More Americans Are Throwing Birthday Parties — For Their Dogs



Americans spent a combined $60.28 billion on their pets last year. That total might include food, grooming, accessories, boarding, beds — and, apparently, birthday parties.

Lavish birthday parties for pets — especially dogs, it seems — appear to be on the rise, particularly in young urban areas like New York and Nashville. Fox 5 News New York ran a story on the trend last week, as did New York Magazine earlier this month.

“A lot of people if you look around at this party are young people, millennials that have dogs instead of babies right away,” said Nikki Cole, who threw her dog Minnie a city rooftop birthday party, replete with custom-made dog treats, a professional photo booth, and themed cocktails (for the humans). “This is like a practice run.”

The American Pet Products Association estimates that 28% of pet owners purchase birthday gifts for their dogs, and 7% throw birthday or holiday parties for them. But as more people begin to pick up the idea from friends, media stories, or Pinterest boards, those numbers may soon explode.

“When you say it out loud it sounds crazy,” said Jes Feuer, pet-mother to a Coton de Tulear named Preston who turned six in April. They celebrated with a party at a bar in New York’s East Village. “I know it’s a bit ridiculous, but that’s okay, because people look forward to it. It’s a good excuse to do something a little silly. It’s just a great, fun thing to do.”

The trend expands opportunities not only for pet-lovers and their party guests, but for party event planners, too. An affair of this level, after all, requires the organization of hundreds of details, from the food to the decorations, invitations, and activities.

Hayley Rammuno has been running a strictly fur-only event planning business, Puppy Parties NYC, for two years now. “Since last year we’ve doubled the number of parties we do,” she told Fox News. For fees ranging from $300 to $1,500, she’ll help book your venue, coordinate games, supply a dog-friendly cake, and offer thank-you cards for all your “pawty” needs.

Pet stores and suppliers have been quick to jump in on sponsoring events, too, as these puppy parties tend to be ripe for social media sharing and exposure. Disney helped provide party favors for the dog Minnie’s party, while dog costumers Rubie’s and registry site Zola have also pitched in for party help.

Perhaps best of all, though, these events also take a strong stance toward giving, rather than receiving. Many owners and their fur-babies set up donation pages for animal shelters or groups in lieu of gifts for their already-spoiled pups.

“Do what your pet will enjoy,” advised Sherry Amatenstein, who throws an adoption-anniversary party with her dog Shea each year. “Shea has taught me to chill and enjoy the human treats and hugs that come my way rather than stress over the details.”

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