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Celebrate Good Times: 5 Ways to Help Customers Throw a Party for Their Pets

Offer products and services to make pet birthdays, gotcha days and other occasions extra special.

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PET BIRTHDAYS, GOTCHA days and other special occasions are cause for celebration. Find inspiration in the parties, photo ops, and products and services these five businesses offer their customers.

Wagging Tails Pet Resort & Spaw
WEST HARTFORD, CT

Clients can host a party for pups and people at this boarding and day-care facility’s indoor park. The $150 package includes up to 10 dogs and their people for 1.5 hours of play and socializing, puppy cake and ice cream, games with prizes, and party favor bags. Wagging Tails staff also takes care of sending custom evites, verifying vaccination status and posting photos to social media.

TIP: Make a birthday theme part of the package, owner Krista Lofquist says, but offer as an upcharge special themes such as this Mickey Mouse one for 10-year-old Chihuahua Deylen.

The Green K9
MOUNT DORA, FL

Day-care dogs at The Green K9 also can celebrate special occasions, here with their pals in the program. For $75 that includes their day care, they get a one-hour themed party with guests of their choosing, complete with decorations, party hats and bandanas, a cake and treats, plus photos of the fun on a thumb drive.

TIP: When pups on the guest list check in for day care, give their people a link so they can watch the celebration online, owner Paul Lewis says. He also invites pet parents to look on via a viewing window in the lobby. “We usually have several customers watching when a party is happening.”

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Four Muddy Paws
ST. LOUIS, MO

Across its two locations, this store has more than 5,000 members in its Birthday Club, with pet parents getting a Happy Birthday email offering a free treat for a dog or free toy for a cat, plus a $5 off coupon for party supplies. Among those available are birthday toys, hats, bandanas, freshly baked treats and custom birthday cakes.

Owner Jeff Jensen says of the club, “It’s been a fun way to connect with our customers on a more personal level and give them a little something special, and they’re reminded they can order their own custom fresh-baked cake.”

TIP: To promote custom cakes, follow Jensen’s lead and keep a decorated styrofoam version in your birthday display. He says doing so helps his store sell more than 50 custom cakes a month.

Fetch RI
RICHMOND, RI

For some pet parents, a celebration may center around a trip to your store. Owner Johnna Devereaux welcomes this and keeps stocked The Part-y Bar, a 12-foot display that offers just about any body part safe for dogs to devour. There are also supplies for celebrations, from birthday bandanas and hats to cake mixes and bakery items. She also has two branded frames pups can pose in for photos that she shares on Fetch RI’s social media.

TIP: Devereaux recommends practicing inclusivity by having both a Happy Birthday and Happy Gotcha Day frame, so that all pets are covered by the good wishes.

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Animal Connection
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

Customers shopping for their pet’s birthday or gotcha day at Animal Connection can select items a la carte, pick up a pre-wrapped bundle or create their own celebration box. Among the many products available are toys, crowns and party hats, custom bandanas, and freshly baked treats and cakes made on-site.

TIP: If you have an outdoor space, owner Pattie Zeller recommends hosting parties there and inviting neighboring businesses to take part. “Because we have a patio in front of the store, we book parties and let our neighboring restaurants and brewery plan treats for the humans to enjoy, as well. It really gets our retail community involved in the fun!”

Rachel Phelps, a sought-after pet industry influencer and known as “America’s Pet Parent,” is an award-winning writer, photographer and certified dog trainer. She keeps busy managing the career of her internet celebrity dog Preston from PrestonSpeaks.com She has three Westies who think they are mini-humans and a cat who rules the house.

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