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Happy Birthday

Pets Enjoy Celebrating Their Birthdays, Too!

Our pets are more than just companions, they are a cherished part of the family. A birthday can be a very special day of celebration for your pet. Although they may not really understand what a birthday is, they will certainly enjoy reaping the benefits of the effort you put forth into making this a fun time.

Birthday parties can be a lot of fun for you and your pets. It may be a little silly, but it’s nice to go overboard sometimes. Here are some suggestions for a super pet party:

Plan your guest list. Be sure you only invite other pets who get along with each other. It will be much more enjoyable to have pets with good manners. Aggressive or jealous pets can take the fun right out of the party.

A week before the big event, make some pet themed invitations to send to your friends. Be creative! You could even include a picture of your pet, or write a cute poem. How should your pet pals dress for the party? Coats and tails, of course!

On party day, be sure to spruce up your pets. A bath or a good brushing will have your furry family members looking their best. If they are tolerant, they could even wear a party hat.

If your party will be outdoors, make sure the gate is closed and there are no holes in the fence. Remove any delicate flower pots, and check to be sure there are no toxic plants around. Have party favors for each guest, so each pet will have a toy.

If the party will be indoors, keep the food up high on counters or tables. You may also want to be sure your human guests’ purses are out of reach. Housecleaning items should be put away in a cupboard.

Let the games begin! Relay races, hide and seek, hide the treat, or make up your own games. How about a talent show for entertainment? You may want to practice before the party to refresh your pet on how the tricks should be performed. If your pet doesn’t mind being dressed up, a fashion show could be fun. Have your camera ready. You may want to take enough pictures for all of your guests to have a souvenir of all the fun.

What would a party be with special foods? If your party is for cats, a “cake” made of tuna would be loved by all kitty friends. There are all kinds of special treats for dogs, and there are even bakeries who make special doggie birthday cakes. Don’t forget the Frosty Paws frozen treats! (You can call 1-800-225-3636 to check on the availability of Frosty Paws in your area.) Just remember to give reasonable portions of the special party foods to avoid upset stomachs. As always, totally avoid chocolate, which can be poisonous to pets.

Time to open the gifts! Treats and toys make great pet gifts, as well as collars, leashes, I.D. tags, beds, scatching posts. The list is limited only by your imagination. Be sure that the ribbons and bows are thrown away promptly. They can be dangerous if swallowed by pets.

You don’t have to have a birthday party to show your pets how special and loved they are. You can simply share some extra time…

Take your pet for a walk
Play a game of catch with your pet
Spend some time grooming your pet
Take your pet to an enjoyable place, such as the pet store or a drive through

Another alternative to having a pet birthday party would be for you to make a donation to your local animal shelter or humane society in honor of your pet’s birthday or the anniversary of their arrival to your home. It will help make a difference in the lives of homeless animals.

You've probably heard that a dog ages seven years for every human year, but there have been so many advances in nutrition and geriatric care for dogs and cats in recent years that the old 7 to 1 saying is no longer accurate. If you divide the average lifespan of a dog or cat into the average lifespan of a human it does work out to about 7 to 1, but this is not very accurate.

The following chart will provide a general guide to determining your pet's age related to humans. Keep in mind that there are life span differences between dogs and cats, and between different breeds of dogs. Cats and small dogs have an average life expectancy of 14-16 years, thus the chart would apply. However, large breed dogs, like Newfoundlands and Great Danes, only have a life expectancy of 9-11 years, so the chart would not be quite accurate. (An 11-year old Great Dane would be similar to an 81 year old person.) Medium breed dogs, like Labs and Golden Retrievers, have a life expectancy of 12-13 years and would not truly fit the chart either. (A 13-year old Lab would be similar to an 81-year old person.)

Cat and Small Breed Dog Age Chart

        Age             Human Years                 Age                   Human Year
  1                       15                            10                           56
  2                       24                            11                           60
  3                       28                            12                           64
  4                       32                            13                           68
  5                       36                            14                           72
  6                       40                            15                           76
  7                       44                            16                           80
  8                       48                            17                           84
  9                       52                            18                           88

As a part of providing the best preventive health care to pets, we are encouraged to have a blood and urine analysis (or “wellness” profile) done on our pets annually. This is particularly valuable for dogs and cats who are seven years of age and older. The “wellness” profile gives a more complete picture of your pet’s overall health. It also provides a baseline for comparison with future profile results. If your pet is 7 years of age or older and has not had a “wellness” profile in the past year, contact your vet to discuss the benefits of this testing for your pet.

Why pets over seven years of age? Pets at 7 years of age and older may be at increased risk of developing age-related problems such as arthritis, diabetes, liver and kidney disease. As pets age, they also develop different nutritional needs. These pets may need different amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Feeding an appropriate senior diet and maintaining your pet at its optimal weight can have a positive effect on energy level and overall health.

We hope that you and your pet enjoy a fun and memorable celebration.

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