Celebrate your dog's gotcha day with these wag-worthy ideas for the perfect paw-ty.
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young girl setting up a dog cake and party favors for a dog gotcha day party
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Writer Milan Kundera once said, "Dogs are our link to paradise." And we couldn't agree more! The day your canine companion came into your life is a day to remember fur-ever. So, what better way to celebrate your dog's adoption anniversary than with a gotcha day party?

A gotcha day party is all about bonding with your B.F.F. and showering him with as much love and attention as he shows you on a daily basis. From invites and decorations to goodie bags and cake, we're showing you how to throw the best dog gotcha day party so every attendee (dog and human alike) will have a doggone good time.

1. Send Invitations to Doggos and Hoomans

woman creating invitations for a gotcha day party with dog at her feet

No party would be complete without your dog's best buddies. Send invites out to pups and their parents for an outing jam-packed with fun festivities! To keep all doggy friends safe, it's best to keep the group on the smaller side (preferably with dogs your pup knows and gets along with) and make sure all dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Plan to keep the party on the shorter side to prevent any overstimulation or anxious pups.

Etsy has tons of adorable invitation options to choose from. Prefer to go paperless or need to send them out ASAP? You can also send digital invites!

2. Plan Party Activities

dog activity for his gotcha party, playing in a sprinkler
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Will your pup's gotcha day celebration be indoors or outdoors? If it's a beautiful day outside, water activities like sprinkler pads or doggy pools paired with a cooling mat for naps are great ways to have fun in the sun. If you'd prefer to host an indoor bash, designate a space where your guests will mingle and play. Either way, you'll want to dog-proof the area accordingly to keep everyone safe.

3. Get Pawsome Decorations and Snacks

dog wearing gotcha day party hat
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Decide on a theme for your bestie and get the party started with banners, streamers, bandanas, and balloons. (Don't forget the obligatory party hat!) Amazon and Etsy (or even your local pet store) have a massive selection of party essentials perfect for the occasion. A fun decor idea to try: fill treat jars with dog staples, such as poop bags, tennis balls, healthy treats, and cute accessories, then place them on tables. Your guests can take them home at the end of the party. Win-win! In addition to decorations, you'll need food and drinks—like barkcuterie boards, popsicles, and plenty of refreshing bowls of water.

4. Bake a Drool-worthy Cake

peanut butter banana dog birthday cake
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Let them eat cake! (As long as it's dog-friendly, of course.) Nothing quite says "celebration" like a delicious dessert. Try our homemade peanut butter banana birthday cake recipe—any pup is sure to wild for those bacon sprinkles! Add a cake topper for a fun, personal touch.

5. Set Up a DIY Photo Booth

photo booth supplies for your dog's gotcha day party
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Want to create the most Insta-worthy snapshots of memories you and your guests will cherish for years to come? Make your very own photo booth you can use over and over again for your pup's future gotcha day and birthday celebrations! Assemble a photo booth with a backdrop (you can find some super cute ones on Etsy or use a sheet!), backdrop stand, lighting kit, tripod, and camera of your choice. Include a basket full of props, such as caps, sunglasses, bandanas, or bow ties for the most aww-inducing photos.

6. Entertain With Tons of Toys

dog with wagon full of toys for his gotcha day party
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Watch tails wag and zoomies commence with a variety of shareable playtime necessities, from dog agility courses and tug toys to tennis balls and Frisbees. Your pup and his pals will love romping the day away! Remember to provide multiple water bowls so every dog can stay hydrated throughout the play.

7. Prepare Goodie Bags for Guests

chicken bacon dog biscuits
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Treat your invitees to party favors they're bound to love. Fill goodie bags with homemade dog treats like our chicken bacon dog biscuits, dog toys, dental chews, and any other practical gifts dogs—and their parents—will appreciate. You can also use paper cones, food bowls, or decorative jars instead of bags in case you're feeling extra crafty.

8. Share Your Dog's Adoption Story

sharing your adoption story with your dog at his gotcha day party
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Cue Harry Nilsson's "Best Friend." Reminisce and tell all about the moment you and your dog met, his first day home, and the memories you've created together since. Have guests look back on their dog's gotcha day and share their stories, too. Create a scrapbook or photo album with an image of you and your pup on their gotcha day every year—you'll cherish it for years to come.

9. Donate to a Rescue or Shelter

pet supplies for donations at your dog's gotcha day party
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Spread the love by giving back to an animal shelter or rescue on your dog's behalf, maybe even the rescue where you found your beloved pup. Set up a collection box for guests to place their charitable contributions in upon their arrival, whether it be a monetary donation or pet supplies like unopened food, collars and leashes, toys, and blankets.

10. Surprise Your Bestie With a Special Gift

man and woman giving their dog a gift for his gotcha day
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Every moment with your canine companion is a gift. Spoil him a little extra on his gotcha day, whether it be a toy of his choice, a subscription box filled with all his favorite things, or an extra-long walk where he gets to sniff his heart out. At the end of the day, all your dog wants to do is spend every moment with you.