Pets are an essential part of every family. Why not celebrate their birthday as we celebrate our own?

A pet party is a chance to invite over some neighborhood friends, bring out some new toys, and serve some favorite foods.

Here are the steps you’ll want to take if you’re going to throw a successful party for your furry family members.

Step #1: Decide on the Location

Most pet parties are held in the backyard, and that’s okay. You might have some local options, like a dog park, a nature reserve, or another outdoor adventure that may be suitable. For cats, an indoor party at home is always the best option.

Step #2: Get the Invitation List

Some pets are not fans of pet visitors. You may find it easier to ask your friends to come over for the party while leaving the other pets back at home. If you invite a whole pack of dogs over, things are going to get wild. Make sure you have control mechanisms in place that will help keep everybody safe.

Step #3: Pick Out a Theme

Every pet has something that they like. You have pet-related interests too. Try to merge them to create a party theme. Using well-known characters (think Garfield or Marmaduke), movies, cartoon characters, or favorite sports will always make for a great idea. If you want your guests to arrive with something theme-related, make sure to include that instruction on the invitation.

Step #4: Put Together Your Décor

Your pet is going to care about three things during the party: food, toys, and playing. That means your party décor can be kept to a minimum. You could hang a party banner up in your home, bring in some theme-related balloons, or offer scarfs to your pet and their friends. If your pet likes costumes, you could find something special to wear for the day. You can even put on some cat ears, paint some whiskers on, and get into the party spirit in similar ways.

Step #5: Organize Your Food

Whatever food options you choose, it is essential to make sure that the ingredients are pet-friendly. Dogs should not eat anything chocolate. Grapes (raisins), onions, and garlic are also 100% off-limits. Pets with sensitive stomachs should avoid pet-safe pre-made foods. Use cheese flavors, seafood, and peanut butter for best results. A dog will love a bone coated with peanut butter just as much as a dog-friendly cake.

Step #6: Lots of Presents

Your pet will love the idea of a new toy. For pets that already have too many toys, your pet party is an excellent opportunity to raise funds or donate toys for your local animal shelter. Then make sure you get to play games with the new toys (if you have them), hiding treats and toys throughout the yard or party location.

As a final step, don’t forget to take pictures of all the fun! Hosting a pet party each year is a great way to show your pet how much you love them – and let others know it too. Follow these steps, and you’ll be able to put together an incredible party!