Around 56.7 million households in the U.S. alone own dogs. Often by the middle of winter, it’s not only the humans that have cabin fever. Depending on your regional weather, in the U.S. or Canada, pets may be feeling a bit claustrophobic as well. If the best hotels, including Laguna Niguel, California’s Ritz-Carlton and Boston’s Liberty Hotel, hold periodic Yappy Hours for human and canine guests, why not host a winter Yappy Hour of your own where both species of partygoer get to meet up, feast, frolic, and escape the dull confines of winter.! These ideas for people- and dog-friendly activities will replace the cold and chill with warmth and wags, turning the dog days of winter into an opportunity for friendship and fun!
First, dog-themed printed invitations — or email invitations to save time and paper — will get things off to a great start by putting friends in dog-friendly frame of mind. Sites such as evite.com, punchbowl.com, greenenvelope.com, to name a few, enable you to create personalized invitations geared toward your puptastic party.
Next, weather permitting, it’s a good idea to ask guests to arrive on time. In this way, all dogs can meet outside in neutral territory for a few minutes where active noses and the characteristic “marking mechanism” can run their course.
Once inside, make sure all dogs are either leashed or off-leash. A mix of both creates tension between canines and usually results in squabbles. Also make sure the music puts everyone in the mood with a loop of pup-themed past and present tunes: everything from Patti Paige’s “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?” to Aerosmith’s “Walkin’ the Dog” to, of course, Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” And who says dancing is optional? What dog doesn’t appreciate a spin around the room with his loving owner? For
If you’re creative and love to bake, homemade dog biscuits (recipe below) are a healthy, nutritious party snack that will likely be (ahem) wolfed down, so be sure to make plenty. Dog Biscuit-shaped molds can be purchased at many kitchen supply stores, pet and pet specialty stores, or online at wag.com, k9cakery.com, amazon. com, and others.
For human partygoers, choose dog-themed party treats — homemade cookies or cupcakes in the shape of dog treats, for example, can be fun to eat. Just be sure if ingredients such as chocolate are used that are toxic to pets, you clearly differentiate human from pet treats. If serving canapés, note that if using onions, they contain theobromine — the same chemical found in chocolate — subsequently are also toxic to pets. Too much cheese can also be harmful to dogs as it is primarily fat, which can result in pancreatitis, which is often fatal. If serving alcohol, be especially vigilant of a tipped-over drink as alcohol ingestion can also be fatal to pets.
But precautions aside, there’s no better way than an inter-species blast to beat the winter blues. And to bring some light into a less fortunate pet’s life, why not ask guests to bring a donation (food; blankets; toys; cash) for your local shelter or other designated pet charity. Funds in this respect can also be procured by holding a raffle or another type of auction where both humans and canines can benefit from your Yappy Hour fun.
Any way you do it, hosting a fun Yappy Hour is a sure-fire way to heat up the cold winter months. Try this easy and dog-delicious recipe from food.com for a special party treat:
Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup skim milk
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients well to make a thick dough. Knead and roll out onto floured surface to ¼ to ½-inch thickness. Use dog biscuit cutters (see ordering opportunities above) to make shapes.
Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to remain in oven after baking for a crisper cookie; cooling on counter makes them softer. Lasts up to three weeks (refrigerate in warmer weather).