How time flies! During Polar’s 1st year, we only knew a few other dog owners, so we kept his birthday celebration fairly simple and invited only 1 other dog, @Layers_of_Leah and her owner Clara, to a low-key dinner at a dog cafe. Since then, we’ve met so many new dogs and have become friends with their owners, so we decided to throw a little doggy bash for Polar and his circle of furfriends for his 2nd!
As daunting as it sounds, planning a birthday party for your dog isn’t as complicated as I imagined. I’ve learnt that there are a few basic steps to it, which I’ve listed below.
Finding a Location
As we needed a dog friendly location, dog cafes were automatically the best choice. We’re regulars at Paw Pet-radise Cafe at Balestier. The menu is extensive, tastes good and is decently-priced. There’s also more than enough space for dogs of all sizes to play. Polar’s birthday happened to fall on a Tuesday, which is also Paw Pet-radise’s weekly rest day, but Hui Jin, the owner of the cafe, was very kind to specially open her doors for us to celebrate Polar’s birthday there.
Doggy Guest List
Similarly to how we planned our guest list in our previous Christmas party post – it was crucial to think through which dogs to invite, and whether they get along with each other, or if they do well in an enclosed space.
These days, birthday dogs and their owners are spoilt for choice. We saw so many choices for the birthday cake; triple tier cakes with a mini figurine of your dog, to a simple giant bone-shaped cake. I had such a hard time deciding! In the end, I decided to go with Barkery, as Polar has always enjoyed eating their meat cakes, and the prices of their cakes are relatively reasonable. We ordered the giant bone-shaped cake made of fish, which we believed to be a safer option than poultry as some dogs are allergic to chicken.
Goodie Bag for Dogs
We wanted to make the occasion more memorable for our guests by giving out goodie bags to all the dogs. Having just received a dehydrator for Christmas, we decided to create DIY treats for Polar and his friends. There are online recipes and forums regarding dehydrated treats for your dog so it’s quite straightforward, but here are some things to consider when deciding what treats to make:
- The variety of treats to make
- How many bags of treats would fill a goodie bag
- Prices of the raw materials to create enough treats for 10 dogs
- The time it takes to dehydrate (hint: it’s really long)
- Common dog allergies
For each goodie bag, the treats were split into 3 separate bags rather than mixed together, so that even if any dog had allergy to a particular ingredient, they could still eat the other treats. In a nutshell, the rule of thumb for meats and fishes, is to dehydrate till dry and crispy. For fruits and vegetables, it’s recommended to do the same, but you can also choose to serve it slightly moist and chewy.
Bag 1 – Fruits & Vegetables
Pineapple – Rich in fructose, fiber, vitamin and mineral content. In small amounts (as sugar content is quite high), pineapples are beneficial to dogs and it also boosts their immune system and improves digestion.
Strawberries – Supplies fiber, potassium, iodine and magnesium. They’ll also get a bit of vitamins C, K, B1 and B6 and it also supplements their folic acid and omega-3 fat intake.
Carrots – Low in calorie and jam packed with vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B1 and B6, carrots aren’t just good for eyes but promote general well-being and a strong immunity system. Fantastic for humans, even better for dogs.
Bag 2 – The Meats
Pork Liver & Honey – Liver and other organ meats are high in nutritional value. Liver is an ideal source of protein, vitamin A, good fatty acids and many other minerals and nutrients. Honey not only makes it taste good, but also provides numerous sources of nutrients, such as vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E and K, plus minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and more.
Chicken Heart & Coriander – Not only inexpensive, but tasty and is a good source of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Iron and Zinc. However it is high in cholesterol, so moderation is key. Coriander makes it smell nice, and also contains a good amount of Vitamin A, C, K and iron and magnesium.
Polar approved chicken hearts!
Bag 3 – The Fishes
Shishamo (Japanese Pregnant Smelt) & Turmeric Powder – Shishamo is rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B & D which aid in healthy bones, teeth and fur. One of Polar’s favourites, we marinated the fish with turmeric powder, which is known to be one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available.
Silver Fish & Turmeric Powder – Rich in essential amino acids, calcium, minerals, protein, low in fat, coupled with turmeric powder, this crispy treat was really fun to make.
All in all, it took me about a week of non-stop work, including dehydrating the raw materials overnight, to create all those treats for 10 dogs.
Just giving the treats in little ziplock bags felt rather boring. Heidi (Button’s mum) showed me a couple of websites with lots of interesting DIY packaging ideas, so we decided to DIY, taking reference from one of the cookie bag designs. We didn’t need any fancy editing software – she designed the banner using Powerpoint and then we just pieced everything together by hand. It took a couple of hours of handicraft, but it was a fun activity to do with another dog owner, and it gave us a huge sense of satisfaction after.
Actual Day Party
To be honest, we were a little worried before the party that nobody would turn up! Thankfully, while there were indeed a couple of no-shows, most of our guests turned up on time and brought their happy furkids with them. One of our friends, Zu Mei brought along two adorable Singapore Special puppies that were up for adoption to the party. Amidst the oohs and ahhs from the humans, the little pups nearly stole the show from the birthday boy! Of course, not that Polar really cared – he went absolutely nuts wrestling and playing fetch with his best doggie friends. The birthday cake was a hit with the dogs, and the humans had one for themselves too!
We met up with old friends, and our friends made new friends.
It was a great night catching up with old friends and seeing other dog owners make new connections, all while Polar was having heaps of fun. We look forward to organizing his next birthday party, and hopefully it can be even more awesome than this one.
We wanna take this opportunity to thank all those who took the time to come to our party on a weekday night. We hope you guys had as much fun as we did. Thanks also to the well-wishers who remembered Polar’s birthday and gave him a shoutout online.
Until next time, stay curious!