It's a Dog! How to Plan a Puppy Shower
So you’ve decided to welcome a dog into your life. This is a big deal. This new little (or not so little; or not so new) bundle of fur will be your family. Most of us spend more time with our dogs than pretty much anyone else and they occupy a place in our hearts that is untainted by the concerns and pettiness that mar so many of our human relationships.
What I’m getting at, in a very roundabout way, is that the start of such a relationship deserves to be marked and celebrated. You are, after all, welcoming a being into your life that will hold a cornerstone role, with privileged access to you at your best and worst, to your heartaches and your triumphs, and will meet both equally with unwavering devotion. What you have is a four-legged, tail-wagging cheerleader, if you will, and I, for one, think this momentous occasion should be appropriately marked. To this end, what could be more to the point than a puppy shower? Do note I am using the word “puppy” as a stand in for a dog of any age, because even if your new pup is a senior shelter dog, this new life is a rebirth of sorts, perhaps for you both.
To help you mark this joyous event, I’ve put together a howto guide for a fun-for-all meet and greet in which you and your pup will, with any luck, get some great presents. I’ve got recipes for both two- and four-legged guests, party tips, sweet DIY “It’s a Dog!” announcement cards for sending, and great gift suggestions. Need more reason? Remember that there’s a practical aspect as well (no, this isn’t all about showing off). A puppy shower is a key socialization opportunity, allowing you to introduce your new dog to a variety of people and pups.
The Invite List
As with all parties, the success of the endeavour lies largely with your guest list. Do keep in mind your new dog’s general ease and comfort with new friends, canine and otherwise, and limit your guest list accordingly to make sure it is a positive experience. This ought not to be a free-for-all, so choose your canine invitees wisely. A few calm dogs that play well with others are what you’re after. Your new pup should also have a quiet, private place to escape to should he be overwhelmed or just plain tuckered out.
With puppies, you also must consider their health. Many people keep their puppy sequestered until he’s completed his vaccination schedule, but this plan prevents key canine socialization opportunities. We asked veterinarian Rob Spooner of Vancouver, BC’s Yaletown Animal Hospital for advice. “Ideally, the puppies in attendance should have at least one set of distemper/parvo/hepatitis vaccine, plus a Bordetella vaccine under their belts,” says Spooner. “This would make them 9-10 weeks of age. The fact that other dogs have up-to-date vaccines certainly helps, but does not eliminate the risk of infection for pups with underdeveloped immune systems. That said, I’m a proponent of early socialization. Puppies go through a very intense socialization period between 8 and 16 weeks of age. Keeping them isolated from their peers during this time because they haven’t had a full series of vaccines could have a negative impact on their social interactions later in their lives. Make sure all dogs are in good general health— no coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea squirting dogs allowed. And all should have good social skills.” So there you have it: make sure your puppy has had at least his first round of vaccinations and that your other canine guests’ vaccines are up to date, then have a ball (perhaps literally).
Once your guest list has been decided, send an official invitation. We have six available templates for you to download at moderndogmagazine.com/announcement-cards. Silhouettes include a French Bulldog, Dachshund, Pit Bull, a terrier, a shepherd, a hound, and a mixed breed cutie. All you need to do is download your chosen card and fill out the spaces with the text you desire. Some suggestions: the classic “It’s a girl!/It’s a boy!;” “You’re invited to a puppy shower;” “Meet our newest family member;” “Pawty Time”... and, well, the list is endless. Just print, send, and await the congratulatory gifts!
Even if you’re not holding a party, these cards can serve as an official announcement to let your friends and family share in the fun and excitement of the new arrival.
Treats for All!
Why, hello, cupcake. Impress the humans on your guest list with these ridiculously cute dogdecorated cupcakes. Get the how-to here: moderndogmagazine.com/canine-cutie-cupcakes
For the canine guests, whip up these little beef meatballs as an extraspecial treat befitting the occasion. Find the recipe at moderndogmagazine.com/beef-meatballs.