Why pet birthday parties are so popular with Australian pet owners

New research by Petstock shows that two-thirds of Australian pet owners celebrate their pets’ birthdays, adoption anniversaries, and other milestones.

(image: Canva)

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Australia is a nation of animal lovers, so it should come as no surprise that most of us have a birthday party for pets or celebrate other significant events and life moments.

In fact, it’s become such a trend that two-thirds of our nation’s pet parents say they make a habit out of hosting a party for dogs or cats whenever a celebratory date comes around.

The study also shows that one-fifth (or 20%) of pet owners are likely to plan a celebration for pets in the next year.

Lara Shannon, a pet behaviourist and Petstock ambassador, says there is many benefits of including pets in special occasions.

“Incorporating pets into our celebrations enriches the experience and strengthens the emotional connection we share with them,” says Shannon.

“In my experience, pets keenly sense and understand our joy and excitement.

“Including them in special occasions or acknowledging their achievements and milestones with treats or doing fun activities together is something, I believe, they enjoy and appreciate.”

Celebrating pet milestones can range from hosting parties for outgoing pets to quieter activities like special meals or extended walks for those that prefer less stimulation.

For outgoing pets, hosting a birthday bash or Gotcha Day soirée can be a pet’s dream.

“Socially inclined pets thrive on attention,” says Shannon.

“Ensure the party venue is pet-safe and stocked with essentials such as toys and treats.

“But be careful not to overwhelm them, so watch out for signs that your pet needs some down time.”

a man celebrates birthday party for pets with his dog at the park
10 ideas for celebrating your dog’s birthday (image: canva)

Brisbane, Perth, and Tasmania are leading the pack for pet birthday parties, as well as ‘gotcha days’.

Gotcha Days are a popular celebration of the day a pet was adopted.

And it’s not just birthdays and ‘Gotcha Days’ that we’re celebrating either.

In fact, Lara Shannon says it’s important to celebrate a range of pet achievements, like mastering a new trick or overcoming a fear.

Shannon recommends using positive reinforcement techniques, such as verbal praise, treats, and playtime, to commend these victories and encourage further progress.

Petstock’s Gotcha Day bandana for dogs (image supplied)
  • Celebrate small victories: Acknowledge even the smallest achievements to encourage progress.
  • Use verbal praise: Offer cheerful verbal praise to reinforce positive behaviour.
  • Reward with treats: Use healthy pet treats as rewards for accomplishments and remember some human treats can be toxic to pets.
  • Engage in playtime: Dedicate special play sessions to reward your pet and strengthen your bond.
  • Be consistent: Establish clear expectations and consistently reward desired behaviours to reinforce good habits.
Pet Behaviourist Lara Shannon gives tips to pet owners to stop their dog biting the postie
Pet behaviourist Lara Shannon (image: PetStock)

Pets can play a special role in their owners’ celebrations as well.

Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or any significant achievement, including your pets can add warmth and happiness to any occasion.  

“Pets are not just companions; they’re part of the family,” adds Lara.

Consider incorporating them into your festivities with pet-friendly treats, decorations, or even a special bandana or bow tie for the occasion.

Know your pet’s personality: Evaluate your pet’s temperament and choose activities that suit their comfort level.

Choose the right venue: Confirm that the venue allows pets and check their policies regarding animals, especially if food will be served.

Prepare your pet: Include your pet in rehearsals and familiarise them with the venue to minimise anxiety on the big day.

Inform your guests: Give guests advance notice if a pet will be present, considering allergies or phobias.

Assign a pet handler: If it’s an event like your wedding, designate someone to care for your pet during the event, ensuring they are fed, hydrated, and comfortable.

Celebrating our pets’ milestones is also a way for us to celebrate the impact they’ve had on our lives.

For more pet care tips, visit the Petstock website or speak with a team member at a local store.