dog parties aren’t a necessity, and they’re not for everyone. But if you want to really treat your pet and their furry friends to a fun-filled day, then throwing a pet event might be the perfect way to do so. And, as is the case with human parties, it’s always better to host an event with the assistance and guidance of a professional by your side!
In our next article, we’re shedding light on the world of pet law–and why it’s important to include your animals in your legal docs. In the meantime, view our last article where we explored pet massage therapy.
About our professional:
Hayley Mehalco is the founder of Puppy Parties NYC. She attended school for event planning, and has been in the industry for over ten years. The idea for Puppy Parties NYC came after throwing a second birthday party for her dog Bailey. Her company, along with planning personal parties, hosts large-scale animal events in NYC year-round, like Ride for Rescue.