Many of us spend a fair amount of money on presents for our dogs at Christmas, and dog advent calendars and even monthly gift subscription boxes are common and easy to buy today too. This gives you an indication of how many dog owners in the UK like to celebrate all of the major events that we humans enjoy by including their dogs too, and also, makes it clear that we’re not afraid to sometimes spend significant amounts of money on doing so!
Naturally then it comes as no surprise that many dog owners also celebrate their dog’s birthdays, and often in grand fashion; and if you don’t know your dog’ exact birthday, then the date that you adopted them or first brought them home will work just as well!
However, if you do decide to mark your dog’s birthday or celebrate their adoption day, this should of course be done thoughtfully, and involve things your dog will enjoy; this seems obvious, but it is easy for really loving dog owners to get carried away and inadvertently do things that might not actually be enjoyable for the dog, or in their best interests.
With this in mind, this article will tell you five things that you probably shouldn’t to do mark or celebrate your dog’s birthday, as your dog probably won’t enjoy them and/or they’re not in their best interests. Read on to learn more.
Dressing up dogs in cute outfits might make for a lovely Instagram feed, but it is not enjoyable for your dog. Some dogs do need coats and booties to protect them from the cold in winter, and these might well be really cute, and that’s fine… But dressing a dog up in fancy dress is unnecessary and stressful for them.
Fancy dress and unnecessary outfits will be restrictive, uncomfortable, confusing, and stressful for your dog, and can cause them to overheat. This is due to a combination of both the stress and additional warmth of the outfit – and overheating can quickly become dangerous for dogs, particularly flat-faced ones like the French bulldog.
Going out to your favourite restaurant, having cake, being given edible gifts and eating party food and so on are great parts of birthdays for humans, and you might want to buy or make your dog something a little special or give them a few extra treats to celebrate theirs.
However, you will do your dog a disservice and possibly even make them sick if you let them eat anything they want, overfeed them, or give them something outlandish like a large, fatty steak for their birthday dinner.
Having a dodgy tummy is not a great way for your dog to celebrate their birthday!
Taking a birthday picture or two of your dog is fine, and doing this each year can be a really nice and poignant way to see how they grow up, change and age over the years.
But keep this light, casual and fun, and incidental to ensuring your dog has a good time.
Making your dog pose, having a protracted photo shoot, or prioritising getting pictures or stressing your dog out to get a shot of them having birthday fun is once more designed to please you and perhaps your social media followers, but no fun for your dog.
Marking your dog’s birthday by deciding they should have or father a litter of their own as part of the natural cycle of life is an idea best kept as an abstract daydream.
Dogs do not need to have or father pups to be fulfilled, they’re not missing out on anything by not doing so, and spaying and neutering dogs that have not been left intact as a result of a very well thought out and carefully considered plan to breed from them is simply responsible dog ownership.
Finally, we all know of birthdays as days when the usual rules don’t always apply, and when as children, our parents might have let us be a bit more unruly than normal or broken the rules; but changing or suspending the rules for one day only on your dog’s birthday isn’t a nice thing to do for them, but a problematic one.
Dogs need routine and to know the rules for their lives, and uncertainty and confusion, or inconsistency from their owners, all cause them stress and anxiety. Letting your dog break the rules on their birthday (such as by letting them onto the bed) might seem like doing something special for them; but your dog will not understand the following day why the bed is then off limits, and you’re not only not encouraging them onto it, but telling them off for trying to get onto it.