Simple Steps to Giving a Pet Shower
Dr. Debra Primovic
Welcome a new pet into a friend or relatives home by giving a pet shower. Better yet, make it a surprise shower. You can include favors, games, and snacks. Some companies and pet specialty stores may have services that will help you plan the entire shower. If you want to do it yourself, here are some tips! Plan the party – Surprise parties can be a lot of fun. Invite fellow pet lovers, neighbors and colleagues.
Tips for Giving a Pet Shower
Most things that work for baby showers will work for pet showers. However, there are some differences. Consider the following in your plans:
Location – Choose a pet friendly location. This might be someone's home or even a local pet store. Some pet stores, veterinary hospitals, or hotels may be willing to rent you a room for a party. Determine rules for decorating and clean up when you book the appointment.
Timing - After work and weekends are both good times. Ask those you plan to invite what works best for them. You may be limited by where you can have it as pet stores or veterinary hospitals may only permit gathering after their store closes. Showers that last from 1 to 1 ½ hours are ideal. Allow plenty of time to decorate and clean up.
Include other pets – Decide up front if other pets should be invited and set up ground rules. Specify any specific requirements on the invitations, such as "friendly pets on leashes welcome". You may also want to include not only a human RSVP but also a pet RSVP so you have some idea of what to expect. Cats are generally shy and less gregarious than dogs. This especially applies to adult cats. Kittens are fun and can enjoy other kittens company. If you are going to error, error on not including other pets. Unvaccinated or young pets without their mature immune system may be vulnerable to disease if subjected to other pets. If you do include other pets, include only ones with friendly dispositions, vaccinated and disease- free. If it is not a surprise shower, ask the pet owner for their preference.
Invitations – Send out your invitations at least 7 to 10 days before the shower. Make sure you include the date, time, location, directions, RSVP instructions, and any comments about if other pets are welcome.
Gifts - Find out if the shower is for a new pet owner or an existing pet owner. This will greatly affect what they might need. New pet owners will need all the basics such as bowls, food, leashes, litter box, crates, chew toys, beds, gates, and treats. Existing pet owners may already have many of these products and may enjoy products specific for that pet such as new collars, ID tags, bandana or special "clothes", a gift certificate for a microchip, or just a gift certificate so they can pick out whatever they want from their local pet store, or a gift certificate from their local veterinarian to cover required vaccines. Considering making a list and passing it to the attendees to avoid duplicate gifting. Some pet stores have a registry for showers.
Food/Snacks – Consider what food/snacks you might want to bring for both the human and pet attendees. You don't want to cause any pets to have problems (such as vomiting and/or diarrhea) from eating something new or dangerous. Before automatically offering any pet a snack, make sure it is permitted with the owner. Some pets may be on special diets or have food sensitivities. If you are serving human snacks, make sure pets don't have access to that food or trashcans.
Come Equipped for "Problems" – Plan ahead and if pets are invited, make sure you have the tools necessary to clean up any "accidents". Include baby wipes, a bucket, scrub brush, soap, odor neutralizer, paper towels, a wash-cloth and towel.
Favors – Great favors might include a special snack e.g. prepackaged or home made treats or a toy. Kongs are great toys for dogs and those small fury mice are favorites for cats. Unique favors might include prepackaged mixes for "treats" that can be purchased or home made with a pet cookie cutter. Some cook stores, such as Sur La Table have many breeds or pet design cookie cutters for as little as one dollar.
Decorating – Pet showers are really fun to decorate. Try to get some photographs of the new pet and use those to help. You can use Photoshop or you local camera story to create decorations, photo albums, and invitations. You can go with breed themes, colors or spots, colors for male vs. female pets. Decorating with paper streamers is an inexpensive and fun way. You can buy some steamers with paw print from specialty wrapping stores. You can also buy inexpensive paw print or pet outline stamps or use an inkpad to create your own designs on streamers or other decorations.
Take special care for shy pets
Avoid loud noises
Don't offer pets treats without first checking with an owner
Clean up messes as soon as they happen
Pet showers can be a blast. They can be especially rewarding for pet owner new pets or "replacement" pets after a pet loss. It is important to be organized and enjoy it. Have fun!
Any comments? Or do you have additional suggestions based on your experience? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Title the email – Pet Shower Comments.